Beyond Words - Language Blog

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The word for liver in Spanish is always “hígado.” It’s comforting to go into an interpreting scenario with a head full of medical vocabulary in two languages. After a few months of working at a hospital, I started to memorize the predictable questions that are asked when a person comes […]

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I worked as a medical interpreter at a level one trauma hospital for three years. In the beginning, the work felt frenetic and gratifying and new every day. But after a year or so, I started to feel anxious and less fulfilled by my work. I found myself one day […]

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In 1990, the U.S. Department of Education embarked on a mission to fund the nation’s most promising foreign language institutions.  Known as Title VI Language Resource Centers (LRCs), these groups are housed within universities across the nation and share the aim of developing resources and opportunities for teachers, instructors, and […]

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While ad hoc versions of sign language have existed throughout the course of human civilization, it was not until the 17th century that the Western world saw a systematic study of the teaching and learning of sign language.  In 1620, a Spanish priest by the name of Juan Pablo Bonet […]

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Read on to find out the fascinating and unexpected etymologies of ten of our country’s largest cities. Albuquerque: Named for its founder, Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva, Duke of Albuquerque, the original word is derived from the Latin albus, meaning “white”, and quercus, meaning “oak.” Atlanta:          Having undergone numerous name-changes […]

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Despite all the technological advances of the computer age, sometimes it’s most convenient to fall back on old practices. Palatography – demonstrated here my good friend in the video – is not an art form but a method of scientific inquiry. Linguists researching articulatory phonetics – how we physically make sounds […]

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When the Eurozone was forged in 1999, it brought with it the promise of more mobility, cooperation, and comradery in Europe. The global economic downturn that followed shortly after generated a sense of urgency, especially among young people, to seek employment outside of their home countries. Spain – one of […]

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Scientific investigation is a slow process. Rarely are long-established ideas smashed with one individual research paper that causes everyone to turn their heads. The study of sound symbolism (also called phonosemantics) follows suit. One of the founding principles of modern linguistics, as put forward by Saussure, is the idea that […]

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What if I was to tell you that Mandarin is far from alone in being a tonal language? What if I was to tell you that, in fact, most of the world’s languages are tonal, including some entire language families? I suspect you’d either be surprised, confused as to what […]

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Continued improvements in machine translation technology have made a big splash in the news lately. The launch of Skype Translator in 2015, as well as the advent of wearable devices for sign language interpretation, are indicative of an exciting new age in global communication. Some people may think that machines […]

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