Monthly Archives: December, 2011

Buzzwords of 2011

2011 has been a very eventful year, and it’s reflected in Time magazine’s Top 10 buzzwords of the year. Their number one word is “occupy”, with this summation: In 2011, occupy became this generation’s sit-in, a word connoting peaceful but uncompromising objections to the status quo. The other words that made it into their top five are:(…)


Chanukah or Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is nearly over for this year, but there’s still time to consider how it’s spelt: Chanukah or Hanukkah? The Jewish Festival of Lights apparently has no “correct” spelling – it is a transliteration of a Hebrew word into English. Rabbi Daniel Zemel of Washington, DC was asked by NPR about the spelling, and this(…)


Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Listen & Learn! Hope everyone has a warm and fun Christmas, however you celebrate it. Here’s how to wish people all over the world a happy Christmas… Can you say it in your target language? Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees Albanian: Gezur Krislinjden Arabic: Milad Majid Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!(…)


Invented languages

A fascinating article in the New York Times describes the rise of invented languages (conlangs) in Hollywood. The most famous conlangs are probably Klingon (from Star Trek) and Esperanto but more recently languages have been invented for the film Avatar (Na’vi) and the television show Game of Thrones (Dothraki). Who is behind these new languages?(…)


Good news for Navajo?

In what seems like good news for Native American languages, the US Census Bureau has reported that 169,000 people speak Navajo. That figure makes it the Native American language that’s most spoken in homes, but should be treated with caution. For a start, the survey didn’t measure fluency levels – it just asked if a(…)


Meryl Streep says accents are easy

Most of us have trouble with accents. Whether we’re putting on a comedy voice for friends or trying to adopt a Parisian French accent, it’s a bit of a struggle. Meryl Streep has done Australian, Italian, Danish, and a host of other accents over her career, and describes it as “the easiest thing I do”.(…)


English pronunciation

Wondering if your English pronunciation is perfect? Via the Spelling blog, you can check how you do by reading a (long!) poem. Apparently, if you say each word correctly, you are speaking English better than 90% of native English speakers. No word on how they figured this out or how to tell if your pronunciation(…)