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Brad Pitt


Did you every wonder how actors learn the accents they need to use to be convincing in a role?  "Talk This Way: The Man Who Makes Hollywood Sound Right" is a fascinating profile of Tim Monich, a dialect coach who has worked with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio. 

What is a dialect?The New Yorker article has this to say: "The way a person talks is called his or her idiolect.  A collection of idiolects form a dialect, which is an agreement, common to a place, about grammar and vocabulary and certain expressions."  An accent is how we pronounce the words in our dialect.

Were you convinced by Pitt's accent?



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Want to win a free "I'd Rather Be Grammatically Correct" t-shirt from A.Word.A.Day? They'll be selecting one winner every week from readers who have submitted comments. 

AWAD sends an email with a new English word every day from Monday through Friday.  Each week has a theme, like "Words that have changed with time" and "Covering the extremities".  It's a fascinating way to pick up new vocabulary and learn interesting tidbits about English.  The New York Times calls it "the most welcomed, most enduring piece" of daily email.  You can subscribe at


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Black Eyed Peas

"If English Is a Global Language, Who Makes the Rules?" asked if native English-speakers will lose control of the language.  In "Language as a Blunt Tool of the Digital Age", Anand Giridharadsa says not only is that already happening, but the rise of English as the global language has other consequences.

"The English-learning boom in developing nations also corrodes their own languages. Their young increasingly learn enough English to do a global-economy job but not so much as to be articulate in it. Yet many give up on mastering their native languages. They end up, as the Indian writer Pavan Varma has called them, 'linguistic half-castes,' functional in many tongues, without command of any."

You can access the rest of this very interesting article at The New York Times.



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The American Dialect Society. a group that studies the use of English in North America, chose "tweet" as 2009's Word of the Year.  In the Most Creative category, "Dracula sneeze" (sneezing into the crook of your arm thereby covering the bottom of your face) took the top award.   Other winning words were "hike the Appalachian trail" (Most Euphemistic), "Fail!" (Most Useful), and "death panel" (Most Outrageous).

To hear why some words were nominated, click here.




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English words


All languages evolve. Ten years ago we didn't "friend" people, we had friends. We searched, we didn't "Google". Phones were phones, they weren't "smart".

When non-native speakers use English for business and online, they often use the language differently.  Will that eventually influence the way the rest of us use English?

Jack Lynch makes an interesting prediction in his book "The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of 'Proper' English, From Shakespeare to 'South Park'":

"All the signs point to a fundamentally reconfigured world, in which what we now think of as the English-speaking world will eventually lose its effective control of the English language."

Do you think this will happen?



 Image by Darwin Bell under Creative Commons license.



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