Monthly Archives: March, 2011

Twin baby boys conversation – is it political?

By now you’ve probably seen the video of the twin baby boys having a ‘conversation’. But here it is anyway! The video seems to show that whilst the language isn’t there yet, the boys have picked up on some nuances of human speech. They really remind me of politicians in the British Parliament – laughing(…)


Which languages are the hardest to learn?

Last month I posted about some great language infographics. Now I have another to share. People often say that one language is harder to learn than another. Currently I tell people that Spanish is hard because in class we are learning verb conjugations! I tend to think a tonal language such as Mandarin would be(…)


Does being bilingual mean you see the world in a different way?

The answer is yes, according to a new study at Newcastle University, England. Bilingual people think differently to monolingual people, according to researchers, with language use making the difference rather than proficiency. The study looked at Japanese and English speakers and tested their colour perception – useful because of the variation in ways different languages(…)


The birth of a word

Another really interesting talk from TED titled “the birth of a word”. TED is a small non-profit organisation devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. Deb Roy, a researcher at MIT wired up his house with video cameras so he could track his son’s language evolution – from “gaaa” to “water”. 90,000 hours of tape later, he(…)


Irish language gains popularity among Notre Dame students

Now here’s a cheery bit of news for St. Patrick’s Day – a professor at the University of Notre Dame has said that the Irish language is gaining in popularity among students. Brian O’Conchubhair, associate professor of Irish at Notre Dame’s Irish Language and Literature Department, says that some people saw the language as more(…)


Is the Southern accent in danger?

Research conducted at North Carolina State University shows that the Southern accent is changing and may be disappearing. Robin Dodsworth, associate linguistics professor at NC State, has been collecting recordings of Raleigh, NC, natives to discover how their accent has changed over time. Using software that breaks down the way people say words and changes(…)


Speaking in Tongues

I was alerted to this film over at the Omniglot blog, and it looks really interesting. Speaking in Tongues follows four children as they attend immersion school in San Francisco. The children are native English speakers but learn to communicate in Mandarin and Spanish, two of the most spoken languages in the world. There’s a(…)