Tag Archives: language news

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(…)


Ancient language discovered in Turkey

An ancient language which could shed light on some of history’s first ‘barbarians’ has been discovered on clay tablets in Turkey. Archaeologists excavating the site of an Assyrian imperial governors’ palace in the city of Tusha uncovered the tablets, which reveal the names of 60 women. When studied in detail, archaeologists realised the names didn’t(…)


Language of the future

What language will people speak in the future? That’s the subject of a chapter from new book “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English” by Farrar, Straus and Girous, extracted at Salon.com. English currently continues to dominate as the lingua franca of business and popular culture and it’s widely used in other industries. It’s(…)


Scrabble player? Beware of new words!

You may have heard the recent news that Scrabble is adding nearly 3,000 new words to a lexicon, including some slang terms. But don’t be afraid: they’re only for use outside of North America. Collins Official Scrabble Words governs play outside of North America, whilst in the US and Canada competitive Scrabble is ruled by(…)


Bye, “On Language”

It’s a sad day for one of my favourite language columns, “On Language” in the New York Times. After a 32 year run, this is the final week for the column. “On Language” explored language issues and explained them in an easily accessible way. Ben Zimmer’s final column looks at the future of languages, particularly(…)


How do babies process language?

Just like adults, according to new research. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have shown that babies process language in the same way as adults and can understand many words adults are saying. It was previously thought that infants evolved into processing language like adults, starting out with an entirely different mechanism of(…)


The Year in Language

The beginning of a new year is always filled with round-ups of the previous one. Mostly they are in the form of lists (especially ‘word of the year’ lists), which becomes a bit tedious after the eleventh one. For that reason I recommend Erin McKean’s roundup of the year in the language at Boston.com. It’s(…)


World in Words podcasts

I’ve just discovered these podcasts called The World in Words from PRI (Public Radio International) and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of them before! The description of the series is: The World in Words focuses on language. We cover everything from bilingual education to the globalization of English to untranslatable foreign phrases. You’ll learn(…)