Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Language faux pas

It’s not just us humble language learners that make the occasional faux pas in another language. World leaders do it too. The Guardian has put together this fun quiz of linguistic gaffes – can you guess the correct answers for all of them? In honor of the faux pas, perhaps you could try some French(…)


Patterns

New research suggests that your ability to learn a second language can be predicted by your ability to learn patterns. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, was conducted using American student participants in an overseas programme, and measured how well they picked up some aspects of Hebrew. The students were tested once in(…)


The English Effect

The British Council is currently celebrating the English language, as spoken both in the UK and overseas. One in seven of the world’s population are learning English – that’s over 1.5 billion people! The British Council’s video ‘English and me’ shows people from all over the world saying what the English language means to them.(…)


Foreign accent syndrome

Most language learners work hard to get a ‘local’ accent in the language they’re learning. They take French lessons in New York and practice speaking a lot. For some though, a foreign accent is an unwelcome intrusion. Foreign Accent Syndrome affects only around 80 people in the world, and is mainly associated with brain damage.(…)


Spelling bee controversy

You wouldn’t think a spelling bee could be controversial… The winning word at America’s annual spelling contest, Scripps Spelling Bee, was the Yiddish word knaidel, spelled by thirteen year old Arvind Mahankali. America’s Yiddish authority, YIVO, however say that the word is spelt kneydl. Arvind gets to keep his trophy as the bee’s official dictionary,(…)


The pencil trick

In my last Spanish class, my teacher made us do something rather odd. We were practicing saying new words and sentences aloud, and she was not happy with our pronunciation. So we were told to put our pens or pencils in our mouths. Our teacher explained that having a pen in our mouths would make(…)


Games For Practice

Learning new vocabulary is essential to improving your language skills. One way to improve is through online quizzes and games. Word Dynamo, which is linked with Dictionary.com, has a number of games for you to try at different grade levels, for different subjects and for test prep. It also offers tests in Latin and Spanish!(…)


Languages of love

What do you call that special someone in your life? Many of us have pet names, terms of endearment, that we like to use to promote intimacy. In English we use words like babe, sweetheart, darling, honey.. and so on. But what about in other languages? This Japanese phrase catches my eye for being so(…)