Just can’t seem to get enough language talk? Neither can we! Here are 15 blogs from all around the Internet to give you all the wordophile fix you’ll ever need.
1. Fluent in 3 Months
With tips and tricks from “Benny the Irish polyglot,” you’ll be speaking like a native in no time! Here’s an excerpt from his post 6 Easy Ways to Roll Your R.
“I have worked hard on my accents at times, but what strikes me immediately when I start any language (even in my first attempt to utter a phrase) is how natives are so amazed at how I’ve got almost “no English accent”! (Despite clearly being foreign) While there are many factors at play here, I know that the biggest one by far is that I don’t sound like a barking dog like some of my anglophone friends do with their Rs.”
2. How to Learn Spanish
The author of this blog, Andrew, firmly believes you cannot truly understand a culture until you speak their language. This is reflected in such posts as Manners in Spanish – The Basics of Being Polite in Spanish-Speaking Cultures.
“We all have a certain set of manners ingrained in us since birth by our society that we do automatically, things you do to be considered polite (e.g. saying “please” and “thank you” when appropriate, not cutting people off at the exit to a building, not cutting in line, etc.), and Spanish and English speaking cultures share many of those, but there are some they have that we don’t (and vice-versa) and those are what we’re going to focus on today so that you don’t inadvertently offend someone at some point.”
3. Jennie en France
Jennie is one smart cookie from Michigan who currently lives in France. She studies approximately 10,000 languages (that could be a slight exaggeration) and wants to know more. Her blog focuses on a lot of French, but other languages are covered as well. From her post Italian & French in Aosta Valley, Italy:
“For those who love both Italian and French, I recommend a trip to the Aosta Valley of Italy. It is an autonomous region in the northwestern corner of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Both Italian and French are official languages, though the majority of the inhabitants speak Italian as a first language. Valdôtain, a dialect of Franco-Provençal, and a dialect of Walser German are also spoken in certain areas. In main tourist towns, such as Courmayeur and Aosta, French and English are widely spoken as well as some German.”
4. Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog
Dr. Goodword is actually Dr. Robert Beard, developer of the Lexeme-Morpheme-Base Morphology theory of word behavior. Sound complicated? Luckily his blog posts are clear and concise. From Tahrir Square, Cairo:
“Today’s Good Word is pandemonium, brought up by the current pandemonium on Tahrir Square in Cairo. While editing this word, Paul Ogden, my friend and editor in Israel, had these thoughts, which struck me as worthy of being shared. Tahrir means “liberation” in Arabic. It’s related to Hebrew herut “freedom”, the original name of Menachem Begin’s party. Hebrew has another related word shikhrur whose meaning lies somewhere between “independence” and “liberation”.”
5. The Language Blog by K International
If you’re looking for the best stories about language and travels around the world, then you need to follow The Language Blog over at K International. They compare themselves to Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Marty McFly, Frodo, Neo and Anakin Skywalker, so you know you’re in for a good time. From Reading, Writing and Arithmetic All Go Hand in Hand:
“The study looked at a group of “homesigners” in Argentina. These people were born deaf, but were never taught a structured sign language system like American Sign Language or British Sign Language. Instead, they get by with a system of signs of their own devising. Despite this limitation, the homesigners in the Argentinian study were fairly independent, able to hold jobs and use money.”
6. Language Log
Featuring a cast of about a dozen or so, the Language Log blog covers current events like Serene Branson at the Grammy Awards and the ousting of Mubarak in Egypt through the subject of language. From How Mubarak Was Told To Go, In Many Languages:
“In the New York Times Week in Review this weekend, I have a piece looking at the clever linguistic strategies that Egyptian protesters used to tell President Hosni Mubarak that it was time to go. (There’s also a nice slideshow accompanying the article.) Language Log readers will already know about the appearance of “Game Over” in the Cairo protests, as well as the use of Chinese to get the message across, but there were many other creative variations on that theme.”
Metrolingua is less of a focused blog and more the loose ramblings of someone in love with language. You never know what you’ll get! From Kisaragi is Here:
“It’s February, aka 二月 (Nigatsu) in Japanese. But thanks to the Japanese Consulate, I found out via an email that they sent out about Japanese culture that 衣更着 (Kisaragi) is “the old Japanese name for the month of February” and “is a contracted form of kinu sara gi, which means ‘wear still more clothes’.” And since there’s a horrible thundersnow going on right now, I’d say that we definitely have to keep wearing more clothes :o”
8. The Linguist on Language
The Linguist, Steve, has a video and sometimes a written blog about language that covers a wide variety of topics and languages. Some of the more recent ones have been about the nature of language education. From Letting Students Choose What To Read Makes Them Better Students:
“Here is an article that seems to support my point of view on reading. And the more kids read, the better they will do in all subjects. The same should apply to language learning, and I believe does.
From the article:
‘For the past three years, Dr. Ivey has been involved with a project at a Virginia school in which 300 Grade 8 English students were allowed full choice over their reading with few strings or work attached, other than classroom discussions about shared themes and small group conversations if several students had read the same book. The goal was to get every student engaged in reading – the kind that you do in your own free time.'”
All Japan, all the time! Read Tofugu to find out not just about the language of Japan but just how different the culture is from the West. From Valentine’s Day, Japan:
“It seems that at some point someone messed up a translation and ended up telling the Japanese people that Valentine’s Day was an opportunity for women to express their love to men. Because of this, even to this day it’s mostly women giving chocolates to men (don’t worry, men get their turn too, eventually).”
10. Grammar Girl
Everything your inner (or outer) Grammar Nazi loves to gripe about! Come for the pedantry, stay for the conversation and education. From Contractions:
“But why did “ain’t,” a potentially useful contraction that fills the gap where we could use a contraction of “am not,” come to be so disrespected? In Origins of the Specious, Patricia O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman wrote that “ain’t” was first used in place of both “am not” and “are not,” then for “is not,” and later, even for “has not” and “have not.” As O’Conner and Kellerman write: “‘[A]in’t’ claimed to have so many parents that it seemed illegitimate.””
11. Box of Tricks
Need some help learning or teaching? Box of Tricks has you covered with all sorts of advice on how to get the language part of the brain active and ready to go. From Storybird for Modern Foreign Languages:
“Apart from the obvious something different factor – never to be underestimated! – by using the Storybird class account and our Departmental school blog, we ensured that the work the students produced could be shared among the members of the class and peer assessed. This way students were able to see and, importantly, learn from what other pupils had written. If my experience is anything to go by, you’ll soon start seeing weaker pupils being supported by the more able ones while you take a less visible, facilitating role.”
12. Language Hat
Going all the way back to 2002, Language Hat dives deep into the complexities of language. If you ever wanted to know about the Gender of Coffee, here’s where to find out.
“All the deficiencies of the neuter group notwithstanding, at least one word, and a very common one, has almost completed its shift from masculine to neuter; it is the word ко́фе ‘coffee’. Borrowed from English or from Dutch (koffie) in the beginning of the eighteenth century, the word originally had the form ко́фий or ко́фей, which allowed one to identify it as a masculine noun, by analogy with other nouns in -й. The form in -й is commonly found in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century language; SAR (1806-22) lists only the form кофей.”
13. The English Blog
The English Blog is a very handy blog that covers current affairs or other fun links and provides vocabulary lessons contained within. From Cartoon: Royal Stag Party:
“A bachelor party (USA and South Africa), also known as a stag party, stag night orstag do (United States, Canada, UK, Ireland and New Zealand), a bull’s party (South Africa), and a buck’s party or buck’s night (Australia) is a party held for a bachelor shortly before he enters marriage, to make the most of his final opportunity to engage in activities a new partner might not approve of, or merely to spend time with his male friends (who are often in his wedding party afterwards).”
Interesting cultural and language tidbits straight from China! Like Andrew at How to Learn Spanish, John at Sinosplice believes in knowing a culture through its language. From CNY Confusion Ahead (But Also CNY Sexiness):
“Chinese New Year (CNY) is this week, and it’s bound to cause confusion. This is because we’ve basically got three systems for numbering days overlapping, and quite close together:
1. The days of the week are referred to by numbers, starting with Monday (AKA “One-day”), then Tuesday (AKA “Two-day”), etc. In Chinese they’re 星期一、星期二、星期三、星期四、星期五、星期六、星期天.
2. For most of the year, dates are also referred to using the Western system. So starting Tuesday (today), it’s the first (1号). (Which is also Two-day.)
3. Since it’s CNY, everyone switches over to the lunar system for just a week or so. Day one of the lunar month (初一) is Thursday (which is Four-day, and also the third).”
It’s the Magic of Learning! Langwitches is run by Silvia, a World Language teacher, Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist. She covers everything language and education, and sometimes both! From Creating a Techno-Tale in iMovie:
“What is a techno-tale? A techno-tale is a digitally told story. There are many ways to create digital stories. One option is to create an illustrated book-style movie with students telling the story in their own recorded voices. 1. Decide if you will create a collaborative classroom story (each student contributing one page or part to the book) or an individual student story (each student illustrates and records the entire book). 2. Have students illustrate each part of the story. 3. Take pictures or scan in the illustrations. 4. Upload theses images to your computer. Organize them in one folder for convenient access.”
Also don’t miss her video featuring 3rd graders instructing us all on how to create a quality blog comments. And hey, while you’re at it, create a quality comment on this post!