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Animal training

Rachel Premack, "Watch: This orangutan is uprooting what we previously knew about language", Washington Post 7/28/2016: At first glance, this video of an orangutan imitating a trainer’s grunts may not seem incredibly significant. But...Show More Summary


One of Donald Trump's characteristic rhetorical devices is praeteritio ("passing over"), where the speaker says something by saying they're not going to say it. An especially nice specimen came up in a rally in Iowa on Thursday: Your browser does not support the audio element. So should I hit these people? No I won't. But […]

Clinton's New Trash-talk Line Is the Perfect Weapon Against Trump

All summer long, commentators have been describing Donald Trump’s campaign as a dumpster fire, but there’s a new garbage-related metaphor igniting on the trail: trash-talk. In his debut speech at a Miami rally over the weekend, Clinton’s...Show More Summary

What Should We Call Bill Clinton If Hillary Is Elected?

What should we call Bill Clinton if Hillary is elected? First gentleman First gent First husband First dude First mate First consort First laddie Adam First Bubba First lord (FLOTUS) First man to be married to a president of the USA Adjacent...Show More Summary

Why “Change-Maker” Is Such an Effective Slogan for Hillary Clinton

In an ambling love letter of a convention speech on Tuesday, Bill Clinton summoned all of his ramshackle charm and warmth to build a case for his wife Hillary, who is running for president. The Southern raconteur poured on the folksiness. Show More Summary

The Egalitarian Appreciation of Strine in Microcosm

[This is a guest post by Matthew Robertson] The 'Today' Interview With Oporto Robbery Heroes In the United States, regional accents often carry with them negative stereotypes about class, status, intelligence, and more, making Southern versus Northern accents markers of division. In Australia, it's largely the opposite. Regional vernacular and a broad accent (known as […]

G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)

Q: I can’t find to whom the appellation “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Time) was first applied: Michael Jordon, Muhammad Ali, etc. I’d like to learn it was Vin Scully, whose retirement this year after his last broadcast, in late September, will be a BIG deal. Can you figure it out? A: The word “goat” has... ? Read More: G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)

10 Simple Games and Exercises to Practise Your Vietnamese Skills

In the summer of 2015, a Vietnamese production company asked me if I would be the main character on a new TV show. My own TV show? This was a dream come true! The show’s name is “Funny English Class”, or “L?p Ti?ng Anh Vui V?". It’s show aimed at children ages 4-8. Show More Summary

How “Show Me the Receipts” Became a Catchphrase for Holding the Powerful Accountable

There are two types of receipt: The receipt you have and the receipt you don’t. They complement each other—supply and demand, triumph and challenge, “I’m here with the receipts” and “Really? Show me the receipts.” We aren’t talking about translucent little slips of paper itemizing expenditures. Show More Summary

Where Does “Your Word Is Your Bond” Come From and Why Did Melania Steal It?

When Melania Trump graced the podium in Cleveland on Monday night, she delivered lines that sounded eerily reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s address eight years before. Among those lines: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. Show More Summary

Suspicious null objects in the news

Below is a guest post by Jason Merchant. There is an interesting grammatical point in an article in today's New York Times exploring some of the strands of support for Donald Trump, who has repeatedly been endorsed by racists, neo-Nazis, and their fellow travelers. In prior campaigns, such endorsements were typically followed by immediate and […]

Campaign for promoting falls awareness

The Health Promotion Board (B?ojiàn cùjìn jú ?????) of Singapore has launched a campaign to promote awareness of falling.  Here's the poster they circulated in conjunction with the launch: (Source) The poster quickly began to circulate on the internet, with people criticizing the Chinese translation as saying the opposite of what was intended.  (Note that […]

10 Good Reasons to Learn French

When I was thirteen years old, I finally graduated from the “kids’” table at my family outings. This was a huge deal to me. I was so excited for the privilege of sitting next to my cool, older cousins at dinner. Things were going great, until one night when it came time to order dessert. Show More Summary

She calls herself Angelababy

That's what practically everybody else calls her too. There's a great article by Qian Jinghua in Sixth Tone (Fresh voices from today's China) titled "Call Me Angelababy, Maybe:  Ban on foreign names in Chinese-language press reveals fear of cultural fragility." (6/30/16) It's about a phenomenally popular 27-year-old actress, model, and singer whose Chinese name is […]

LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates (2016 edition)

It's election time again! But where have all the LOTE-speaking candidates gone? And why are they hiding? Allie Severin takes a look at the linguistic talents of this year's candidates for the Federal Election. The post LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates (2016 edition) appeared first on Fully (sic).

Private probably

The following two images come from Graham and Kathleen's video diary of a trip to the Daitoku-ji temple complex in Kyoto. The two images occur at 8:21 and 8:29 in the video. Kutsu no machigai ni go-chuui kudasai!! ?????????????? "Be careful not to take the wrong shoes" Kasa wa kasatate ni irete kudasai. Innai shiyoo kinshi ?????????????? ??????? "Please […]

Britannia waives the rules

"'Britannia waives the rules': The EU Brexit in quotes", BBC News 6/28/2016: Martina Anderson, MEP for Irish republican party Sinn Fein Northern Ireland voted to remain part of the EU. The vote could mean major changes to security on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. "If English votes drag us out of the EU […]

Meet some of the world’s most colorful idioms

"Cowness hasn't gone, buffaloness intervened"... and other idioms from around the world, chosen and explained by 47 different TED Translators and illustrated by Masahito Leo Takeuchi.

hokey-cokey, hokey-pokey

Thursday's British referendum on EU membership (let's not talk about the result) has given American readers cause to wonder about the hokey-cokey (thanks for pointing this out, Emma). Americans know the song-dance as the hokey-pokey....Show More Summary

Donald Trump is Really Maybe Dependent on This Verbal Cartwheel   

Donald Trump is not a master of oratory. Within speeches, he meanders. From speech to speech, he repeats himself. Nobody cares. The point of his performances is that you can see him thinking, acting, in real time. You can see the struggle...Show More Summary

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