Tag Archives: linguistics

Population Boom, Language Bust: Homogenization at Work

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(…)


What Happened with Slang in 2016?

One of the great side effects of the massive breath of the English language is the slang to which it has given birth. As English has become the language of the world, the slang works its way into cultures and countries everywhere. Cool, kinky, crazy slang words of course. Hang out, chill out, freak out(…)


The Election in Words: How Linguistics Played an Important Role Between Hillary and Trump

Words hold power, and anyone who has been called a name on a school yard, or branded by their peers as different, will know that words can sometimes cut to the core. Words can grant freedom, make people feel loved, ensure a nation’s security, or they can be used to demoralize and tear people apart.(…)


Animated linguistics

Steven Pinker is a well-known linguist (amongst other things), with specializations in visual cognition and psycholinguistics. He’s also very good at making complex ideas seem very understandable and engaging, which is why I love this video illustrating a talk he gave to the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in(…)


Interview with a linguist

There’s constant debate about whether endangered languages are worth preserving, but it seems fairly rare that we hear directly from those who are studying languages. The Economist’s Johnson blog has asked linguist K. David Harrison seven questions about what is lost when a language dies – his answers are pretty interesting. Take a look at(…)


‘Genius grant’ for linguist

A linguist studying a long-dead Native American language has been rewarded with a ‘genius grant’. Jessie Little Doe Baird was awarded the $500,000 MacArthur Fellows grant for her work in resurrecting the Wampanoag language, an Algonquian language of New England. The language was spoken until the mid-1800s, when it disappeared, and appears to have an(…)


Accented teachers

There’s currently a lot of controversy in Arizona over the removal of teachers with accents from classes with English language learners. The reasoning behind the removal is that English-learners should have a good model of how to speak the language, and heavily accented and/or ungrammatical teachers do not provide this. This has attracted heavy criticism(…)