Showing posts from July, 2014

What is the origin of the word feminist?

The feminists (excuse this neologism) say .... all the evil rises from the fact that we will not allow that woman is the equal of man.   Alexandre Dumas (fils) 1873 The author of The Three Musketeers  is credited with coining the word in French, with a translation of his work by G Vandenhoff introducing the English version. Interestingly, Dumas was not a sympathiser with the emerging campaign for women's rights. Even by the standards of his time he had a particularly patrician view of life "as a battle between the woman and the man."   He was very censorius about prostitution, for example, blaming the prevalence of prostitutes in Paris for the fall of the city to the Prussians in 1870. This did not prevent him from calling on their services from time to time - presumably in the interests of research

What will the English of the future look like??

English is currently the world's dominant language - the lingua franca of science, medicine, technology and many other areas. A present there are here is no obvious threat to English on the near horizon.  But a recent article in The Economist suggests that while English may remain dominant, it is likely to evolve along Globish lines to suit the majority of non-native (L2) speakers Interestingly, about two-thirds of English-speakers are not first-language speakers of English .... Shaped by the mouths of billions of non-native speakers, what will the English of the future look like? A look into the past can give us an idea. English is of course not the first language learned by lots of non-natives. When languages spread, they also change. And it turns out, they do so in specific directions. For example, a 2010  study  by Gary Lupyan and Rick Dale found that bigger languages are simpler. In more precise terms, languages with many speakers and many neighbours have simpler sy

Do the languages we speak shape the way we think?

The Tower of Babel' by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1563 Do they merely express thoughts, or do the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express? Stanford psychology professor  Lera Boroditsky makes has some surprising observations about the relationship between language and thought. How do we come to be the way we are? Why do we think the way we do? An important part of the answer, it turns out, is in the languages we speak.  Full text here Language & Thought: Chicken & Egg English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack     -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0