English Language Learning

Why Do We Say “O.K.”? I’m Glad You Asked

Language is socially constructed. The phrase O.K. originated in Boston in the 19th century as a way to say “all…

Let Joey Tribbiani Teach You a Little Something about Language and Learning

My family was away recently, which meant: Friends binge-watching! I’m neither proud nor ashamed, just uncharacteristically content. As I’ve shared…

The Etymology of “Lit” is Lit

Lovers of quirky wordy things prepare to spend the next three minutes reading Merriam-Webster’s brief summary of the etymology of…

Colbert’s Warning About the Dangers of Texting

It is easy for parents and teachers to feel uncomfortable with the ubiquity of cell phones in children’s lives.  In…

Harry Potter Teaches Us How Meaning is Socially Constructed

It’s a great clip to use for exploring how meaning is socially constructed. From Harry Potter and the Chamber of…

Is Texting the Future or Downfall of Writing in Schools?

Leave it to a linguist like Columbia University’s John McWhorter to challenge popular fears that texting marks the end of language…

An Opera Singer Shares His Secret to Learning Languages

So much of learning and teaching occurs through language. The more we understand the contours of languages–not just traditional languages…

Forget What You Know About “Correct” English. It Never Really Existed. Here’s Why.

Imagine for a moment that what you think you know about things like grammar and correctness of language is actually…

To Think Differently, Try Speaking Differently

Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but words are worth a hundred billion neurons. In this excellent talk, cognitive…

When a Sociolinguist Eavesdrops on a Bus and Gives a Ted Talk

Learning a language is not purely cognitive. Most people can’t just memorize vocabulary and rules of grammar and speak a…

Literacy and Orality Nerds, There’s a Walter Ong Lecture Online

Walter Ong’s work on literacy and orality marked, for me, a turning point in my professional life. I’ve since come…

Why is English So Damn Hard to Learn? There are 3 Secrets to It.

English is really hard to learn. As the number of students who require support learning English continues to increase throughout…

Language Evolved To Ensure Human Beings Cooperated, And We Might Be Screwed

Watch biologist Mark Pagel explain why humans’ capacity for “cumulative cultural adaptation” or social learning is what makes us so…

What’s Your Capacity for Language? See What Chomsky Thinks.

I have re-watched this several times, always intrigued by Chomsky’s notion that what happens internally (within the mind) when one…

Babies Are Like Little Linguistic Statisticians

A thoroughly intriguing talk about the ways babies learn language. Researcher Patricia Kuhl suggests that babies keep track of sounds…

The Strange Tale of Merriam-Webster’s Ghost Word

Merriam-Webster is redefining the role of the dictionary in the 21st century. If you don’t follow them on Twitter, I…
Close
Close