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BoldVoice wants to help nonnative English speakers find (and flaunt) their voices

When Anada Lakra and Ilya Usorov first moved to the United States, they struggled to find their voices. They both knew and understood English, but when it came time to speak up, their accents became a hurdle. Usorov, for example, watched his Russian-born parents struggle to advocate for themselves, which limited work opportunities. While Lakra, who just started college at Yale University, was constantly asked to repeat herself. “Will I be able to express myself clearly enough? Will I be understo...
Tags: Startups, TC, Y Combinator, New York, Hollywood, Education, India, Tech, United States, Language, English, Edtech, Duolingo, Babbel, Early Stage, Yc


Patience à la russe

Patience is a virtue and also a fascinating word in Russian: терпе́ние. Let’s look at how to use that word and its derivatives in a sentence. Towards the end we will talk about translating the imperative “потерпи́” and a few idiomatic expressions with “терпе́ние”. Image by sipa from Pixabay Терпе́ние — patience It means «выноси́ть страда́ние» (endure suffering) but used to mean «застыва́ть» или «столбене́ть» (to freeze or petrify). Most dictionaries agree that it’s the ability to willingly e...
Tags: Cdc, Culture, Language, Linguistics, Idioms, Vocabulary, Russian life, Ulrike Mai


"She identifies as queer because the word is ambiguous and less-restricting than something like lesbian, which she dismisses as 'too gendered.'"

"She isn’t transgender and doesn’t want to be called 'they' or 'them,' nor does she like the term 'nonbinary,' though she knows it is likely how people see her in her androgynous clothes and beanies and ball caps. 'I think it’s a preference of what words feel comfortable,' she says. 'Why does the word "woman" make me feel uncomfortable, but "girl" always feels fine? Female feels fine. I mean, it’s just like some words I like and feel like me and make me not have to think, because on a normal day...
Tags: Law, Mit, Olympics, Language, Homosexuality, Skateboard, Ann Althouse, Gender Difference, Alexis Sablone


Things That Get Called Russian – Part 2

We continue to discuss what people around the world call Russian, except the Russians themselves. Image by anncapictures from Pixabay Black Russian – Чёрный русский Black Russian is a classic cocktail (коктейль) based on vodka and coffee liqueur. It was created in 1949 by Gustave Tops, a Belgian bartender (бармен). The cocktail recipe is simple: for five parts of vodka (водка), you need to add two parts of coffee liqueur (кофейный ликёр) and ice (лёд). However, there are many variations of...
Tags: Food, China, Russia, Culture, United States, Language, Linguistics, Red Army, Anton Chekhov, Russian Language, Soviet Union, Olivier, Republic of Belarus, Vocabulary, Russian Culture, Russian Vocabulary


Yeet! As society changes, the dictionary gets weirder

The summer update to Dictionary.com added hundreds of new words and definitions.Many of them are in areas related to justice, technology, and COVID-19. The new slang terms will leave more than a few people confused. In any given year, new words are added to the dictionary to reflect how society's use of them has changed, often in response to ongoing events. For Summer 2021, more than 1200 new, improved, and revised definitions were introduced to Dictionary.com , including 231 entirely new words...
Tags: Language, Innovation, Alan Alda, Jim Crow, John Kelly, Steve Kaufmann, George Floyd


Things That Get Called Russian – Part 1

There are some things that are called Russian in the world. But not in Russia. In today’s blog, I will tell you about what is called Russian and why. Nevertheless, not all Russians know it. Image by Isaac Oliva from Pixabay Russian Mountains – Русские горки The interesting fact is that the oldest roller coasters were called “Russian Mountains . “And they really were indeed invented in Russia. It was Russian sledding ( катание на санях ) that became the original idea for roller coas...
Tags: Usa, Russia, Language, Paris, Linguistics, Catherine, Vocabulary, Russian Vocabulary, Russian Roulette, Russian words, learn Russian, Russian Mountains, Russian roller coaster, Isaac Oliva, Pixabay Russian Mountains Русские, St Petersburg Peter


They Might Be Giants’ John Linnell Releases an EP of Songs in Latin

Those who know Latin know Wheelock’s Latin as the time-honored resource for learning the language of the Caesars. They also know how many years of intensive study and practice goes into translating the textbook’s hefty classical passages. Reading Latin is one thing — writing in the language is quite another: something very few people do for any reason, other than a perverse kind of enjoyment that is most definitely a niche affair. What about songwriting in Latin? Professor Wheelock...
Tags: Facebook, Music, College, Language, Mark Twain, Smith, Giants, Duolingo, Henry, Josh Jones, John Linnell, Wheelock, Durham NC Follow, British Labour Party, Linnell, Eddie O'Hara


"Upspeak is not a proud signifier of womanhood. It's not even a harmless quirk. It signifies submission just as clearly as a dog rolling over to display its belly."

"Women and girls use it the same way they use their constant smiles: to appease men, to demonstrate that they represent no challenge to the latter's superior status. If the first LW really wants to fight the patriarchy, she can help her protegee learn to speak in firm, declarative sentences. That's not 'acting like a man.' It's acting like an adult with agency and power." Says a commenter at the NYT, to LW — letter-writer — who mentors a younger woman and wonders whether it would be appropriat...
Tags: Law, Feminism, Language, Speaking, Roxane Gay, Femininity, Ann Althouse


Martin Turpin: ‘Bullshitting is human nature in its honest and naked form’

The cognitive scientist explains the link between intelligence and telling fibs – and why lying is such a common form of communication in fields from art to politicsMartin Turpin is a PhD researcher at the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, who is studying linguistic bullshit. He is the lead author of a recent paper entitled Bullshit Ability As an Honest Signal of Intelligence, which found that people who produce “satisfactory bullshit” are judged to be of h...
Tags: Psychology, Science, Language, Turpin, University of Waterloo Ontario Canada, Martin Turpin, Honest Signal of Intelligence


"Is calling something 'poetic' calling it a 'poem'?"

I find myself retorting to a reader, Nancy, who emailed me to say — in response to my calling something "a sincere effort at poetic polemic" — "Polemic, yes, but who would call that a poem?" At the link there's video of a performance called "White Privilege," which Slate called a "poem." I can see that I repeated that word, "poem," before my sentence that began with "I think": "I think it's a sincere effort at poetic polemic." I know I wrote "poetic polemic" to nudge the reader to question wheth...
Tags: Law, Poetry, Language, Propaganda, Nancy, White Privilege, Billy Collins, Ann Althouse, Kyla Jenee Lacey, Nancy (the commenter


Chef’s Hat Characterplay

I took this photo here in Shanghai: Check out that logo: Believe it or not, there are three characters in there! You might need to be advanced to make them out. Can you read them? I let my coworkers (native speakers of Chinese, and also Chinese teachers) see this logo, and of course they could read it when they focused on it, but it took them a full second to make out those characters. SPOILER ALERT! The answer is below: 胖达叔 (Pàngdá Shū)Uncle Panda Notes: 胖达 (...
Tags: Language, Shanghai, Linguistics, Characterplay


Two very neat Russian words

*All images from Google Translate are by author This blog is simple. I have two Russian words that I find very neat and a little underappreciated. We will talk about what they mean, how they are used, and attempt to make sense of their English translations. And if you are a native Russian speaker or (after reading this blog) somebody who will share my appreciation for these two words, I’m asking you to comment below on how you would translate them into English  (or if there are other language al...
Tags: Google, Language, Linguistics, Maria, Russian Language, Merriam Webster, David Shariatmadari, Vocabulary, confusing Russian words, Anne Kruse, Anthony Shkraba


Blue no longer: ‘person of colour’ added to Irish lexicon

Confusing terms that have referred to ‘blue’ people and ‘devil’ updated by public body promoting Irish languageThe Irish language has long wrestled with the description of people who are not white. An fear dubh could refer to a man of any colour with black hair or black skin. When capitalised, Fear Dubh has also referred to the devil.For generations, Irish speakers used an odd alternative, duine gorm (blue person), to indicate people who were not white. Others used duine daite (coloured person)....
Tags: Europe, Race, World news, Ireland, Language, Dubh


30 things Canadians say that Americans don't understand

Canadians have a long list of slang words and colorful expressions that would leave many Americans scratching their heads. REUTERS/Mark Blinch Canada and the US are both English-speaking countries, but residents of each don't speak exactly alike. Canadians have a long list of slang terms and colorful expressions that set their dialect apart. Words like "keener," "gonger," and "Texas mickey" might confuse Americans. See more stories on Insider's business page. A keener is a pers...
Tags: Travel, UK, Shutterstock, Texas, US, Los Angeles, Trends, Features, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Language, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jack, Chesterfield


The best apps for learning Spanish

Learning a new language like Spanish can be as difficult as it is exciting. We've put together a list of the best apps to learn Spanish to make things easier.
Tags: Apple, Android, Mobile, Trends, Language, Languages, Spanish, Buying Guides, Best Apps


Searching Pleco Dictionary Entries with Wildcards

Wildcard search is one of Pleco’s super useful features that a lot of people don’t know about. I want to share not only how to do it, but also some actual use cases (otherwise you might never remember to use it when the time comes). Pleco’s Wildcard Characters In case you’re not aware, “wildcard characters” in computing are characters that can stand for anything, kind of like variables. They’re frequently used in search. It’s like how the joker can be used to substitute for any card in m...
Tags: Techniques, Tech, Language, Shanghai, Linguistics, Dictionary, Gim, Chinese study, Pleco


Russian idioms with ‘как’

What Russian word connects geese, archaic measuring units, and a 14th century military commander of the Golden Horde? The answer is “как” and today we will cover just a few commonly used Russian idioms with this word. And while ‘как’ can mean a number of different things in Russian (and is one of the 100 must-know Russian words), here it’s mostly synonymous with the English comparative word “like”. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Как на духу́ [Kak na dukh u ] —to say everything as it is (lit...
Tags: Culture, Language, Linguistics, Idioms, Russian Language, Kak, Francesco Ungaro, Russian idioms, Kulikovo, Ellie Burgin


Gender-Neutral Pronoun Options for Chinese Characters

I’m not going to write much here about Chinese pronouns 他 / 她 / TA (all “tā”), because the images below sum everything up nicely. (If you want more detail, be sure to click through to the full article). Via Radii: For uses of TA “in the wild,” see this article: TA: Pinyin with a Purpose. I’m definitely not a fan of inserting the “X” into a Chinese character. It just breaks the natural aesthetic when done with an English X. There are “more Chinese” ways ...
Tags: Society, Language, Homosexuality, Linguistics, Chinese characters, Characterplay, RADII, Gender-neutral


"And now, jorts—those frumpy jean shorts worn by beer-clutching dads behind the barbecue—have wormed their way into style."

 A Wall Street Journal article calls out to me.Nostalgia is also what pushed Aaron Levine back to jorts. “They harken back to a simpler time,” said the 44-year-old menswear designer who until recently worked at Abercrombie & Fitch. Jorts are “a bit of a ’70s situation, worn with a Faith No More T-shirt or a big polo,” he said....“You almost chuckle the minute you hear the word ‘jorts,’” said Albert Imperato, 58, a classical-music publicist in Manhattan... The lightheartedness of jorts might actu...
Tags: Law, Language, Manhattan, Biking, Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, Irony, Pee Wee Herman, Ann Althouse, Aaron Levine, Men In Shorts, Abercrombie Fitch Jorts, Albert Imperato, Will Rebholz


Why literature must be part of the language of recovery from crisis

Wislawa Szymborska’s poem “The End and the Beginning” outlines a plan of recovery after the war: the Polish Nobel Laureate’s vision of how we return to a sense of normality is pertinent to our times, when the COVID-19 pandemic has left the world in ruins and people in an unfathomed reality. The poem, inter alia, mentions bridges—literal ones that we must cross to resume activity, but it’s not lost on the reader that bridges are also spiritual, emotional, and cultural. The bridge she constructs t...
Tags: Books, Featured, Poetry, Language, Literature, Recovery, Dante, Seamus Heaney, Walt Whitman, Arts & Humanities, Wislawa Szymborska, Szymborska, COVID-19, Magnus Lunay


Numbers Up To A Million In Russian

Over the past few days, I have several times come across a funny post on a social network about numbers in Russian. This gave me the idea to write today’s blog. 0-10 As Russian teachers say, there are exceptions to every rule. If you are not familiar with Russian numerals yet, be sure to read this blog. Until ten, we just need to memorize the names of the numbers. Let’s see how to write them in Russian: 0 – нуль or ноль 1 – один 2 – два 3 – три 4 – четыре 5 – пять 6 – шесть 7 – семь 8 – восемь...
Tags: Wikipedia, Language, Linguistics, Vocabulary, Pixabay, Alicja, Turgenev, Gerd Altmann, Russian numbers, counting in Russian, digits in Russian, how to count in Russian, numbers in Russian, Russian numeral


Learn Kanji, one character a day, with this daily practice pad

The Beginning Japanese Kanji Language Practice Pad looks like a daily calendar. On each tear-off page is a different Japanese kanji character, along with its definition, pronunciation, sample use, stroke order, and space to practice writing it. I use it to supplement my daily WaniKani practice. — Read the rest
Tags: Post, Video, News, Learning, Language, Japanese, Kanji


Russian euphemisms about death

A lot of фразеологизмы (idioms) about ‘death’ in Russian rely on verbs of motion that depict a person leaving this life and world. The 5 euphemisms below all mean ‘to die’ but I will write the literal translation in parenthesis to make them easier to remember. My goal, though, is to not just help you remember these euphemisms but also to talk about the similarities between the phrases Russian speakers choose to talk about death. Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels Euphemisms for “to die” (with li...
Tags: Culture, Language, Linguistics, Idioms, Vocabulary, Russian life, Russian Vocabulary, Thematic Vocabulary, Miriam Espacio, Dương Nhân, useful Russian phrases, Russian idioms, death in Russian, Russian euphemisms, Liza Summer


Shanghai Urges Residents to Get Vaccinated… via Megaphone! (audio)

Recently every time I go out on the street, my ears are affronted by recorded audio messages played on loop via megaphone. They’re super annoying, but they’re for a good cause: urging any unvaccinated residents to hurry up and just do it (and also get a prize!). Over the past few weeks I have recorded the following audio on my phone, so it’s not super high quality, but have a listen if you’re curious (transcripts and translations will follow). This audio is notable because it’s clearly ...
Tags: Translation, Health, Audio, Language, Shanghai, Linguistics, Don, Pronunciation, COVID-19


Speakers Have To Understand The Speaking & Listening Link

The way that you speak affects how your audience listens Image Credit: larkery As speakers we spend a great deal of time worrying about the importance of public speaking and what we are going to be saying the next time that we give a speech. We think about our topic. We mull over the words that we’ll use. Finally, we lay out the sequence that we want to use in order to share our thoughts with our audience. This is a lot of work. However, it turns out that we may be missing a key part...
Tags: Communication, Values, Change, Culture, Language, Speaker, Listen, Speech, Unique, Presentation, Filters, Circle, Hear, Speaking, Beliefs, Toastmasters


"This article is from three years ago. I don’t know how you came across it unless you were digging in the New York Times for the 'worst of the NYTimes articles.'"

 A reader named Mary emails me about a post I did yesterday, riffing on a NYT article that, I see now, came out in 2018. The article is titled and it really does seem to be vying for the title of Dumbest NYT Article (especially since it had an atrocious math error). The NYT will push old stories in its sidebar or at the bottom of whatever article you are reading, and the linked headline looks fresh. I think that's happening more lately, so I'll be more vigilant going forward. The policy I...
Tags: Law, Blogging, Fathers, Language, New York Times, Stupid, Nyt, Motherhood, Mary, Toobin, Nytimes, Ann Althouse, Gender Difference, Misreadings, William Barr, Mary (the commenter


"And nearly 13 percent — 20 percent of the lesbian couples and 5 percent of the gay couples — participated in some version of 'undoing gender.'"

"Many do this by taking parental names from their native cultures or religions that strip away the binary in this cultural context, collapsing the dichotomy between terms by merging them, such as 'Mather,' a fusion of mother and father, or creating nicknames ('Muzzie,' in one instance).... Ellen Kahn, the director of the Children, Youth & Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign, said the gender binary that underlies 'mother' and 'father' doesn’t jibe with some parents’ self-understanding a...
Tags: Law, Fathers, Language, Motherhood, Human Rights Campaign, Ann Althouse, Insults, Gender Difference, Ellen Kahn, Muzzie, Children Youth Families Program


Healing words: Taiwan’s tribes fight to save their disappearing languages

The island’s Indigenous people are in a race against time to save their native tongues before they are lost foreverIn a modest conference room near the edge of Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake, Panu Kapamumu holds up an unwieldy A3 booklet. The home-printed document contains every known word of Thao, the language of his Indigenous tribe. Kapamumu runs his finger down the list, reading out a selection of Thao words, meanings and translations. He reads slowly and purposefully, a man in his sixties but still...
Tags: China, World news, Taiwan, Asia Pacific, Language, Indigenous Peoples, Sun Moon Lake Panu Kapamumu, Kapamumu


Linguistic Improvisation Via Honda

It is like innovative slam poetry or experimental theater coming at me right from the car speakers. I can't help but listen for meaning.
Tags: Comics, Language, Honda, Honda Accord, Language Riff, Linguistic Nonsense


Knowledge of medicinal plants at risk as languages die out

Loss of linguistic diversity may lead to disappearance of age-old remedies unknown to science, study warnsKnowledge of medicinal plants is at risk of disappearing as human languages become extinct, a new study has warned. Indigenous languages contain vast amounts of knowledge about ecosystem services provided by the natural world around them. However, more than 30% of the 7,400 languages on the planet are expected to disappear by the end of the century, according to the UN. Continue reading...
Tags: Science, Environment, Life and style, World news, US news, Asia Pacific, Wildlife, Conservation, Alternative Medicine, Health & wellbeing, Trees and forests, Deforestation, Language, Plants, Amazon Rainforest, Indigenous Peoples