Michael Erard wonders if all the best band names have been taken: The main driver of the sense that band names are scarcer than they used to be is the central ritual of the naming process itself: typing a name candidate into Google and waiting breathlessly for 100 milliseconds for the verdict. Doing this is [...]
Michael Erard recounts the big role that small donors have played in political campaigns: For Jimmy Carter, 38 percent of his money came in small donations; it was 40 percent of Gerald Ford’s. Amazingly, it was 60 percent for Ronald...
The first thing I didn’t write about quitting Facebook was a status update to my friends saying, I’m quitting Facebook. – Michael Erard, in a 2011 essay on The Morning News on quitting Facebook
The cipher shared by great poets and the best brand namers is essentially that the littlest things mean the most.
Journalist Michael Erard has just published Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners. Now he’s testing readers’ language-spotting abilities with a video contest. Erard assembled a group of friends who agreed to videotape themselves reading from his book. Show More Summary
These days, newly published books often get promoted with video trailers, and there's one that just came out for Michael Erard's Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners. In keeping with the book's theme of hyperpolyglottery, Erard rounded up speakers of different languages to create a multilingual reading of a [...]
What am I, linguistically? I've taken to calling myself a "monolingual with benefits," but I might begin calling myself "postmonolingual." This provocative term ties together a bunch of language phenomena which don't, at first glance, seem connected.
Graeme Wood reviews Michael Erard's Babel No More: Hyperpolyglots argue that what they do is not fluent speaking but instead a sort of mechanical reproduction, a robotic trick rather than a human skill. Hale, an MIT professor who died in...
When God put the kibosh on the Tower of Babel, 72 languages were said to have been created from the one that unified those hubristic humans. In his new book, Babel No More, linguist Michael Erard seeks out the people who have put those pieces back together: hyperpolyglots, i.e., the most fluent mamma-jammas on the [...]
Michael Erard sets out on the trail of hyperpolyglots in Babel No More: The search for the world's most extraordinary language learners
Using geographical visuals to understand the brain.
Apostrophe catastrophe? The U.K. bookseller Waterstones decides to drop its apostrophe. Michael Erard on the limits of living a linguistically limitless life. If you can’t wait for Peter Jackson’s version, watch this rediscovered twelve-minute...Show More Summary
Why would someone learn 20 or 50 languages? Michael Erard meets a hyperpolygot who doesn’t even want to speak the numerous languages he’s learning.
FINALLY back in the full swing of the New Year. With just a little time free today, I offer only a few quick pointers: - My review of Michael Erard's "Babel No More", about people who learn vast numbers of languages, appeared in last week's print edition. Show More Summary
The author writes about the genre you could call the Social Media Exile essay.
Back in 2009 I posted about Michael Erard's Babel No More project ("a book about language superlearners and the upper limits of the human ability to learn and speak languages"); now the book is out (well, it's not actually available until January), and since the publisher sent me a copy of the galleys, I'm able to report on it. Show More Summary
Michael Erard explains why: In the history of oratory and public speaking, the notion that good speaking requires umlessness is actually a fairly recent, and very American, invention. It didn't emerge as a cultural standard until the early 20th century,...
Michael Erard tells of the experience of sharing the physical newspaper with his son.
Michael Erard is still working on Babel No More (website, and see this LH post), and he wrote me to ask, "Do you have examples of the prescriptive linguistic genre (Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Elements of Style, etc.) in languages other...Show More Summary
The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing today on Best Practices In Tax Administration: A Look Across the Globe. Here are the witnesses scheduled to testify: Michael Brostek (Government Accountability Office) Brian Erard (B.E. & Associates, Reston, VA) Michael Gaffney (PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York, NY)