English is one of the many Indo-European languages spoken in many parts of the world. Harrison Holt of The Generalist Papers looks at how our language evolved dramatically over the centuries and how it’s related to languages like German, Dutch, and Swedish.
Narrow-minded people often call others out for not being normal. But is anyone really normal or typical? This TED-Ed lesson by Yana Buhrer Tavanier explores the history of the term and how its misuse has had a tremendously negative impact on society. Animated by Eoin Duffy.
Pip Ketchip and Nic Musterd are friends. One day, they stop to enjoy lunch outdoors and strike up a conversation about tap water, bicycles, vacuum cleaners, and bear attacks. And then The Fuzz turns up. Real Big Boys knocked it out of the park with their comedy sketch about homophones.
Goldthread takes us inside a factory that makes special good fortune candies, each of which has a meaningful Chinese character in its center. Using soybean, black sesame, and maltose, their artisans handmake each rope of candy by stacking contrasting layers then stretching them smaller and smaller to reveal the letters.
Here’s a little Christmas song for the grammar and punctuation nerds out there. Enjoy as RamsesThePigeon sings an a cappella version of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and plays around with the comma placement to explain why it goes where it does.
We’re grateful to have lower case letters, if only to limit people typing in ALL CAPS. The Generalist Papers digs into the history of letterforms in the English language on a quest to explain why we have two different versions of every character in the alphabet.
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UsefulCharts takes a look back at the 4000+ year history of Modern Latin Script, the letterforms and alphabet used today in English and many other languages. Along the way, you’ll learn about other forms of written communication which don’t use an alphabet. The chart is also available as a 24″ x 36″ poster print.
Folks from the US, UK, and Australia all speak the same language, but there are clear differences in conversational speech. Language of Earth asked three English speakers to demonstrate the variations in accents, pronunciation, and terminology for some common words. Also, we feel like we just watched The Electric Company.
From the authors of P Is for Pterodactyl comes a kids book about homophones, homonyms, and tricky punctuation. The playfully-illustrated book compares various words and phrases that sound the same but can have very different meanings, like “The hero had super vision” and “The hero had supervision.”
Let’s kick things off with a brief language lesson. An acronym is made up of parts of the phrase it stands for and pronounced as a word, while an initialism is a kind of acronym pronounced as its individual letters. With that cleared up, Mental Floss is here with 25 of the abbreviated phrases from “CAPTCHA” to “WD-40.”
It’s a debate that’s been raging since the first file was produced in CompuServe’s Graphical Interchange Format back in 1987. With the help of podcasters Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch, YouTube personality Tom Scott takes a couple of minutes to set us straight on the proper pronunciation of the popular “.GIF” file extension.
While we’re perfectly content to use actual swear words, for many years, they’ve been off-limits for use in most public-facing entertainment. Vox looks back at how random punctuation marks became the universal symbol for so-called “obscene” words.
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In the first episode of his series “Reservations”, CGP Grey explains how the Europeans who took over America slapped a label on its indigenous people that would later be thought of as offensive, yet is still commonly used within tribes. Plus, the term selected to replace it has stirred controversy for other reasons.
An important part of learning a new language is conversation. HelloTalk is a chat app that pairs you up with partners around the globe, and includes tools for translation, pronunciation, transliteration, and corrections. VIP members can learn three languages at a time, and get improved visibility in the community.
(PG-13: Language) If you’re reading this, there’s an overwhelming chance that you can speak English. In this casual explanation, we learn what makes our language different than others, and why in some ways it’s easier to learn, and in others, much harder. Then there are the local accents and dialects…
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With the right rhythm and melody, a good song can easily get stuck in your head. Earworms takes advantage of this phenomenon to help you learn another language. Choose from Spanish, Italian, German, or French lessons, and save 50% in The Awesomer Shop.