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free Yale courses online

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University:Astronomy, English, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies: a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video, syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 14, 2007 - 30 comments

 

The folking English

The Imagined Village [promoting an album too but plenty of interesting free stuff] Several luminaries of a now more globalised British music scene reinterpret the folk heritage and pose questions about a modern English identity. There's Benjamin Zephaniah's version of Tam Lyn and a retelling of Hard Times in Old England; even our American cousins get in on the act, for instance remixes like Doghouse Riley's doo-wop Cold Hailey Rainy Night. There's also a few thinky pieces explaining what it's all about.
posted by Abiezer on Nov 17, 2007 - 5 comments

In China, it is a common thing to stumble over the bodies of dead babies in the streets.

In the 19th century, English author Favell Mortimer wrote several books describing various countries to children. Apparently she didn't travel much. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 2, 2007 - 34 comments

Well Said, English.

Increase your pronunciation skills and your vocabulary by checking out 6000 English words recorded by a native speaker. Not enough for you? Then would you believe 20,000 English words recorded by a native speaker?
posted by Effigy2000 on Sep 25, 2007 - 55 comments

Note: You read the guidelines, right? Oh yes.

Single Japanese Male. Rather than yammering in Meta about what "best of the web" means, let's have an object-lesson in astonishing obscure excellence. Introducing every last one of you to the Virtual Wilbye Consort.
posted by jfuller on Aug 4, 2007 - 19 comments

100 words every high school graduate should know

100 words every high school graduate should know (according to the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries).
posted by mr_crash_davis on Jun 13, 2007 - 159 comments

a fascinating short timely rectangular (due to the CSS box model) white-on-blue American pixel-based educational post (about adjectives)

"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, 2, 3]
posted by grumblebee on May 19, 2007 - 91 comments

Thai fiction

Modern Thai fiction, in English et plus en français.
posted by carsonb on Mar 26, 2007 - 12 comments

Is Byyuudua-pessst fahhh?

Some movie villains aren't necessarily bad, they're just accented that way. But what criteria do we use to determine a truly, uniquely bad film accent? Obviously, it helps if an actor or movie annoys you to begin with, but some bad accents are simply indisputably painful to watch. Kind of like a mashup of everything in The Speech Accent Archive with a little bit of Received Pronounciation thrown in here and there. Yes it's true, even the average American enjoys trying to rock a ridiculously fake British tone once in a while (there are dialects?). But believe it or not, there are average people in this world actually trying to learn how to sound American too! OK well, on second thought, it's more likely that they're just trying to sound less "foreign" while they're here so we don't mock them.

Now here's the obligatory Fun Quiz portion of the post: what American accent do YOU have? Previously.
posted by miss lynnster on Mar 24, 2007 - 96 comments

"Gee, I just love your accent."

BBC News: "Gee, I just love your accent." The American nation may be more wary of crossing borders, but their love affair with the British accent continues unabated. Despite the fact that there are multiple variants therein, and what may be considered a "low-class" accent in the UK is still considered a "high-class" posh accent in the US. Naturally, the Brits will play this up to the hilt - and it may help in getting them jobs, credibility, Oscars and Emmys, by no less an authority than Stephen Fry.
posted by badlydubbedboy on Mar 21, 2007 - 178 comments

English ? Scottish ? Irish ? What's the difference ?

...Historians teach that they are mostly descended from different peoples: the Irish from the Celts and the English from the Anglo-Saxons who invaded from northern Europe and drove the Celts to the country’s western and northern fringes. But geneticists who have tested DNA throughout the British Isles are edging toward a different conclusion. Many are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh have a great deal in common with each other, at least from the geneticist’s point of view, seems likely to please no one.
A United Kingdom? Maybe
See also Myths of British ancestry
In the words of one well known Basque cultural icon: HA Ha!
posted by y2karl on Mar 9, 2007 - 40 comments

Eikanji

28-year-old Tomomi Kunishige has created a new form of Japanese calligraphy, dubbed Eikanji (literally 'english kanji'), which uses the Roman alphabet to represent Japanese characters. Even if you don't study Japanese her calligraphy is still worth admiring, though it must be said that some of the paintings involve a fairly relaxed usage. (taken from Mainichi Daily News)
posted by Talvalin on Jan 31, 2007 - 51 comments

sex, scotch, and scholarship

With malice towards all, Khushwant Singh has been one of the most ascerbic tongues in the English language, particularly in his editorship of the venerable yet now deceased Illustrated Weekly of India. Filled with Goan cartoonist Mario Miranda's stunning illustrations, short stories, photojournalism, scholarly articles and humor, I miss the touch of Indian society it kept for desis abroad.
posted by infini on Nov 11, 2006 - 3 comments

Dot-comservative party?

Webcameron. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party in the UK, reaches out to the Youtube generation.
posted by greycap on Sep 30, 2006 - 53 comments

Any fule kno that this is jolly good

St Custard's is an English preparatory school set in bracing downland country. Find out more about its teachers, the headmaster and his predecessors, the discipline, and its star pupil Nigel Molesworth. As a bonus you can find out more about how Kennedy captured the gerund and led it into captivity. If you're still confused, click here, here and here for the background to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle's satire on a certain part of 1950s England.
posted by greycap on Sep 16, 2006 - 17 comments

Should I teach English?

Lit majors - English prof. drops knowledge
posted by vronsky on Jul 25, 2006 - 88 comments

Here, at thy hand: be bold, and take thy stand.

More Shakespeare than you can shake a spear at.
posted by Mr. Six on Jul 17, 2006 - 19 comments

'What words say does not last. The words last. Because words are always the same, and what they say is never the same.'

The Phrontistery presents A Compendium of Lost Words
posted by anastasiav on Jul 1, 2006 - 14 comments

The Routes of English

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.
posted by blue_beetle on Mar 28, 2006 - 9 comments

Aargh!

Aargh!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 7, 2006 - 37 comments

Talking Letters

Webctionary Using typography as comic art. Portuguese version by the same creator.
posted by divabat on Dec 31, 2005 - 10 comments

English like what she is supposed to be spoke

The Plain English Campaign Awards have been published again. No Rumsfeldian "known unknowns" this time, just this from Rhodri Morgan:
The only thing which isn’t up for grabs is no change and I think it’s fair to say it’s all to play for, except for no change.”
The complete shortlist (word doc) and BBC report. 2003 awards previously
posted by patricio on Dec 13, 2005 - 9 comments

Omit Needless Musicals

The Elements of Style, the classic writing manual by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, has been produced as a musical featuring the Omit Needless Words Orchestra.
posted by ScottMorris on Nov 1, 2005 - 34 comments

A Sub by any other name....

A Sub by any other name.... Professor Vaux 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
posted by IndigoJones on Sep 23, 2005 - 15 comments

self-confessed valley girl

International Dialects of English Archive
posted by kenko on Sep 6, 2005 - 17 comments

English as she is spoke

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.
posted by dhruva on Sep 4, 2005 - 18 comments

Turn on the languagehat signal

Language Corner by Columbia Journalism Review, is incredibly helpful when it comes to learning the English language's subtle nuances and rather obvious rules.
posted by riffola on Aug 29, 2005 - 20 comments

Portrait of English

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)
posted by jikel_morten on Aug 14, 2005 - 30 comments

The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey

The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 4, 2005 - 47 comments

Wiki site for English idioms, words

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...
posted by Fozzie on Jun 20, 2005 - 31 comments

"Devoid of content" -- and loving it.

According to Stanley Fish, "Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are." The solution: make them invent their own language. After a generation that privileged content to the exclusion of form, is the pendulum swinging back the other way?
posted by myl on May 31, 2005 - 134 comments

Imprisonment of Unlicensed English teachers in South Korea

Stories from a prison in South Korea, told by an English teacher imprisoned for teaching without a license. Punishment: deportation. But if a prisoner can't collect wages due, then the prisoner can't buy a plane ticket and stays jailed, where the prisoner can't make money, until such time as the prisoner can afford a plane ticket, ad infinitum. Part one. "The massive Mongolian sings beautifully. A sad falsetto—I imagine it to be about missing a faraway homeland of vast, green pastures, endless fertile grasslands, deserts and broad skies." Part two. "He should really go to a hospital outside of the detention center, but…he would have to pay for any medical treatment outside.…If he spends any money on medical bills he would have less money for buying his airplane ticket home. So he must go untreated."
posted by Mo Nickels on May 18, 2005 - 16 comments

Learn Brit-Speak

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
posted by quiet on May 7, 2005 - 81 comments

What do people eat with maple syrup?

Learning English with the CBC. Learn about Canadian history and improve your English skills with a series of audio and video clips, as well as quizzes and exercises. Topics include Terry Fox: A Marathon of Hope, Arctic Winter Games: The Olympics of the North, and Maple Syrup: A Taste of Canada, among others.
posted by livii on Apr 25, 2005 - 9 comments

Warning: James Joyce may cause system crash

A tool that turns English into computer code? Maybe someday. Metafor is a code visualizer from researchers at MIT which produces non-executable (but meaningfully-structured) code out of natural language. Here is a quicktime demonstration of what it looks like in action. Here's the paper as a PDF.
posted by Hildago on Mar 25, 2005 - 26 comments

Dialecty goodness

Do you speak American? The companion website to a PBS series, full of interactive language and dialect tools. You can map your attitudes about regional correctness, guess the speaker's home, learn about American varieties, track the history of certain words, hear samples of regional dialects, and more.
Further reading: Dialect Map of American English [image], Slanguage's local terms, and this collection of local phrases.
Previously on MetaFilter: The Dialect Survey (and results), The Speech Accent Archive, Pop vs. Soda.
posted by stopgap on Jan 20, 2005 - 13 comments

Online Etymology Dictionary

Ever wondered why they use K to record a baseball strike? How about the origin of eavesdrop? What about vamping on a piano? All this and more at the Online Etymology Dictionary.
posted by xmutex on Dec 9, 2004 - 18 comments

A Mother for Your Mind

The British Council polls non-English speakers for the seventy most beautiful English words. Mother comes out on top (as ever), with lullaby, oi (my favourite), and — bizarrely — hen night also appearing. I much prefer the examples of Wilfred Funk (and others): dawn, chalice and gossamer, for instance [source origin]. Beautiful words can be combined to form beautiful phrases and sometimes more. German words are also beautiful; habseligkeiten (meaning property), and such. Words can also be curious, people have observed; but also be truly awful, as a quick search of the phrases "global experience" and "leading edge" will attest.
posted by nthdegx on Nov 25, 2004 - 58 comments

English to English

The Internet's Most Accurate English-to-English Dictionary This internet service will translate any English word, phrase or passage into English, or vice versa. Your original grammar, style, and spelling are left intact!
posted by adampsyche on Sep 29, 2004 - 21 comments

Gleemail

Grind. Endless drudgery. Too much in your in-tray, not enough in your out-tray. You put your headphones on, but it doesn't really help. You want a distraction - just for a moment or two. "A happy employee is a productive employee" you justify to yourself, although you're not convinced. Then it happens. A 24 carat nugget of plain text escapism lands in your in-box. You're an alt-tab, double-click away from sheer bliss. DNRC; A.Word.A.Day; FlipFlopFlyin Newsletter; The Plain Text Gazette; and the previously mentioned Snowmail and Newsnight Newsletters, which take a less formal but equally sharp look at the day's news, with anecdotes and observations thrown in. What other quality plain text mail lists are around?
posted by nthdegx on Sep 29, 2004 - 6 comments

'In the penthouse of the Ivory Tower'

' "Oh, you're going to the MLA? What a riot. They're a bunch of sitting ducks." I hadn't been planning to shoot at them, I said'. Lewis Kraus attends the 119th Annual MLA Conference, and asks what it means to be an English professor after the 'crisis of the humanities'.
posted by Sonny Jim on Aug 23, 2004 - 10 comments

DO - YOU - SPEAK - ENG-LISH...

It's our language, not yours. So, you were born in an English-speaking country founded by the English, speak English, have a degree in English, write and publish in English, have lived in England for years, and would like to become an English citizen? Sorry, you failed our English test to determine whether you have workable English, so you can't be English.
posted by rory on Aug 19, 2004 - 38 comments

Read Me, Love Me!!

WordNet: "an online lexical reference system whose design is inspired by current psycholinguistic theories of human lexical memory. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, each representing one underlying lexical concept. Different relations link the synonym sets." What does one do with WordNet?
posted by archimago on Aug 9, 2004 - 16 comments

About English schools

A guide to the English school system. From the BBC. This certainly explained a few things for me. (And remember, private school = public school)
posted by iffley on Jul 29, 2004 - 7 comments

a simple encyclopedia

Simple English Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia with simple words and grammar.
posted by reklaw on Apr 30, 2004 - 4 comments

OED new words

F-word now a word, as well as : twelve-incher, sheepshagger, and old man of the woods! The newest real English words now in the OED.
posted by mfoight on Mar 22, 2004 - 10 comments

100 Most Mispronounced Words

100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English.
posted by hama7 on Mar 20, 2004 - 83 comments

Framley Museum

Framley Museum. 'The museum was founded in 1882 when objects of local interest began to gather in the field where the museum now stands, due to the natural action of the wind and rain. '
'In 1886, visionary Whoft philanthropist, Manimal MacCorkindale proposed building some walls around the objects, forming Framley's first museum. A door fitted in 1932 cemented the museum's popularity.'
Courtesy of the mighty Framley Examiner.
posted by plep on Dec 3, 2003 - 9 comments

Speak Proper!

mumbo jumbo... BBC journalist John Humphrys bemoans the abuses suffered by the English language. At the risk of becoming a Grumpy Old Man before my time I can't help but agree with him, in particular about the Management Speak. I recently came across the verb "to hero" which set my teeth on edge. And just what the hell does "to leverage" mean?
posted by jontyjago on Oct 20, 2003 - 73 comments

Being English

Forget British. Define English. The perennial ex-pat and honorary Yank Christopher Hitchens may not be the best Englishman to define it - though his embarrassingly reactionary brother Peter is even less suited - but at least he has a go. For everyone else in the world, there are the Scottish, the Welsh, even the Northern Irish - all strong nationalities in their own right, each one older and more culturally solid than the slightly French, slightly German and slightly Dutch English. So why persist, in this post-imperialist day and age, in the myth of the Brit? If it is a myth. Americans, whether from the U.S. or Canada, certainly continue to buy into it. Or is it, for the rest of the world, too dangerous for the English - with devolution raging - to find their own, muddied identity? Think of those football hooligans and their grotesque politics, St.George face-masks and flags. (Via Arts And Letters Daily.)
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 17, 2003 - 40 comments

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