Monthly Archives: May, 2011

Croatian language

As you read this, I will be holidaying in the beautiful country of Croatia, so I thought I’d share with you some random facts about the Croatian language. Croatian (hrvatski jezik) is the name for dialects and languages spoken by Croats, which are varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language. The Serbo-Croatian language is mostly spoken in(…)

Hey dude!

The word ‘dude’ often conjures up images of surfers and Californian drop-outs, but it’s becoming increasingly well-used by English speakers all over the world. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, its origins are in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), the dialect spoken by African Americans throughout the United States: dude 1883, “fastidious man,” New York(…)

Empowerment through language

A short but interesting interview with a Brazilian teacher of English in Rio de Janeiro can be found here. One of the most important things he does is to empower his students through teaching a new language: What have you learned? It’s not just a language that we teachers teach in a school. Teaching is(…)

Songs in the classroom

Recently I posted about how children’s language development may be helped by their parents singing to them. As a follow-up, there’s a good post about how beneficial songs can be for young learners in a classroom setting from the OUP Global Learning Blog. The writer, Devon Thargard, opens with an anecdote about his first day(…)

Scrabble player? Beware of new words!

You may have heard the recent news that Scrabble is adding nearly 3,000 new words to a lexicon, including some slang terms. But don’t be afraid: they’re only for use outside of North America. Collins Official Scrabble Words governs play outside of North America, whilst in the US and Canada competitive Scrabble is ruled by(…)

Can Twitter help endangered languages?

Have you, like me, never used Twitter? This news could tempt us – a computer science professor has set up a website to track tweets from speakers of indigenous and minority languages. Called, the site currently tracks 82 languages including Cymraeg, Māori and Wolof. There are plans to add more, and some may come(…)

Children’s language development may be helped by singing

A new book claims that parents should sing to their children to avoid language development problems in later life. The book, called The Genius of Natural Childhood, is by Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology. Blythe says that singing to, and later with, your child(…)

Many languages = many personalities

Or so says a new study by psychologists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The researchers say that the language spoken can lead the person speaking it taking on the personality traits of the culture that is associated with the language. For example, when native Chinese students spoke English, they were observed to adopt more “Western”(…)