Monthly Archives: June, 2010

North American English Dialect Survey

Someone kindly pointed me to this post on the Language Log blog, about a survey on North American English Dialects that is being conducted by (I think) researchers at Yale University. We are doing research on different accents in American English. We know that Americans and Canadians have a great deal in common in the(…)

Disney’s sign language interpreters

Here’s a rare story of a big corporation doing good for their customers: Disney are now offering sign language interpreters at their Californian parks on a regular basis. Previously customers had to call in advance if they required this service at Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure Park, but now interpreters will be available on-site, with(…)

Top 40 Chicago Words

A fun article from explores the influence Chicago has had on the English language with a list of its Top 40 contributions. Honestly, some of the words I’ve never heard of (simonize, for example), but that could be because I’m not American. Others are very familiar – puh-leaze is probably the word I most(…)

Music to help you learn

A couple of years ago when I was living in New Zealand, I took some classes in Māori, the language of the indigenous people. Māori people have a strong narrative culture, with songs and chants a large part of this. Our teacher would often make the class get up and sing traditional songs, as a(…)

Controversy at the Spelling Bee

The annual Scripps National Spelling Bee often provokes wonder – at the words that the kids are asked to spell, at the kids themselves for spelling them – but seems fairly non-controversial. At this year’s event though, there were protesters. They weren’t protesting because they thought terribilita was a made up word. They weren’t protesting(…)

The language of soccer (aka football)

Many Americans may not be aware, but a huge event is taking place this month, starting next week. It’s bigger than the Super Bowl, popular in many more countries than football, yet confusingly has the same name. Except to Americans that is – you know it as ‘soccer’. As the USA is represented in the(…)

iPad to help humans communicate with dolphins?

People have long been fascinated by dolphins – loveable, friendly creatures like Flipper. Now scientists are apparently one step closer to communicating with them – with the help of the iPad. A two year old dolphin called Merlin is the object of a study conducted by a non-profit firm called Global Heart. The study aims(…)