Celebrate Languages!

By Richard de Meij | Bite-Size, Thought-Provoking & Intriguing Articles About Languages, Language-Learning/Teaching/Strategies & Research, ...and So Much More!

She? Ze? They? What’s In a Gender Pronoun

WASHINGTON — What happens when 334 linguists, lexicographers, grammarians and etymologists gather in a stuffy lecture hall on a Friday night to debate the lexical trends of the year?

They become the unlikely heroes of the new gender revolution.

That’s what happened here earlier this month anyway, at …


Dutch Language Acquisition

During the Dutch Language Acquisition lessons the students are learning more about the Dutch language and culture. Most students show a lot of …


English Language Learners: Differentiating Between Language Acquisition and Learning Disabilities

This unique guide for special education teachers, teachers of English language learners, and other practitioners provides the foundational …

Language Learning

Noam Chomsky's Theories on Language - Video & Lesson Transcript

Language and Its Acquisition

Few would argue the significance of language in the evolution of the human species. Language serves many critical …

Krashen's theories of language acquisition- do they still have value in the ELT classroom?

Robert William McCaul and Marek Kiczkowiak debate the merits of Krashen’s theories on second language acquisition. Can second languages be learned in …

The Fairy Tales That Predate Christianity

Using techniques from evolutionary biology, scientists have traced folk stories back to the Bronze Age.

Stories evolve. As they are told and retold to new audiences, they accumulate changes in plot, characters, and settings. They behave a lot like living organisms, which build up mutations in the …

Fairy Tales

France Thinks Its Keyboards Are Ruining the French Language

The French government has been dictating what counts as the proper French language for almost 400 years now (save for a nasty little break during the French Revolution), but while it may have picked fights with words like "software" and "hashtag," it's apparently never bothered to standardize the …

French Language

The case of the missing “u”s in American English

When my American editor asked me to research why Brits spell their words with so many extra ‘u’s, I immediately knew he had it all wrong. As a British journalist, it’s perfectly obvious to me that we have the correct amount of ‘u’s, and that American spelling has lost its vowels along the …


Everyone Uses Singular 'They,' Whether They Realize It Or Not

Talk about belated recognition. At its meeting in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7, the American Dialect Society voted to make the 600-year-old pronoun "they" their word of the year for 2015. Or more precisely, a particular use of that pronoun that grammarians call the singular "they." This is the …


The Most Common Language Spoken in Your State, Besides English and Spanish

The news: Despite growing efforts to make English the official language of the U.S., America's linguistic landscape is only becoming more …


America's Lacking Language Skills

Budget cuts, low enrollments, and teacher shortages mean the country is falling behind the rest of the world.

Educators from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., this past Thursday to lobby in the interest of world languages. It was Language Advocacy Day, an annual event on Capitol Hill …


There are a lot of ridiculous myths out there about raising bilingual kids - Quartz

By the age of two, children are typically able to say a few hundred words. My son, Alexander, was able to understand almost everything in both languages—Greek and English—but he could say only six words.

Our concerns grew as we watched younger kids overtake his speaking ability. Like many parents, …

Language Development

The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

CEO David Bailey describes how he taught himself French in only 17 days

Answer by David Bailey, CEO of Spotnight, on Quora.

I’ve learned several foreign languages as an adult. I was able to learn French to conversation fluency in 17 days using the following techniques. Note that I had previously …


When kids mangle language we all benefit

Helping a tiny baby to learn your language is like building a bonfire with words for twigs. Nothing happens for ages. You keep putting the bloody twigs on and trudging back and forth in a cold, damp field. You may have a faulty pelvic floor and much rather be watching something on the telly with a …


The Internet's Love of Black Slang Makes Some of Us Uncomfortable

There is an ongoing half-joke about "white people ruining" certain slang words. From "bling bling" to "basic." From "on fleek" to "f**kboy." From "yass" to "ain't nobody got time for that." The "mainstream" appropriation, and subsequent overuse, of black slang is as predictable as the …


How to sound like a native speaker in a foreign language | 5-Minute Language

How to sound like a native speaker?

When I moved to England for the first time, I really wanted to sound like a native. I felt very strongly that my …


Experts warn W.D.M. schools about cutting foreign languages

West Des Moines students could have fewer foreign language options next year.

The school board will vote Monday on a committee recommendation to …

Taking “Foreign” Out of Language-Learning Programs

Photo: provo.edu

As new batches of US college students sign up to learn languages other than English, foreign language departments are facing a …

English is weird

English speakers know that their language is odd. So do nonspeakers saddled with learning it. The oddity that we all perceive most readily is its …


Linguistics can explain why people listen when Donald Trump speaks - Quartz

Donald Trump’s December 7 Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration has attracted worldwide disdain. Nearly 500,000 Britons have signed a petition asking their government to prevent Trump from entering their country. In the US, Trump’s comments have been denounced by Democrats, Republicans, the …

Donald Trump

Speaking More Than One Language Helps Stroke Recovery

Learning a new language is great for your brain.

There are ways to reduce your risk of having a stroke — for example, you can exercise more and not smoke. But should a stroke occur, you might also be able to reduce your risk of losing brain function if you are a speaker of more than one language.

In …

The Brain

The psychology of learning a language

Its name is Heschl’s gyrus and it's found in the area of the primary auditory cortex, that's the cortical structure in charge of processing incoming …

Afrikaans is no longer the language of the oppressor

The 1994 Consensus, and the vision that Nelson Mandela had for South Africa, was about embracing diversity and building diverse institutions. We …

Want to work in tech? You have to speak the language

In recent years, tech-adjacent roles are seeing unprecedented growth. As the tech industry grows, jobs in support, customer services and more are all …


I Learned to Speak Four Languages in a Few Years: Here's How

Lifehacker reader Gabriel Wyner was tasked with learning four languages in the past few years for his career as an opera singer, and in the process


Meet Premium 2.0 – Here’s Why It’s Your Best Guide to Language Learning

For a long time now, I’ve been working behind the scenes on doing a serious revamp of my flagship product, Fluent in 3 Months Premium. And I’m …

Language Learning

How to say ‘thank you’ in 28 languages

Thanksgiving may often be seen as a thoroughly American affair, but variations of this celebration exist in other parts of the world as well. So, to …


Why the Heck Is Listening Such a Big Deal? 5 Reasons Why Language Learners Need to Listen Up

When a native speaker starts talking in your target language, does it sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher blabbing?

Blah, blah, blah.

Do you struggle to …