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The Festival are clear

One of the rare syntactic dialect differences between British and American English (there really aren't many) concerns verb agreement in present-tense clauses: British English strongly favors plural agreement with any singular subject noun phrase that denotes a collectivity of individuals rather than a unitary individual. Show More Summary

Prix fixe or prefix menu?

Q: A “prefix” menu? I’ve been seeing a lot of this. Since “prix fixe” is so pretentious, I’m inclined to let them get away with it, especially now that England has severed ties with Europe. It’s an opportunity to de-Francify the lingo. Nu? A: In English, as you know, “prix fixe” refers to a fixed-price... ? Read More: Prix fixe or prefix menu?

Modal logic of traffic signs

Sent in by Michael Robinson: I saw this traffic sign in Toledo, Ohio. Luckily I wasn't driving a truck, or I would have had not idea what I was allowed to do. Since we were in a car, we figured U-turns must be OK. Because we were heading to a place that sold coffee, and […]

The Weird Case of the Uzbek Language.

Akhilesh Pillalamarri has a compact summary at The Diplomat of a messy historico-linguistic situation: A case in point is the “Uzbek” language. This language is a modern continuation of the literary and prestige Turkic language of Central Asia, which was known as Turki, or Chagatai. Chagatai was a member of the southeastern, Karluk branch of […]

Bilingual Spanish-Chinese street signs

Germán Renedo recently noticed that the government has installed bilingual street signs in the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where Chinatown is located. The signs transcribe the sounds of the Spanish words rather than translate their meanings. For instance, Arribeños ("those who came from the highlands and live on the coast"): ?l?bèini?s? ji? ?????? (ji? […]

Ask Language Log: why is "inch" a family relationship in Korean?

Katie Odhner asks: I have lately been teaching myself Korean and have become quite interested in Sino-Korean vocabulary. Recently two words in particular caught my attention: samchon ?? ("paternal uncle"), from Chinese s ?n cùn ?? ("three inches"), and sachon ?? ("cousin"), from Chinese sì cùn ?? ("four inches"). I wondered how "three inches" and "four inches" could […]

The Female Brain movie

Silas Lesnick, "An ensemble cast has come together for Whitney Cummings’ The Female Brain movie", 8/17/2016: Black Bicycle Entertainment has today announced the ensemble cast for their upcoming The Female Brain movie, which marks the directorial debut of Whitney Cummings. Cummings herself will also star in the film, which she co-wrote alongside Neal Brennan, […]

This is Without a Doubt the Most Difficult Language to Learn

  If I had a dollar for every time someone started gabbing about what the easiest or most difficult language to learn is I’d be a regular Scrooge McDuck. Typically I’d tell you that there is no hardest […] The post This is Without a Doubt the Most Difficult Language to Learn appeared first on Languages Around the Globe.

The Cult of the Polyglot

by Marta Krzeminska Polyglot—when was the first time you heard this word? My first time was in 2013 when I was lucky to attend TEDx Warsaw, and see Benny Lewis’ talk on hacking language learning. That’s […] The post The Cult of the Polyglot appeared first on Languages Around the Globe.

Heart residue

Stuart Luppescu writes: I recently ate at a yakiniku ?? ("grilled meat") place in Kyoto that serves only chicken and pork — rather atypical. One menu item was kokoronokori ???. I asked the server what that was, and was told it was the flesh, blood vessels, and fat around the heart that is left over when […]

Quashing Qualifiers.

One thing that annoys me in my work as an editor of (primarily academic) books is the propensity of academics to insert qualifiers that have no apparent function but to weaken prose; I assume they arise from a primal “cover your ass” instinct, and I delete them unless they seem justified. I’ve just run across […]

Universal journalistic clichés?

Tank McNamara for 8/8/2016: There are certainly plenty of examples in the English-language news, some literal but most figurative. And French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Dutch are not far behind. Are there any languages where (the...Show More Summary

17 of the Best Resources for Learning Slovene

  There are many languages out there that are nothing short of a pain in the ass when it comes to finding learning tools and resources for and Slovene is just one such example. Recently, […] The post 17 of the Best Resources for Learning Slovene appeared first on Languages Around the Globe.

Language is messy, part 2: Arabic script in "Arrival"

A few days ago I posted the trailer for the forthcoming science-fiction movie "Arrival," based on Ted Chiang's linguistically rich tale of alien contact, "Story of Your Life." While most commenters have wondered how well Chiang's xenolinguistics will translate to the big screen, a couple of eagle-eyed observers noted something worrying in the trailer: incredibly […]

It’s Hot Out. But Is It “Hot as Balls”?

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. We’ve had yet another month of record-breaking temperatures—and a corresponding spike in Google searches for hot as balls, a phrase that’s gotten popular as balls (mostly in the U.S.) in the past 10 years or so. Show More Summary

Unpermitted erections

Yesterday morning at 8:00 a.m. local time, in five cities around the U.S., the anarchist collective INDECLINE erected five copies of a nude polychrome statue of Donald Trump. The New York City copy went up in Union Square, but was removed after about two hours by the Parks Department, whose spokesman Sam Biederman explained that "NYC […]

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