Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Visualising London’s Twitter languages

London is a very diverse city, as showcased during this year’s Olympic Games. Just how diverse is shown by a visualisation of language communities, as revealed by Twitter. There are limitations to this as it is a selective sample, but is interesting nonetheless. The top five languages represented (other than English) are Spanish, French, Turkish,(…)

Language learning makes the brain grow

According to a new study in Sweden, learning a language may make your brain grow. The study compared students at the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy with students from Umea University who were not studying languages. Both groups had MRI scans of their brains both before and after a three-month period of study. The scans(…)

New Douglas Adams dictionary

Beloved author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, died 11 years ago, but his legacy lives on. Adams wrote The Meaning of Liff, a dictionary of “things that there should be words for but aren’t”, and his family and friends have now written a new volume called Afterliff. The book will be(…)

Britishisms in America

According to an article from BBC News, British English words and phrases are creeping in to American English. Ben Yagoda, Professor of English at the University of Delaware, has even set up a blog to track them. He’s so far found around 150, from skint to cheers and loo to mate. According to an associate(…)

Is texting ruining the English language?

Do you know your LOL from your TMI or OMG? Are these acronyms creeping in to your everyday English – outside of texting? This interesting infographic shows some staggering stats about texting, including that 8 TRILLION texts were sent in 2011. It also asks the questions “is texting ruining the English language?” and “is texting(…)

Signing app with Marlee Matlin

Do you want to learn the fundamentals sign language in your own time? Then Marlee Matlin has the app for you. The award-winning deaf actress has released Marlee Signs, an app that shows you the fundamentals of American Sign Language (ASL). It starts with the signed alphabet and moves on to common signs you would(…)

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of “the freedom to read”, finished on October 6th. The Huffington Post has an interactive infographic on the 10 most challenged and banned books of 2012. They also have a graph of trends of book challenges – interesting as whilst the number of books being challenged has fallen since(…)