Monthly Archives: March 2008

Word of the day – nomophobia

Today’s word, nomophobia, is a recent coinage that means the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. It’s a contraction of “no moblie phobia”. Something like half the mobile phone users in the UK might suffer from this condition, according to a recent survey undertaken by the Post Office. A lot people apparently feel […]

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Language quiz

Here’s a recording of part of a news report in a mystery language. Any ideas which language it is and where it’s spoken?

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Dental fricatives

Continuing yesterday’s theme of sounds that can be challenging to pronounce, today we look at the voiceless dental fricative /θ/. This sound is usually written th in English and appears in such words as three [θriː], thought [θɔːt] and thin [θɪn]. In the Spanish of Spain it’s written c (when followed by i or e), […]

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Alveolar trills

One aspect of Spanish pronunciation that can be tricky to master is the trilled or rolled r, which is also known as an alveolar trill /r/. This sound is also used in Italian and many other languages. Some people seem convinced that if you can’t already make this sound, it’s impossible to learn. If you […]

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Foreign songs

Recently while looking for songs in various languages I came across the following sites: Spanish Songs Translations – a blog featuring songs in Spanish from Spain and Latin America with English translations. There are also videos of the songs being sung. Russian songs – a collection of traditional Russian, Cossack and Ukrainian songs with videos […]

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Name the language

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it is?

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City languages

There are few cities in Europe where minority languages are used as the main language. Instead they’re spoken mainly in rural areas where jobs can be hard to find, so it’s not uncommon for speakers of such languages to move to cities for work. Not all of them will continue speaking their languages and they […]

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Mutual intelligibility of languages

If you’ve ever wondered just how much mutual intelligibility there between different languages, the sites I came across today will go some way to satisfying your curiosity. One site is a Wikipedia page which discusses the degree of mutual intelligibility between a wide range of languages for quite a few different language families. It divides […]

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Talking Taiwanese

Talking Taiwanese is the name of an interesting blog I came across today. It’s written by a linguist originally from Belgium who currently teaches English in a university in southern Taiwan, and discusses the Taiwanese language and language education in Taiwan. The most recent post discusses the current state of the Taiwanese language and suggests […]

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Language Evolution

Yesterday I finished reading Language Evolution by Morten H. Christiansen and Simon Kirby. The book contains 17 chapters written by scholars from a range of fields, including archaeology, biology, cognitive science, linguistics, neuroscience and psychology, and discusses the latest theories and current controversies in the field of language origins and evolution. It’s very interesting and […]

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