Tag Archives: history

What Do We Lose When a Language Dies?

Grandparents are often the best storytellers. They pull us into their laps, or let us crowd around their legs, and in their age-worn voices they recount memories and experiences from long ago that captivate us and leave us thirsting for more. Their stories are testimonies of the lives they’ve lived – the histories of our(…)


Official Languages – Do They Help or Hurt? A Comparison Between South Africa and the USA

Language is a powerful social mechanism. It dictates how we frame our thoughts and ideas and breeds community among like-speaking individuals. But where language has the power to help us come together, it also has the power to break us apart, to outcast us, alienate us, and make us feel discriminated against and alone. Political(…)


Most Common Last Names in the UK: Does Yours Make the List?

Fact: There are over 30,000 John Smiths living in Britain According to The Research Alliance, a UK research company that bases their findings on recent census data, there are indeed over 30,000 men named John Smith living in the UK. In fact, according to the National Health Service Central Register, based on births between 1999 and(…)


You Can’t Keep A Good Quote Down

A good quote uplifts and raises eyebrows, inspires and impresses, gets reused, rehashed, and remembered, and you can quote me on that! But why are some better than others, do some last longer than others, and some get used more often than not? There doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rules about what(…)


Happy Birthday Crosswords!

This December will see the 100th anniversary of the first published crossword, and although there won’t be any parades, loud fanfare, or even much birthday cake, we’d like to pay homage to the world’s most popular word game right now, right here. The first known crossword puzzle was published in a Sunday newspaper called The(…)


Pronunciation Hell: Why Aren’t English Words Spelled Properly?

If you have ever taught English or just helped out a foreign friend learning the language then you probably got asked about spelling at some point. More specifically, the student will have asked why on Earth some words are pronounced completely differently from the way they are spelled. Anyone who has grown up with a(…)