Monthly Archives: February 2019

Irregular English and How It Got That Way

Happy International Mother Language Day! My mother language, or “mother tongue” as we say in the US, is English. This is fitting for a linguist. Not because it is currently a so-called lingua franca, but because it is a very mixed-up and promiscuous language, vulnerable to nearly any language it comes in contact with, mixing its many linguistic influences, sometimes …

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Langjam: Studying Swedish When You Only Have Four Days

  Hej allihopa! This weekend I participated in Sandra Schellhase’s Language Jam social media challenge, in which participants have four days to study a language which they are randomly assigned. I was so happy to get Swedish! I’ve always been a bit of a Scandinavia-phile, and some of my family lives in Sweden too, but I always felt guilty about …

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10 Ways to Improve Your Accent in a Foreign Language

Working on your accent? So am I — in six languages. As a native speaker of English and an adult learner of Spanish, French, Mandarin, Korean, Indonesian, and ASL, I’ve had my fair share of phonetic struggles, from Mandarin tones to that rolled Spanish “r”. But guess what? There are concrete steps you can take to improve your accent, especially …

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