Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Grammar issues

Many people complain that English is difficult to grasp because of its grammar. Helpfully, The Week has written a list of seven grammar rules you really should pay attention to, particularly if you’re writing for public consumption. 2. Bad parallelism This issue comes up most often in lists, for example: My friend made salsa, guacamole,(…)


Learning a language – don’t be put off!

One of the main things that puts people off learning a new language is that they think it will be difficult. It’s hard to become bilingual, isn’t it? And multilingual? Forget it! Multilingual people must be geniuses, right? Or at least smarter than me. That may not be the case. Learning a new language is(…)


Hawaiian Sign Language

Researchers have for the first time documented Hawaiian Sign Language (HSL). There is written evidence dating back to the 1800s showing the language existed but it is now spoken by only around 40 islanders. In the 1940s it began to be phased out in favour of American Sign Language (ASL). Work to preserve the language(…)


Twitter tribes

If you think Twitter is all people talking about what they just had for lunch, think again. Although food can be a feature of the social network, analysis of millions of tweets has shown that Twitter users form ‘tribes’. These tribes have their own language, and are often based around a community of interest –(…)


Do we still need email signatures?

An interesting article in Slate explores whether we still need email signatures. The author argues that signatures are a hangover from writing letters, and have no place in the modern world. But in 2013, when bots outnumber benefactors by a wide margin, the continued and consistent use of antiquated signoffs in email is impossible to(…)


Ancient languages helped by modern technology

Ancient languages are being reconstructed with the aid of new software. The software can rebuild protolanguages, the original languages which our languages have developed from. Researchers hope this will allow them to reconstruct many languages, which would otherwise take a human linguist many lifetimes to complete. The scientists demonstrated their system by looking at a(…)


Coupon lingo

Couponing has become a big thing in this country, even making it on to TV with shows like extreme couponing. It even has its own lingo! The Wordnik blog has listed their ten favourite couponing words, here’s a selection: Blinkie Blinkies are a type of coupon dispensed from a machine in a store aisle or at(…)