Languages Articles

Love and Linguistics I

January 25, 2016 9:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Love and Linguistics I & II are blog posts about me and my work. At the same time I’m hoping they’ll provide occasions for you to think through your passions and life career choices. I am often asked two questions: How does it happen that I am both a professional... read more

Speak American

January 18, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Today’s post features guest blogger Philip M. Carter, my co-author on the new book Languages in the World. In a 2015 interview with CNN, former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sara Palin stated that if you are in the United States, you must ‘speak American.’ On the Internet and... read more

Writing Languages in the World Intro to Linguistics Textbook

Languages in the World: Writing the Book

January 7, 2016 9:05 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Languages in the World. How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language began with a simple phone call. In the Fall Semester of 2010, I was in Durham, North Carolina, where I teach at Duke University. Phillip was living in Los Angeles, where he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Linguistics... read more

The Articulate Executive II

October 22, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Note: See The Articulate Executive I  for the source of my title. In my years of teaching, I have always gone early to class to chat with students before the hour begins. I haven’t had difficulty getting conversation going until these past few years. Now when I walk into the... read more

Mongolian Horses

October 1, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In the early thirteenth century Genghis Khan united a variety of Mongolia’s nomadic tribes. Because of the Mongolians’ exceptional skill as horsemen, Genghis Khan was able to conquer many of his neighbors. In 1204 he subdued the Uyghur people in what is now Xinjiang, a western province of China. There... read more

Look There

September 23, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

In Languages in the World we have defined language as an orienting behavior that orients the orientee within his or her cognitive domain. When we think about deep time and the co-evolution of the human brain and language, we speculate that the first linguistic orientation was likely that of orientation:... read more

Eiffel Towers in Vietnam

September 17, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Visitors to Vietnam, if they go to the mountain town of Da Lat or the beach town on Con Dao Island, might be surprised to see what looks to be a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower sprouting from the top of a building in city center. Upon closer inspection,... read more

Austronesian Origin Stories

September 10, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Cover Photo Credit: fr:Utilisateur:FRED, Wikimedia User. Authorized for under this Creative Commons license:  The pre-colonial Polynesians revered a supreme deity who, according to the story, huddled in an egg-shaped shell for countless ages in endless space. After an infinite period of impenetrable darkness, the god hatched himself. Upon beholding a... read more

Melting Snow and Protests at the Top of the World

August 27, 2015 9:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Cover Photo Credit: Antoine Taveneaux. Authorized for reuse under this Creative Commons license. In 2010 government officials in Quinhai Province in western China detained twenty people for participating in protests that consumed the region for several days. The detained were not professional activists, radicals, or members of a well-funded political... read more