Category Archives: random

Taxicab Mandarin: How to Navigate Your Way through China

The goal of this article would be to provide some very basic Mandarin to be used in taxis by people who don’t speak Mandarin, however, “Taxicab Mandarin” is also an informal level of Chinese language acquisition, e.g. I speak enough Mandarin to tell the taxi driver where to go; hence, the taxicab element. Meanwhile, this(…)


5 Creative Ways to Study a Foreign Language

Because language learning is, well, a type of learning, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to treat it like a graduate thesis. The result is often that you either fall into a rut, get bored and give up, or, most importantly, stop having fun picking up that new tongue! While(…)


The US Dollar’s Name Origin and Associated Common Slang

Money talks and nobody walks, and that is just the way it is. In a consumer-based society, money is at the top of our conversational pyramid. How often when hanging with friends, having dinner with family or chatting with colleagues at work does someone ask: “How much was that?” Even between strangers waiting for a(…)


Queens New York: The World’s Linguistic Melting Pot

In some cases, to find the last speaker of a dying language instead of traveling to remote outposts of civilization or border towns destroyed by war and crippling poverty, you can hop on the 7 train out of Grand Central Station to a stop in the borough of Queens. Heralded as the most culturally diverse(…)


Right Swiping Your Way to a Second Language

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Aaron and I am an American living and studying in Barcelona, Spain.   Ever since moving abroad, my answer to the inescapable “de donde eres” question has strategically shifted from ‘the U.S.’ to ‘California.’ I must admit, it’s a great strategy. As soon as the word leaves(…)


Recounting the Ever-Changing Diversity of New York City

What do Peter Minuit, Pieter Minuit, Pierre Minuit, and Peter Minnewit all have in common? You guessed it! They’re all the same person, with spelling differences. Taking the first version, Peter Minuit, to be our variation, who here knows why he is famous? History may not have been everyone’s strongest suit (or maybe history plays(…)


Why a Year Abroad Isn’t Enough to Become Fluent

Taking the leap to move to the country where your target language is spoken can be an exciting segue in your language learning journey. In fact, a year abroad is often touted by teachers and professors as one of the best ways to perfect your skills, and as a result we language students put a(…)


Why Is Hard-Learned Language So Easily Forgotten?

Coming to the end of a two-month stay in my hometown of New York, away from my home in Thailand, I overheard three young Thai women on holiday walking along the West Side Promenade talking about the city. It was a normal enough discussion of the buildings, the river, the lack of public toilets, all(…)


Language Learning: If Gestures Could Talk

Are you a hand-speaker? Do you punctuate your sentences with wide, sweeping arm gestures, or sharp hand cuts through the air signaling an end of subject? Then maybe this will, uh, speak to you! Gesticulating In truth, a lot of us gesture when we speak. Watching someone get flustered with their argument or passionate about(…)


The Top 9 Soon-To-Be Extinct Words of 2017

A few weeks ago, we wrote about words that have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary for 2017 and what made those words worthy to be included into the official lexicon of our language. While looking at the new words, we also came across words that have been deleted in 2017, and the reasons why. As intriguing(…)