Topic : Linguistics
Grammatical Diversity in American English
July 27, 2011
A fascinating new site has been launched by linguists at Yale University: "Yale Grammatical Diversity Project: English in North America." The site documents "the subtle, but systematic, differences in the syntax of English varieties." If you want to know where people say "The car needs washed" or "I might could go," check out the site here.
June 28, 2011
On the linguistics blog Language Log, Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania has "a terrible idea that could probably make someone a modest fortune." What if you could combine "a speech recognizer with a style checker" to create "an app for your smartphone that will make it vibrate (or beep, or flash) whenever you indulge in any of the verbal tics that you've asked it to watch out for"? Read Liberman's reluctant proposal here.
The Remarkable History of "Y'all"
April 11, 2011
Ben Trawick-Smith is an actor with a deep interest in English dialects. On his Dialect Blog, he takes on a range of interesting linguistic issues. One recent post traces the history of the pronoun y'all: "One word. Two continents. Three shores. Four centuries. Five separate dialects. Wow." Read the fascinating story here.
The Birth of a Word
March 14, 2011
Wouldn't it be amazing if you could capture every moment of a child's language development? Deb Roy, a researcher at MIT, managed to do just that with his infant son. After wiring his house with video cameras, he then analyzed "the world's largest home video collection" to show how a bit of babble became a word. See Roy's TED talk here.
International Mother Language Day
February 21, 2011
Today is the 11th annual commemoration of International Mother Language Day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) asks the world community to celebrate linguistic diversity and the promotion of mother tongues. Read more from the United Nations here, and check out the LingEducator blog for ideas about classroom activities.
A Monthly Column for Word Lovers
February 1, 2011By Orin Hargraves
This month in the Lounge, we take a look at the much buzzed-about "culturomics" paper in the journal Science and the related "Ngram viewer" rolled about Google to track the history of language and culture. What does the trendy "culturomic" approach to data-crunching have to offer those harmless drudges, the lexicographers? Continue reading...
Teachers at Work
A column about teaching
January 18, 2011
A newly published book, Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools, takes on a topic that has long confounded American schoolteachers: how should standard English be taught while respecting the diverse variants of English spoken by students? The authors, Anne H. Charity Hudley and Christine Mallinson, provide fresh insights into this question, providing practical solutions that teachers can apply in the classroom. We talked to Anne and Christine about what inspired them to write the book. Continue reading...