Apps Making Language Barriers a Thing of the Past

By Nora Chan|2018-11-01T10:55:05-04:00June 9th, 2016|

Traveling can be stressful, especially if you visit a place in which the native language does not match your own. But now you can use your phone to translate what you are saying or seeing in real time. In January 2015, Google released a new feature of the Google Translate app, which allows users of iOS and Android devices to speak to the app, which [...]

You Speak Wicked Different: Dialects around the United States

By Kate Carroll|2018-10-26T16:12:06-04:00May 12th, 2016|

When I was six years old, I moved from Massachusetts to Texas. I’ll never forget balking every time I heard some phrase foreign to my New Englander ears. The accent, I was prepared for—I knew my family dropped our r’s, while our new neighbors would likely emphasize them—but the idea of different geographic areas having their own sets of words was entirely new [...]

An Extinct Language Reimagined

By Arige Shrouf|2019-03-19T10:40:35-04:00April 21st, 2016|

During my junior year of college I took a course on the history of the English language in which I was one of about five students. When we got to the lesson on phonology, we spent over an hour saying different words and trying to decipher their origins based on how we said them. Since there were only a few of us, we [...]

All the World’s a Stage: Shakespeare’s Plays in Different Languages

By Nora Chan|2018-10-26T15:01:21-04:00March 17th, 2016|

Last semester I completed an introductory course to Shakespeare’s plays, and I remember struggling with the language, hating that the relationships between the characters were even more complicated than the plot of the film Inception and laughing at the famous stage direction from The Winter’s Tale that read “Exit, pursued by a bear.” But it is the variety of reactions and emotions in the audience that make [...]

Words about Words: A Love List for Linguists

By Kate Carroll|2018-12-04T14:42:36-05:00February 9th, 2016|

After a lively discussion in the office about how the sounds of certain words make us cringe (moist anyone?) and others are music to our ears (my personal favorite: tabernacle; other office suggestions: mellifluous, resplendent and epiphany), I decided to investigate more examples. In doing so, I hit the jackpot: a word about words! As a language lover, I’ve always delighted in discovering new terms. But there’s something extra [...]

There’s an App for That: ESL Edition

By Maria Dipasquale|2018-11-02T13:26:34-04:00July 2nd, 2015|

Globally, nonnative English speakers now outnumber native English speakers 3 to 1. English has become a global language, leading to more nonnative speakers learning English as a second language (ESL). Teachers are turning to apps, both mobile and on the web, to engage this new generation of English language learners (ELLs). Apps can satisfy all kinds of learning needs, sometimes in ways that a classroom [...]

OMG, What’s Happening to English?

By Shalen Lowell|2018-11-02T13:52:47-04:00April 30th, 2015|

If I said “LOL,” “OMG” or “BRB,” you’d know what I meant, right? How about “IYKWIM”? Throughout the history of the English language, people have worried about the language changing and adapting. Paranoia began as early as the Norman Conquest of 1066, when William the Conqueror introduced Norman French into the language used by those in powerful positions in England. Ever since then, English has [...]

Don’t Miss the Signs: Regional Accents in Sign Language

By Maria Dipasquale|2018-11-02T14:29:23-04:00March 31st, 2015|

The first time I met my friend Ashley, we were playing a game in our speech communication class in which we assumed information about one another based on how we spoke. I figured out that Ashley, a native Arkansan, was from the South, and she could tell that I, a New Jersey native, was from the Northeast. If two deaf signers played the [...]

Why Learning a Second Language Should Start Young

By Dakota Damschroder|2018-11-02T14:51:54-04:00March 19th, 2015|

J’ai étudié le français depuis six ans. Did I say that right? Before coming to college, I took six years of French—and I have since forgotten nearly all of it. Most of the students in my high school didn’t even get that far, though. Foreign languages were only offered—not required—in middle school, and there was only a two-year arts graduation requirement in high [...]

Coming Out of Our Ears: OED’s Words of 2015

By Shalen Lowell|2018-10-26T12:15:07-04:00January 9th, 2015|

When I say dictionary, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of the stuffy, outdated tomes pushed into the back corners of a bookshelf in the local library. But did you know that dictionaries are constantly changing, adapting, and adding new words and phrases to their vast word lists? The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is one such publication. The OED makes regular quarterly updates to its dictionaries, [...]

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