Monthly Archives: September, 2010

‘Genius grant’ for linguist

A linguist studying a long-dead Native American language has been rewarded with a ‘genius grant’. Jessie Little Doe Baird was awarded the $500,000 MacArthur Fellows grant for her work in resurrecting the Wampanoag language, an Algonquian language of New England. The language was spoken until the mid-1800s, when it disappeared, and appears to have an(…)

Chunking a language

A learning process called ‘chunking’ may help language learners to progress. Chunking is the process of learning a language by lexical ‘chunks’ rather than word-by-word, for example the phrase “Hi, how are you?” is learned in its whole form rather than the individual components. A native speaker picks up thousands of chunks like “heavy rain”(…)

National Punctuation Day

Are you a stickler for correct punctuation? Do you appreciate a well-placed apostrophe? Then your day has come – it’s National Punctuation Day! Now in its seventh official year of celebration, the holiday started when one man, Jeff Rubin, grew frustrated of spotting errors in his newspaper. The event has grown since then, with Rubin’s(…)

Shiver me timbers – it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Why not take a break from your serious language learning today – and celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day! If you’ve never heard of this most amusing of days, then read this history for more information. Then head over to check out the vocabulary (in English, German or Dutch) or this video and get(…)

Glossary of Southernisms

I found a cute reference if anyone is having difficulties understanding their Southern brothers and sisters – A Glossary of Quaint Southernisms. Not sure I agree with the author that the southern accent has “almost been successfully eradicated by the excellent Southern school systems” – last time I was in South Carolina it was alive(…)

The New York accent

The New York accent is familiar to us through movies and television. But many believe it is in decline, and Heather Quinlan is determined to record its variety. Quinlan is a native New Yorker and filmmaker and is recording the accent for her first documentary, If These Knishes Could Talk. Many believe the accent evolved(…)