It's easier for tiny tots to pick up a new language than it is for their parents, and a baby with a global vocabulary is sure to impress. Check out these adorable onesies that feature words and phrases in languages other than English — at the very least, they'll inspire conversation!
London is kicking off the Summer Olympics tonight, which means fast-talking British reporters using words like daft, dodgy, slag, and snog. If this is all codswallop to you, brush up on your Brit lingo so you don't end up looking like a prat watching the big event!
Happy Australia Day! To celebrate the holiday in the land Down Under, we've got an Aussie slang quiz that'll help you not sound like a berk in front of your mates. So knock down a schooner and test your Australian lingo skills now!
I've caught the travel bug. But instead of relying on Word Lens or Google Goggles (both awesome apps) for my translation needs in different countries, I've decided to learn a new language. So I was pretty stoked when Rosetta Stone sent me the brand-new Learn Japanese Level 1 ($209) program. I've been wanting to take a trip back since my last excursion, so now is the perfect time to incentivize myself.
The software works with both Mac and PCs, and allows you to work at your own pace while you build basic language skills. An awesome feature that I really appreciate is the MP3 companion so I can freshen up on my skills while I'm commuting, and some delightful games to help me with my recognition. I think it brings a good combination of visual and auditory learning, and I can't wait to complete the program and tell you more about it. Volume 2 is pretty pricey, but hey, learning a new language is good for my brain wrinkles, right?
Got any New Year's resolutions of your own? Post them in the comments!
You know the end of the year is nigh when words of the year are announced. It seems like just about every dictionary has one, but today the Global Language Monitor, an organization that tracks trends in languages, named "spillcam" — the camera that turned into a live feed of the Gulf oil spill — the 2010 Word of the Year.
Nominees (all are in the word bubble above) range from Jersey Shore-inspired "guido" and "guidette" to Sarah Palin-coined "refudiate," but I suspect you have opinions on what word defines 2010. Submit below, and later we'll vote!
Speaking two languages rewires the brain for the better, but only if you speak them fluently. How so? Say you grow up in a bilingual home and constantly switch back and forth, never knowing which language you'll use next. This primes the brain for higher thinking, allowing you to focus on a goal, take actions to achieve it, and ignore distracting information in the process. Over all, it makes you most likely to succeed.
While I have eight years of Spanish on my transcript and am not afraid to make a fool of myself with my best attempt at French, I'd never say I can say speak another language. Would you?
Source: Flickr User sardinista
It's all too obvious when couples dress alike, but talking alike is much more subtle. And if you're lucky, it happens to you.
University of Texas researchers studied the poetry and letters of two famous literary couples — Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning and Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath — to determine that couples matched each other's language when relationships were intense and in sync.
Knowing that language-mirroring reveals the state of a relationship, researchers analyzed couples' language by counting the ways they used pronouns, prepositions, and other words in various sentences. The conclusion? Happy couples talk alike.
I admit, I say it. Not in a pathological, valley-girl way, but in a casual, filler way. Sometimes it's unconscious, a nervous tick, and other times it punctuates a thought and just sounds right. It's easy, it's colloquial, and it's so widespread that I thought nobody cared anymore. After all, this is a language where BFF can make it into the dictionary!
But this week actress Emma Thompson brought "like" back into the negative spotlight when she lamented that teenagers need to avoid saying it around older, authority figures. Does it even have anything to do with youth at this point? Aren't the teenagers who made it mainstream in the early '80s now in their, like, 40s?
There are several grammatically incorrect ways to use like, but that doesn't make them uncommon. It can indicate exaggeration, as I did above ("in their, like, 40s"); be used to introduce a quote ("she was like"); or signify a gesture, facial expression, or sound ("it was like"). But nowhere is it more common than as a filler (as in "um" or "ah" or "like"), and fillers are nothing new.
John Ayto, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang, said fillers are not lazy or sloppy, or a sign of approaching end-times for the English language. "We all use fillers because we can't keep up highly monitored, highly grammatical language all the time," he said. "We all have to pause and think." In fact, Anglo Saxons probably did the same thing.
The reason people like Thompson get so upset with the use of "like" as a filler is because, unlike "um" and "ah," it's an actual word. And if there's one thing word traditionalists don't like, it's when words find breakout success by using themselves in entirely new ways.
I say as long as it's not, like, every other word out of your mouth, you're OK.
There are so many dictionaries, it seems like any combination of letters could call itself a word, find an agent, and be accepted into one. Not a month ago the Oxford English Dictionary added 39 words to its centuries-old collection, and this week the New Oxford American Dictionary released its 2010 words.
Standards seem lower, but not much, for American dictionaries. There were a few crossovers between Oxford English and New Oxford American — bromance, social media, staycation, and vuvuzela — but also surprises all of America's own. They sound more like the Urban Dictionary than words befitting a respected dictionary with such a fine, glossy cover and Windows 95-looking graphics, yet here they are.
- BFF: a girl's best friend
- Gal pal: a female friend
- Hockey mom: a mother who devotes a great deal of time and effort to supporting her children's participation in ice hockey
- Hater: a person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing
- Lipstick lesbian: a lesbian who favors a glamorous, traditionally feminine style
- Tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman's lower back
- Unfriend: to remove from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site
- TTYL: talk to you later