"The definitive guide to South Asian lingo". Eg., Enthu Cutlet
: An enthu cutlet is an earnest eager beaver who is able to muster up inordinate amounts of energy, inspiration and enthusiasm towards a variety of things. (via
Linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts, check out free Q&A site English Language and Usage
. [more inside]
"English As She Is Spoke
is a broken Portuguese-to-English phrasebook written by two translators, José da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino. Sort of. You see, in reality, translator Pedro Carolino wanted to create a phrasebook on his own. Not knowing English, he took José da Fonseca’s French-to-English phrasebook and then used a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook to translate that. It’s sort of like what you and your friends do on Google Translate, but with a poor, mislead Portuguese man doing it by hand in candlelight." [more inside]
The British Library's Evolving English
exhibition runs until 3rd April but if you can't make it to London you can view the English language timeline
, map your voice
, or try this quiz
on the website.
. In linguistics, a corpus is a collection of 'real world' writing and speech designed to facilitate research into language. These 6 searchable corpora together contain more than a billion words. The Corpus of Historical American English
allows you to track changes in word use from 1810 to present; the Corpus del Español
goes back to the 1200s.
is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words
, slang terms
, technical terms
, brand names
, proper names
, and many foreign words
, including common variations
. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated
-- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries
are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer
, who has steadily expanded its glossary
over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites
, and is also available as a browser extension
and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
"I couldn't care less" vs. "I could care less"
... A letter to Ann Landers
in October 1960 is credited with starting the debate over "one of the great language peeves of our time." Via. [more inside]
Words I love
, not to be confused with Words I hate
The BBC presents a wee Flash gubbins
that discusses the history of the English language in ten parts.
The next day, Sunday, I spent almost nine hours immersed in Robert Lepage’s marathon play, Lipsynch, at the Bluma Appel Theatre, which was part of Luminato. You tell people you’ve just spent nine hours watching a play conducted in four languages (with projected sur-titles) and they think you’ve undergone an endurance test, made a heroic sacrifice for art. On the contrary. There was no suffering(5 minutes of [enthusiastic] standing and clapping)
. The time flew by. It was like taking your brain on a luxurious cruise. Or spending the day in an art spa, basking in mind massages and sensory wraps. Maybe it was high art but the ascent was effortless: because Lepage did all the work for you, it was experienced as pure entertainment. [more inside]
Twenty-four different accents
in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT
I’m not advocating the abolition of grammar, but rather its justification. I’m not quite sure what that will entail in the end, but I’m starting out by pointing out grammar rules that just don’t make sense, don’t work, or don’t have any justification. All I want is for our rules of grammar to be well-motivated.
The Gender-Neutral Pronoun: 150 Years Later, Still an Epic Fail
. Wordsmiths have been coining gender-neutral pronouns for a century and a half, all to no avail. Coiners of these new words insist that the gender-neutral pronoun is indispensable, but users of English stalwartly reject, ridicule, or just ignore their proposals. [Via].
attempts to be 'a demographic dictionary of modern American English.' Here's
how it works. Lexicalist's developer David Bamman goes into greater detail
at Language Log
. [more inside]
"Yes, we want" -- Who owns global English?
Post on The Web of Language
by Dennis Barron
, Professor of English and Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Barron writes about the linguistic control of English playing out on the global stage. Included among the topics is the perception of "error" and Engrish.
The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English
is a searchable collection of almost 2 million words of transcribed spoken English from the University of Michigan, including student study groups
, office hours
, dissertation defenses
, and campus tours
. Researchers use the Michigan corpus to investigate questions about usage, like "less or fewer?"
(cf. this contentious Ask Meta thread
) and more general topics, like "Vague Language in Academia." Browse or search MICASE
Merriam-Webster's Ask the Editors blog
is the centerpiece of the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
site. It is an excellent source of sensible advice about English language and usage. Editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski also has a Twitter feed
where he highlights various interesting things about words. Finally, Merriam-Webster has started producing Ask the Editor videos
, four so far, where they've tackled the subjects of i before e
, classical roots
, affect vs. effect
and how news stories affect what words people look up online, in this case focusing on the effect of the coverage of Michael Jackson's death
. Incidentally, Merriam-Webster have released their top ten words of 2009
list, which is based on what words people looked up.
"It is the business of educated people to speak so that no-one may be able to tell in what county their childhood was passed."
Despite efforts by Victorians to eradicate them, dialects of English
in Great Britain continue to vary greatly
, much to the consternation
of many traditionalists
. But a recently acquired archive
is giving new insight into old dialects
--some of which no longer exist. Recorded in a WWI prisoner of war camp on shellac disks, the archive was part of an effort by German linguists to study regional variation in the English language. A report by PRI's The World
includes a brief synopsis--and a powerful rendition of a beloved Scottish ballad by a homesick soldier.
IS A RESTRICTED LANGUAGE
USING SIMPLE STANDARD PHRASES
FOR CLEAR COMMUNICATION
AT SEA; OVER.
ADVICE; BEGIN EACH PHRASE WITH MESSAGE MARKERS SUCH AS INSTRUCTION, ADVICE, WARNING, INFORMATION, QUESTION, ANSWER, REQUEST, INTENTION; OVER.
QUESTION; ARE THERE RELATED LANGUAGES; OVER.
ANSWER; YES AIRSPEAK
International House of Logorrhea
, at The Phrontistry
, a free online dictionary of weird and unusual words to help enhance your vocabulary. Generous language resources, 2 and 3 letter Scrabble words
l The Compass DeRose Guide to Emotion Words
l all kinds of glossaries for color terms
, love and attraction
, scientific instruments
, manias and obsessions
, feeding and eating
, carriages and chariots
, dance styles
and all kinds of fun word stuff. [more inside]
"Conquer English to Make China Stronger!" is the philosophy of Li Yang
, founder of the Crazy English
school (and style) of language, described by some as "English as a Shouted Language" for its main method of shouting English words in public
to overcome shyness. Li Yang has achieved Elvis-like popularity
in China, not just through his public lectures but also through the sales of books, media, teaching materials, and a memoir titled "I am Crazy, I Succeed". Li Yang's unorthodox methods - which include encouraging students to "lose face" and cope with embarrassment on the way to success - have earned him fame and fortune, including headlining the 5th Beijing Foreign Language Festival
and being the main English teacher for China's Olympic volunteers. Li Yang's secret to success: "... to have them continuously paying—that’s the conclusion I’ve reached.
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
A Brief History of English, with Chronology
by Suzanne Kemmer is one of many articles at Words in English
, a website designed as "a resource for those who want to learn more about this fascinating language – its history as a language, the origins of its words, and its current modern characteristics."
Puzzled by sugary J-Pop bands
and their eccentric
) TV shows? Frustrated and confused
by the complexity
of Japanese and want to see what your inchoate blustering looks like from the other side? Then join "perennially unpopular
celebrity Thane Camus
(grand-nephew of Albert Camus), as he walks a class of fellow pop star clichés through an endearingly awkward English conversation class
The Grammar Curmudgeon
makes up for all of those snarky grammar comments we refrain from posting.
Did you know the BBC has extensive pages on learning English
"Speak English" sign at cheesesteak shop not discriminatory.
A split three-member panel of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
ruled that a sign in Genos Steaks
the South Philadelphia cheesesteak shop did not convey a message that service would be refused to non-English speakers. [more inside]
Over the years millions of children have been introduced to a foreign language by Big Muzzy [wiki]
, a friendly, green, clock-eating monster. Here's the complete British English version of Muzzy in Gondoland on YouTube: 1
100 words every high school graduate should know
(according to the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries).
"The old, mean man" vs. "The mean old man."
Here's an aspect of English (and other languages) I've never thought of before. If you're using a string of adjectives, there's a natural order for them to appear in: "opinion :: size :: age :: shape :: color :: origin :: material :: purpose". (Although I find "old, mean," due to it's strange order, sort of striking.) [more info: 1
The Routes of English
on BBC Radio 4
tells the story of spoken english. If that's not enough for you, you can test your knowledge, learn about the spread of the language
, play games
(Do you know where 'ketchup' originates?) Check out the Q&A
. Learn about Churchill's roar
. Then check out the related links. Most sound clips are in RealPlayer format. Real Alternative here.
A Sub by any other name....
has put together a little survey
of American as she is spoke. The survey covers a myriad of areas
and the results wind up on some really interesting maps
It's on going, so feel free to take the challenge
English as she is spoke
: Infamous as the world's most ludicrously inept foreign phrasebook, the misbegotten work of Jose da Fonseca and Pedro Carolino was revived in a new edition by the Collins Library in March 2002. Some background
by Columbia Journalism Review, is incredibly helpful when it comes to learning the English language's subtle nuances and rather obvious rules.
A picture of English nouns
is a map of 33,000 English nouns. Each tiny rectangle corresponds to a noun. The color of the rectangle has been assigned a color, based on an internet image search for that noun. The words are clustered so that similar words are near each other. Gallery
. (Java required)
What Does That Mean
explains what it means to be having a blue
or to be loaded for bear
. This is a newish wiki site, so could use some more content. Me? I'm off to get something from the chilly bin
and then I may add some regional idioms of my own...
Learn Brit-Speak British Airways
wants to help Americans understand "Brit-Speak". Of course you've always wanted to know what pants, snog, squiz and lurgy mean, but as a marketing strategy
? annoying flash interface, but all 72 items inside