Monthly Archives: February, 2011

Bye, “On Language”

It’s a sad day for one of my favourite language columns, “On Language” in the New York Times. After a 32 year run, this is the final week for the column. “On Language” explored language issues and explained them in an easily accessible way. Ben Zimmer’s final column looks at the future of languages, particularly(…)


Language infographics

Infographics are a great way of getting across information in a visual way. We seem them increasingly used in the news to help viewers quickly understand complex information. Voxy has a great post on 15 insightful language and culture infographics – everything from “the language of buying her a beer” to “10 words you need(…)


Main street or high street?

The differences between American English and British English have always been of interest to me, partly I suppose because I watch so much American television. One difference that is obvious to those who have been to both countries is the use of ‘main street’ and ‘high street’. Both mean the same thing – they refer(…)


The linguistic genius of babies

I was sent a link to this presentation by Patricia Kuhl intriguingly titled “The linguistic genius of babies”. Kuhl is co-director of the Institute of Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington, and researches early language and brain development. Her talk: shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another —(…)


Acronyms aloud

An interesting article in The Ledger looks at how acronyms are being used in speech. It seems to be teenagers who use these most – from “ILY” (I love you) to “LOL” (laughing out loud). These terms appear to have come from ‘text speak’ – the use of abbreviations to fit more into text messages(…)


The star spangled disaster

It seems that no Superbowl can pass without controversy. This year the spotlight is on Christina Aguilera, who botched the lyrics to the national anthem. She should know better really – Rosanne Barr is still criticised for her 1990 performance of the Star Spangled Banner after all. I’m from a country where the anthem is(…)


Bilingual benefits

New research has shown that bilingual people find it easier to learn a third language, according to Science Daily. The study was conducted at the University of Haifa, and aimed to find out what, if any, benefits there were in being bilingual when learning another language. The researchers found it was easier for bilingual people(…)