Tag Archives: language

5 Tips for Picking Up a Language Again After a Long Break

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Taking a break from learning a new language can be healthy, but sometimes a short two-week break can turn into months, then years, and before you know it you’ve forgotten nearly everything you learned in the first place. Maybe you set aside that language so you could focus on another, or you got too busy,(…)


Giving Life to Language: How New Words Are Created

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Not yet halfway through the year and already Webster’s has added a 1,000 new words to their dictionary. Though the old man Noah Webster himself might have been stymied by words like humblebrag, photobomb and listicle, the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster are encouraging the unstoppable language revolution. It’s true that none of these words are necessarily(…)


But Is It Art?

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How do you describe something that is beautiful? How about well made? What if it is out of the ordinary? Is the description automatically synonymous with ‘art’? As abstract (pun completely intended) as it may be, how can and should art be defined? Art, in form, theory, and construct is always subjective.With that in mind,(…)


Population Boom, Language Bust: Homogenization at Work

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Since modern science has extended life spans and lowered infant and child mortality rates, world population has been increasing at an exponential rate leading to major changes in human migration. This migration has created larger and larger populous centers that has resulted in cultural homogenization and the dominance of fewer languages (ahem, English). Okay, that’s(…)


Food Name Origins: ‘Why Hot Dog?’

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I enjoy stories of how foods travel and get named and then often re-named as they mutate to fit changing tastes. One of my favorite documentaries in recent years was The Search for General Tso which traces the origin of the famous dish while uncovering the history of Chinese immigration to the US in the process.(…)


Are You Woke?

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Slang is one of the few aspects of language that has the ability to change in the blink of an eye. As soon as it’s born, it mutates, evolves, and then passes through an extensive transformative process on social media where memes, GIFs, tweets, and status updates spit out any kind of new meaning. While(…)


The “Hotel California” Phenomenon in Thailand

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Hi, my name is John McMahon. I am an American who has lived in Thailand for over a decade and I need some help. Ten years ago I lived in a big house on a small side street with a little bar at the end. The owner of this bar also fancied himself a singer.(…)


The Tricks of the Trade: Airline Language

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It may sound mythical, like unicorns or pots of gold at the end of rainbows to those born after around 1990, but it’s true: flying was once pleasurable. Before the abuse; the stripping, radiating, berating. It was a fairly simple process to board a plane. Before the luggage limitations and federal laws and armed marshals,(…)


Brain Benefits of Being Bilingual

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“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry I have always envied those raised bilingually. Those who slip so easily from one tongue to another.(…)


Your Guide to Lies, Lies, and More Lies

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Liar, liar, pants on fire, and if that were true most of us would be alight from the ankles up. Everyone hates a liar. The word consistently rates in the bottom 5% of 500 descriptive words but we all are; big or small, intentional or by mishap, liars. We have great words for lying. When(…)