Recent Blog Posts

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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You’d think that one of the fundamental questions linguists would have sorted out by know is how many languages there are. I thought that too before I studied to become one. Quantifying languages is much more complicated than it initially sounds, with the result that we can never truly count […]

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Rio de Janeiro’s time in the global spotlight is nearly over. Rio, one of Brazil’s jewels — world heritage site, protected by Christ the Redeemer, so named for its grand river that … wait, what? Yes, its explorers mistook its harbor for a river mouth, and their mistake is now […]

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What happens when you combine lush greenery, a low cost of doing business, and a bevy of targeted tax incentives? You get a booming film industry that made a statewide economic impact of $6 billion in 2015, for one. It’s official: Georgia has become the 3rd-largest U.S. state for making […]

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As a linguist I can attest to how rewarding it is to be the first to research a topic, and how ridic fun it is for my barely-concealed inner nerd to describe internet speech and slang with formal terminology. Lauren Spradlin, a graduate student at CUNY, managed to do both […]

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Amid the flurry of activity in the weeks after Brexit, with markets panicking and the major UK political parties facing monumental power changes, it was surprising and refreshing to see a translation and interpretation topic rise briefly to the top of the news cycle. Media outlets all over were wondering: […]

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From the Tower of Babel to the Age of the Internet, translators and interpreters have had a seat at the table in every major event in history. And yet, by virtue of the very role they play in enabling other parties to communicate, these language professionals seldom occupy the same […]

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The idea of untranslatability is captivating for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the chance to try on another culture’s way of experiencing the world. As the popular anecdote goes, how does an Eskimo or Inuit look at snow, when there are dozens of words to […]

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In today’s 7 Questions to a Linguist, we hear from a towering figure in the field of linguistics, Dr. William Labov. Labov’s scholarly work over the past 50 years has garnered him the moniker “father of sociolinguistics”, and it is with a rigorous quantitative approach to the study of language […]

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