Monthly Archives: October, 2011

Word Soup

The excellent Wordnik weblog has introduced a new feature – Word Soup. Apparently the series “will bring you those strange, obscure, unbelievable (and sometimes NSFW) words”. The first in the series is pretty interesting, covering words like: Apparition American (from the show Castle) Apparition American plays on terms such as African American and Asian American.(…)

More punctuation

I recently posted a great infographic about the ampersand. If you’re interested in punctuation, you’ll appreciate another article I found on 14 punctuation marks “you never knew existed”! My favourite is probably the interrobang, as I’ve discussed previously. But I also really like the guillemets (<< >>), which are used in non-English languages as quotation(…)

Learning language while picking up garbage

A fascinating short piece in the New York Times profiles a New York City sanitation worker who has improved his Irish whilst working. Ed Shevlin began studying Irish a few years ago, and speaks it to people he sees whilst collecting garbage along his route in Rockaway, Queens. Mr Shevlin was awarded grant by the(…)

Can speech recognition software handle accents?

An interesting article on looks at whether the new iPhone’s speech recognition software can handle different accents. The question is particularly important since the phone has the capability to be used in any country in the world. And the answer is yes, due to programmers ‘training’ the system. This is done by feeding in(…)

Bilingualism myths

An interesting interview at the Huffington Post with Professor François Grosjean aims to bust some myths about what it means to be bilingual. Professor Grosjean is a world recognised expert on bilingualism and Emeritus Professor of psycholinguistics at Neuchâtel University in Switzerland. He lists a number of myths about bilingualism, including that bilinguals have equal(…)

Facebook Translate

According to Lifehacker, a new Facebook feature allows you to translate posts and comments on Facebook pages. The “translate” link is shown when a comment is made in a different language. It’s placed right next to the “share” and “like” links. Whilst the service is currently only available on Facebook pages, there are plans to(…)