Monthly Archives: June, 2011

Parseltongue transsssslator

Big Harry Potter fan? Can’t wait for the release of the final instalment of the movie? Then this is for you! Warner Bros. has developed a Parseltongue translator – put in a message and it will be converted into Parseltongue! For non-Potter fans, Parseltongue is the snake language that both Harry and his nemesis, Voldemort,(…)

Words of the world

The University of Nottingham, along with video journalist Brady Haran, have come up with an interesting series of short films exploring words we use that have foreign origins or cultural history. Words of the World shows experts from Nottingham’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures explain how words are used and their history. Chosen words(…)


Are you interested in the many different writing systems of the world? Then this post is for you! Scriptsource is “a dynamic, collaborative reference to the writing systems of the world, with detailed information on scripts, characters, languages – and the remaining needs for supporting them in the computing realm”. The homepage has links to(…)

The Hawaiian Language

Hawaii is the newest of the 50 states; one of only two that do not observe daylight savings time; and has a rich history pre-European contact. It has two official languages: English and Hawaiian. Hawaiian Creole English (or pidgin) is used by many residents of the state, either as a native or second language. The(…)

Tag questions

We use tag questions all the time without realising it – “you’re meeting me at the car right?” or “that was interesting, wasn’t it?” An interesting article on explores the usage of tag questions. The slight upward inflection on the final word of the sentence gives these sentences extra meaning. Linguists see these questions(…)

English in Colombia

Colombia is probably better known for civil war and the drug trade than being a prosperous country. But that’s changing. Latin America’s fifth-biggest economy is rated as having one of the best business environments in the region by the World Bank, and the Colombian people are taking advantage of this by learning the English language.(…)

Ninety years to complete a dictionary

What kind of dictionary takes 90 years to complete? One from the ancient world apparently. Scholars from The University of Chicago have just completed an Assyrian dictionary that was started in 1921. Lots of staff have worked on the project, with scholars from Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Berlin, Helsinki, Baghdad and London in addition to(…)