Tag Archives: learn languages

10 Must-Know Phrases for Your Diwali Celebrations

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Diwali is one of India’s biggest festivals of the year and an incredibly important holiday for Hindus. The celebrations occur over a period of five days and include numerous traditions, activities, and, yes, tasty treats. If you’re celebrating the Festival of Lights for the first time this coming week, you may find yourself overwhelmed (and(…)


How Far Can You Get in the World Only Speaking English?

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There are plenty of people who travel and live abroad, yet somehow manage to get by with only knowing English. The falling rate of people learning languages in the U.K. and U.S. perhaps points to a sort of English-speaker arrogance—because English is considered such a global language, we tend to assume that everywhere we go(…)


Queens New York: The World’s Linguistic Melting Pot

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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

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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(…)


Why a Year Abroad Isn’t Enough to Become Fluent

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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(…)


Monolingualism in the United States

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Pub quiz time: what is the official language of the United States? We’ll wait. Because whilst English is perceived as the language of the United States, there is no official language of the United States. It is only an official language in 27 states, and we say, only, because if movements such as English Only(…)


Yiddish: New York’s Lost Language

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I’ve heard it said that every language in the world is spoken in Queens, New York. While this may not be a proven fact, hang out on the streets of Jackson Heights or Woodside and you might get an inkling of how it could be true. I like to count languages when I’m on the(…)


Why Is Hard-Learned Language So Easily Forgotten?

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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(…)


The Most Hated Words in English

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Is there a word that prickles your skin, raises the short hairs on the back of your neck, or just in general makes you feel sick? Did you even know about this phenomenon? That a simple word with no political or hateful connotations can make normal person uncomfortable. Well, it’s a thing, and it seems(…)


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(…)