Posted By P & L Blog

Zorionak, Feliz Navidad, and Bon Nadal are three Christmas greetings from Spain. If you want to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Portuguese, Estonian, Yoruba, and a host of other languages you can learn how  here. Good luck with the pronunciation!

Posted By P & L Blog

Did you know that there used to be 27 letters in the English alphabet? The lost letter is not, in fact, lost at all but the way we use it has changed. Instead of being part of the alphabet, it has joined forces with other punctuation marks.

Can you guess which one it is (hint: it is not @)?

To find the answer, click here.

Posted By P & L Blog

Do you know the top five languages spoken at home in the US excluding English? Numbers one and two make sense to me, but I was surprised to learn that more than 1.3 million people speak French at home.

1. Spanish

2. Chinese

3. Tagalog

4. French

5. Vietnamese

For more fun facts about bilingualism in the US, check out this infographic.

Posted By P & L Blog
My family said soda, but my cousins all called it tonic. They also called milkshakes "frappes" and the chocolate sprinkles we put on ice cream were "jimmies" in Boston. Differences in regional speech still exist in the US and an Ohio States graduate student has done a study on how Twitter can be used to track them. Did you know that Twitter users can be tracked within 300 miles of their location based on how they use language? Read more about how researchers have used Twitter to conduct linguistic research here: quirks-get-examined-on-twitter/

Posted By P & L Blog


By SARAH DiLORENZO, Associated Press


PARIS (AP) — Here's the good news for those who remember struggling through dictation in French class: French spelling has been simplified. Here's the bad news: Few have noticed, and those who have don't like it.

An official body that includes government ministers and a representative of the Academie Francaise, the eminent French language institution, issued a new set of rules to simplify the spellings of many words, either to bring them in line with pronunciation or to eliminate exceptions.

The changes were made in 1990 — but French media are just getting wind of them.

For example, "aout" (August) drops the pointy circumflex accent over the "u''. "Baby-sitter" gets Frenchified into "babysitteur." Bonhomie, which has come into English with that spelling, becomes bonhommie — to reflect its root "homme" (man).

Both the new and old spellings remain acceptable, but the new ones are supposed to be taught in schools, so they will eventually — in theory — replace the old.

The problem? Few people seem to know about them, many are opposed, and most school texts don't use the new spellings. Even the Academie Francaise itself has chosen to include only some of the new spellings at the end of its dictionary — explaining that it would like to wait it out and see which spellings are adopted in general usage before giving its official blessing.

When television stations became aware of the "new" rules last month, they sent reporters out into the streets to test the French. Very few identified the new spellings as the correct ones — they all looked so strange! — though frequent, significant hesitations underscored how difficult even the French find it to spell their own words.

A few weeks later more evidence emerged of the difficulty of French spelling and grammar: a press release from the president's office was littered with mistakes, including a spelling error.

Confusion over the new rules has often been a breeding ground for resistance: On a chat board with a heading "against the new spelling!" the discussion is initially about the rules but quickly turns to lamenting the language of text messages and the loss of all accents in typed writing because of the use of "English" keyboards — both of which are far from being sanctioned by any linguistic body.


Read the rest of the article here.



Recent Entries