The World - The World in Words
Time to re-translate the Brothers' Grimm: practice makes...09/15/14
In his retelling of Grimms' fairy tales Adam Gidwitz returns to the blood and gore of the original, while adding his own comments that have a distinctly contemporary flavor.
Parliamentary-style debates are becoming popular in China
Some topics are off limits, but debate contests are part of an effort to instill independent thinking in young Chinese.
A University of Kansas linguist is risking the ire of Russia in helping...
The Kazakh language uses the Cyrillic script, but Dutch-born linguist Allard Jongman is helping this oil-rich former Soviet state switch to the Latin Alphabet.
The linguistic curiosities of dating online
Despite her better judgment, New York-based Russian writer Anya Ulinich uses the web to seek out potential mates. She finds it all but impossible to interpret the profiles of American men, and they don't understand her any better.
Language tensions in Modi's India
Hindi and Urdu are similar when spoken, but they use different scripts. Over time, they have become cultural and religious symbols. Plus, the People's Linguistic Survey of India.
John Smith, Pocahontas, and the beginnings of American English
How long does it take for a new variety of a language to evolve once somebody lands in a particular part of the world?
How English nearly got a language academy
Back in the 17th century there was a big move to create rules for English, based on Latin. The man behind it, poet John Dryden, thought that Shakespeare and others had turned English into an unruly mess. Had Dryden succeeded, would his academy have...
Shakespeare's word coinages are just the start of his contribution to...
Shakespeare may not have invented as many words as once thought, but he turned the English language on its head. Perhaps that's the reason that both he and English have such global appeal.
From its beginnings to the present day, English has been a hodgepodge
Despite what grammar sticklers think, there was never a golden age of pure English: the language always been an unruly mishmash of other languages. Just consult the Venerable Bede, a 7th century monk who documented the beginnings of English.
What's the point of learning Russian?
During the Cold War, you could get a job at the Pentagon or State Department job if you spoke Russian. Today you're guaranteed nothing more than the agony of grappling with Russian grammar. Still, there are signs that a few Americans are taking the...
A "lexicon" of chimp gestures may tell us things about our own language
Researchers at the University of St. Andrews have compiled a list of 66 gestures that that they say chimpanzees use to communicate with each other.
How to sound simultaneously English and Spanish at the World Cup
Native Spanish speaker Fernando Palomo does English language TV commentary for ESPN. He offers US viewers instant analysis that draws on his soccer-obsessed Latin American background.
Comedian and former mayor of Reykjavik Jón Gnarr on language, satire...
The man Lady Gaga called the "mayor of Iceland" is obsessed by language: the language of professional politicians, the Icelandic language and the restrictive rules in Iceland that prevent him from officially changing his name.
How FIFA overcame soccer's language barrier
In a World Cup match in 1966, a German referee sent off an Argentine player. The player, who spoke only Spanish, says he didn't understand and refused to leave the field. Plus, Canada has its own racism controversy over the name of a sports team.
A history of Hebrew, told one word at a time
Before it became the predominant language of Israel, Hebrew hadn't been spoken for 1,700 years. That's presenting a challenge for the editors of the Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Also, Azerbaijan's war on Russian names.
Words and phrases that only make sense at the World Cup
What do 'handbags,' 'ringlets' and 'drogbacité' mean in a soccer context?
What happens when the doctor says 'hospice' and you understand...
Many words sound similar in English and Spanish: car, carro; fruit, fruta. But watch out: 'hospice' and 'hospicio' do not mean the same thing.
Russian leaders have tinkered with their alphabet for centuries, but...
From Peter the Great to Stalin, Russian leaders have issued edicts to reform the Russian language. But top-down language reform rarely works. And it may fail again now.
In Ukraine, the insults in both languages draw on sensitive historical...
Listen closely to the slurs being slung back and forth between pro-Russian separatists and pro-government Ukrainians, and you can hear the echoes of history.
At cocktail hour, would you prefer 'The Bitter Taste of Calm' or 'Seven...
Multilingual mixologist Joaquin Simo is steeped in cocktail culture. For his concoctions, the names are borrowed from foreign languages, overheard phrases and racehorses.
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