Monthly Archives: August, 2010

Sign language by phone

The first device to transmit American Sign Language (ASL) by phone is being developed by researchers in America. Engineers at the University of Washington are currently testing the tool, which uses video technology to transmit the signs. The field test is aimed at seeing how people use the technology in their everyday lives, with the(…)

Language immersion

Inspiration today comes from a 6 year old – my friend’s niece, who is starting first grade at a Spanish-immersion school. Last year Abigail attended kindergarten at an English language school, but now all her classes will be led and taught in Spanish. Both of Abigail’s parents speak Spanish, and she can understand the language(…)

Speakers of ‘street slang’ required

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is recruiting speakers of ‘street slang’, according to an article in the Guardian today. Apparently the DEA is hiring nine people who understand black vernacular English to translate wiretaps and stand up evidence in court. Ebonics is the term coined in the mid-1970s to describe US black vernacular English,(…)

Rio’s grammar hotline

My last post was about two guys who travelled around America correcting typos. It appears they also have issues in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the government has set up a “grammar hotline”. The hotline aims to help people who have difficulties using Portuguese, the official language of Brazil. According to the BBC News article:(…)

The Great Typo Hunt

Some people are more fastidious about correct spelling and grammar than others. Then there are those that take their passion for correction to a new level – like Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson. Deck and Herson travelled around the perimeter of America, looking for typos and attempting to correct them. And now they’ve written(…)

A linguistic adventure

A linguist from Cambridge University, England, is headed to north-west Greenland to document Inughuit culture and language. Stephen Pax Leonard will live with the Inughuit people for a year, producing an “ethnography of speaking” to show how their language and culture are interconnected. Their Inuktun dialect is regarded as one of the most “pure” Inuit(…)


Workers in North Carolina misspelled the word ‘school’ – on a road leading to a high school. Instead of the correct spelling, they painted “shcool” on the road to mark out the school zone. Perhaps they were trying to show how cool it is to go to school? (Source: BBC News)


Ever wondered how the folks in Michigan talk? Professor Richard Bailey of the University of Michigan is here to help you out: Now Michigan English is not all one thing, but there are surprising differences between the English used here and what you encounter in Ft. Wayne or London, Ontario, or Green Bay. We need(…)