Languages Articles

Writing Op-Eds

September 22, 2017 1:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The op-ed gets its name for being an opinion piece that originally appeared opposite the editorial page. An editorial page editorial is signed by the board, while an opinion piece is signed by an individual. The term is also sometimes thought to be an abbreviation of opinion-editorial.  Athletes before taking... read more

American Sign Language interpreters helping during Hurricane Irma press conferences

American Sign Language

September 13, 2017 9:18 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title image: Florida governor Rick Scott giving updates on Hurricane Irma. Note the sign language interpreter to the left. I’m sitting high and dry in Durham, North Carolina, living in a hotel, feeling a bit like Eloise all the while acknowledging that my hotel ain’t The Plaza. But that’s not... read more

Kazakh Language/ қазақ тілі

July 18, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image is Signs with both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabet abound – very helpful! In Astana I met friend and co-author Phillip Carter. Our first job was to find a Kazak language teacher. It’s what we do, and our linguistic adventures certainly played a part in writing:

Folk Dress and Folk Etymology

June 27, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image: Traditional Romanian dress Last week, a well-known pharmacy in Romania launched a campaign that drew my attention. Farmacia Catena advertised that from June 22 to June 24, if you come into one of their stores wearing a traditional folk blouse, called ie, you will receive a 50% reduction... read more

Two Observations

June 13, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

日 ‘sun’ + 本 ‘origin/tree’ = Japan 日本語= Japanese Language I’m in Japan now. Sure, I can say ohayō gozaimasu ‘good morning’, arigatō gozaimasu ‘thank you very much’ and order basic food items, e.g. I have shōchū  rokku ‘(Japanese) vodka on the rocks,’ down. Beyond that, I make no claims... read more

Geneva: Thoughts on Relative Fame

January 20, 2017 10:22 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

I’m in Geneva to give a talk at a linguistics conference with an Atelier Saussure-Chomsky (atelier = workshop). A good reason such a conference is held in Geneva is because the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) lived and taught here. The American linguist Noam Chomsky is, presumably, included because... read more

Writing Across Languages

October 13, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Ruxie, one of my dear friends in Romania, shares two of my passions: linguistics and romance novels. About a month ago we went out to dinner, and she admitted she had written a Regency romance. Note: a Regency is a novel set in early 19th-century England. Think Jane Austen’s time... read more

Languages in the World: The Textbook

August 15, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

As regular readers of this blog know, my latest academic book Languages of the World. How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language was published by Wiley-Blackwell in January of this year. Co-author Phillip M. Carter teaches at Florida International University in Miami. For professors who are considering adopting the book for their... read more

English and The Case of Romanian

July 1, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In Chapter 12 of Languages in the World we introduce Jean-Louis Calvet’s gravitational model comparing the different “weights” of languages across the world, each language having an attractive power, like stars and planets. The heavier the language, the more likely people are drawn to learn it. The lighter, the less... read more