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Smithsonian

The Waggle Dance of the Honeybee

Language Status

We summarize the status of each language in each country where it is used in the <i>Status</i> element of a language entry by reporting two types of …

What Elvish, Klingon, and Dothraki Reveal about Real Language & the Essence of Human Communication

Language, Darwin believed, was not a conscious invention but a phenomenon <i>“slowly and unconsciously developed by many steps.”</i> But what makes a language a language? In this short animation from TED Ed, linguist <b>John McWhorter</b>, author of the indispensable <b>The Power of Babel: A Natural History of …

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

This post originally appeared over on the Maptia Blog<i>. The team at Maptia are creating a beautiful platform for telling stories about places (launching soon!) and you can check out their</i> 'See The World' <i>manifesto here.</i><p>The relationship between words and their meaning is a fascinating one, and …

Viaje al cerebro de un bilingüe: así te cambia hablar dos idiomas

El cerebro humano es, todavía hoy, uno de los grandes enigmas de la ciencia. Su funcionamiento es el objetivo de multitud de estudios que no sólo …

Princeton recibe un tesoro: las seis primeras biblias de Gutenberg

La familia del filántropo William H. Scheide cede su colección de libros raros, valorada en 300 millones de dólares<p>La Universidad de Princeton ha …

Indo-European Languages Originated 6,000 Years Ago in Russian Grasslands

Proto-Indo-European is the ancestral tongue of 400 languages and dialects, including English, German, Italian, Greek, and Hindi. It appeared in …

Anthropology

Steven Pinker on the false fronts in the language wars.

Nature or nurture. Love it or leave it. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.<p>If you didn’t already know that euphonious dichotomies are usually phony …

¿Cuándo se produjo la primera conversación?

MADRID, 13 Ene. (EUROPA PRESS) -<p>Las primeras conversaciones ocurrieron probablemente hace entre 2,5 y 1,8 millones de años, y el tema que se trató no …

Learning A New Language Creates More Connections In The Brain, Study Says

It seems some people just have a knack for learning new languages (and a new study agrees), according to CBS News, but don't worry if you aren't that …

Steven Pinker’s Bad Grammar

In a prologue to “The Sense of Style,” subtitled “A Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century,” the brain scientist Steven Pinker explains that he’s been reading style manuals of late, and that they bum him out. Strunk and White had “a tenuous grasp of grammar,” and George Orwell …

Linguistics

Interview: Steven Pinker on The Sense of Style and what linguistics and cognitive science tell us about better writing

<i>I talked recently with Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and other books about language and the mind, about his new book, The Sense of</i> …

The Unusual Language That Linguists Thought Couldn’t Exist - Facts So Romantic

Languages, like human bodies, come in a variety of shapes—but only to a point. Just as people don’t sprout multiple heads, languages tend to veer …

Steven Pinker: 10 'grammar rules' it's OK to break (sometimes)

You shudder at a split infinitive, know when to use 'that' or 'which' and would never confuse 'less' with 'fewer' – but are these rules always right, elegant or sensible, asks linguist Steven Pinker<p>Among the many challenges of writing is dealing with rules of correct usage: whether to worry about …

The origins of abc — I Love Typography

August 7, 2010<br>John Boardley<p><b>Where does our alphabet come from?</b> We see it every day on signs, billboards, packaging, in books and magazines; in fact, …

European word translator

Enter one or two lower-case English words to see translations from Google Translate.<p>This site is a personal side project. I had planned to take it …

Caprichos de los manuscritos de la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia

Entre los libros iluminados, copistas y monjes dejaron marcas de su paso por las bibliotecas de los monasterios. Monstruos y terrores, obsesiones y …

How Language Seems To Shape One's View Of The World

Lera Boroditsky once did a simple experiment: She asked people to close their eyes and point southeast. A room of distinguished professors in the U.S. pointed in almost every possible direction, whereas 5-year-old Australian aboriginal girls always got it right.<p>She says the difference lies in …

What is the Oldest Book in the World?

By Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel)<p>The past few days I have been preoccupied with a deceptively simple question: “What is the oldest book in the world?” …

Oxford University Presents the 550-Year-Old Gutenberg Bible in Spectacular, High-Res Detail

The great British empiricist Francis Bacon once remarked that Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press “changed the whole face and state of the world." …

Gods and mythological creatures in The Iliad in ancient art

Lapiths and Centaurs<p>Fig 2.3 – In this relief from the Parthenon in Athens a bearded Centaur seizes the hair of a Lapith youth and prepares to kill …