Awesome Language

Why Upper and Lower Case Letters Exist

Why Upper and Lower Case Letters Exist

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.

Speakly

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Learn to confidently speak languages with Speakly’s smart training app. It automatically focuses on the most statistically-relevant words in order of importance, and its app lets you practice communicating in real-life situations from your phone or computer. Save 82% on a lifetime subscription.

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Babbel Language Learning

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Ready to learn a new language? Babbel will help you go from zero to language hero with access to over 10,000 bite-sized lessons, covering real-life conversational topics in 14 different languages. Grab a lifetime subscription for 40% off the regular price.

Evolution of the Alphabet

Evolution of the Alphabet

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.

Dead as a Doornail Explained

Dead as a Doornail Explained

We’ve all heard the expression “dead as a doornail,” but we certainly didn’t know its origin. History and weapon enthusiast Malcolm P.L. explains the true meaning of the phrase while demonstrating the building technique that inspired it.

American vs. British vs. Australian English

American vs. British vs. Australian English

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.

No Reading Allowed

No Reading Allowed
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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.”

Interesting Acronyms & Initialisms

Interesting Acronyms & Initialisms

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 Pronounced GIF

It’s Pronounced GIF

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.

What the #[email protected]!% Are These?

What the #$@!% Are These?

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.

QLango Language Games

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Learning new languages can help you significantly expand your horizons. With Qlango, you can learn 31 different languages using a combination of lessons and fun games and challenges. This lifetime subscription gets you access and is 50% off in The Awesomer Shop.

Busuu Language Learning

Packed with over 1,000 lessons in 12 different languages, Busuu is at the ready to help you learn. It offers personalized study plans, feedback by native speakers, and speech recognition to help guide your progress. Save 50% on this 2-year Premium Plus subscription in The Awesomer Shop.

Social Distancing Bundle Deal

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Being stuck at home gives you time to work on self-improvement. This bundle is a good start, with lifetime subscriptions to Rosetta Stone’s extensive language learning system, 12min’s library of book summaries, and KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited to protect your online privacy.

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Ludwig Sentence Search Engine

This unique search engine helps you create well-written documents, papers, work projects and more. Enter a sentence in English or one of 52 languages, and it will provide contextual examples from reliable sources. This lifetime subscription deal gets you unlimited searches with up to 60 results per page.

Why We Say “OK”

Why We Say “OK”

It’s a word we hear every day – “O.K.”, “OK”, or “Okay” is an acknowledgement that we understand something. But most of us have no idea why we say it. Vox delves into the history of the word, and how it became the nearly universal affirmation it is today.

Indian or Native American?

Indian or Native American?

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.

HelloTalk VIP: Lifetime Subscription

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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.

Casually Explained: English

Casually Explained: English

(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…

Learn Languages with Mondly

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Learn new languages quickly and easily with Mondly. The mobile app uses speech recognition tech to help you train your pronunciations, and lets you take part in virtual conversations. There are 33 languages to choose from, and you can grab a 1-, 3-, or 5-language lifetime subscription in The Awesomer Shop.

Rosetta Stone Lifetime Subscription

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With its intuitive, immersive training method, Rosetta Stone will have you reading, writing, and speaking a new language in no time. Choose from Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin, or Japanese, and save 33% in on a lifetime subscription in The Awesomer Shop.

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Earworms Language Training

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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.

Origins of Common Phrases

Origins of Common Phrases

Did you know the phrase “balls to the wall” got its start as a term pilots used because their throttle controls had balls on the end of them? See, you already learned something today. Sam O’Nella Academy is here to school us on the etymology of a few other phrases as well.

WT2 Plus Translating Earphones

WT2 Plus Translating Earphones

The WT2 Plus is a pair of language translation earphones. In automatic mode, you and another person speak directly to each other by each wearing an earphone. It also has an ask mode that uses an app to translate what you’re saying to someone who doesn’t have the unit on.

Words That Changed Meanings

Words That Changed Meanings

Did you know that “doom” used to refer to a judgment handed down in court? John Green of Mental Floss schools us about 27 words we use today, and their very different meanings back in the day. We love how Elmer Fudd had an influence on our vocabulary.

English in Japan

English in Japan

When we were in Tokyo, we were fascinated that when we wanted some “vanilla ice cream,” we had to ask for “Baniraaisukurīmu.” Double Yolk looks at how Japan incorporates English words and deeper meanings into their language in some truly wonderful ways.

The Similarity Trap

The Similarity Trap

While certain words, objects, and even animals have similar traits, it turns out that they didn’t always evolve from the same origin, and sometimes just organically arrived at a similar point. MinuteEarth explains how likenesses between things aren’t always what they seem.

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