Monthly Archives: April, 2010

Need to know: Tech words

With ever-evolving technology, it can be hard to keep up with the latest vocabulary used to describe it. This helpful article points out 25 tech words you need to know. The most interesting is probably mesofact – a fact that slowly evolves over time. This challenges our conceptions of what a fact is – it(…)

Is ASL a foreign language?

There is debate in colleges across America about the status of American Sign Language, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Whilst some view it is a foreign language, and thus available for college credit, others argue that an indigenous language cannot by definition be ‘foreign’. ASL has origins in Old French Sign Language,(…)

Like, whatever

A poll from the Marist Institute has revealed that the word or phrase Americans find most annoying is “whatever”. With 47 percent of those polled finding it the most annoying, it easily beat the next closest – “you know” – at 25 percent. One of the problems with the survey is that the phrases were(…)

The language of baseball

Being British, I’m baffled by American sports such as baseball and football. I’m pretty sure one’s the national pastime and the other is the national obsession, but I couldn’t tell you which was which, despite the best efforts of my American friends. Perhaps then, I should get myself the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, now in its(…)

Indian languages revived

Frequently in the press and language blogs we read about another language dying, or becoming extinct. But there are also some stories about languages being revived through the efforts of dedicated researchers. Two Indian languages of Long Island which have not been spoken for 200 years are being resuscitated by Stony Brook University and two(…)

Animation influences language?

I consider myself reasonably well travelled, and have done most of my travelling on a (small) budget. This means I’ve stayed in a lot of hostels. One thing that unites hostels the world over is what’s on TV – at some point you’re almost guaranteed to see The Simpsons. Personally, I’m not a fan of(…)


I’ve just been sent a link to RhinoSpike, a new site which looks interesting for language learners. They believe that listening is the most important skill for learners, so the site is a tool that allows people around the world to exchange language audio files. The way it works is this: you choose what subject(…)