• 3082284701

    I am currently stuck in a weird limbo between finishing exams and my graduation ceremony – I’m going to work, looking at graduate jobs, being overwhelmed with crippling self-doubt, and trying to fill my day with productive activities (to no avail). I think I’ve done okay for myself at university, but there are also a lot of opportunities I wished that I had seized, which I instead let pass by. If you’re currently in uni right now, please don’t make the same mistakes I did!   Lecturers are humans too! Going to lectures and seminars are great, but actually having a conversation with your lecturer will help you in the…

  • Why you’re making mistakes when learning languages.

    It can be incredibly depressing reading about adult language learning, which is often characterised by it’s ‘lack of success’ and ‘general failure’ (Bley-Vroman, 1990). Adult language learning is also plagued by problems such as lack of motivation, self-confidence, and tiredness – problems which do not whatsoever affect children when they acquire language. Fossilisation is also a terrifying prospect, which can temporarily or permanently blockade you from making any progress in your language learning. Yet, being prepared for these challenges and being willing to self-reflect on your mistakes will make your life so much easier. I will now outline the three main types of errors that are typical to adult language…

  • 778-980-8221

    I must admit, the title is a bold statement – but it’s true, nonetheless. Last summer, I was a twenty year old who had (very embarrassingly) never had a job, and now I am sitting here with two of them, all while finishing my final year. And I bloody love it. I hold two Front of House positions in two completely different environments, one a café and the other in the VIP sections of a large stadium. I am on my feet all day, taking orders and serving food and drinks, whilst smiling and chatting away with guests. It’s tiring and I can feel drained at times, but I never…

  • My week in Accommodation.

    We change the way we speak based on who we’re talking to. It’s an inevitable part of being a speaker (or signer) of any language, and it can manifest in many different ways. For me, it can be that my accent broadens and the words confined to my dialect’s lexicon slip out into speech, or in other instances, I adopt this ‘posh’ accent, especially when answering in class. Looking at this past week, I want to give you specific situations that this has taken place in. I think it’s something we can all reflect on, something we all do in life. I was having coffee (well, tea) with a friend when…

  • 417-308-3974

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    Think about who you are: where do you come from? Where did your parents come from? How old are you? Are you religious? Who is your favourite singer? What languages can you speak? Where do you work? What football team do you support? Do you smoke? Do you eat meat? There are an infinite number of questions you could ask yourself to discover what makes you ‘you’. It’s how we make sense of the world around us. The answers to the questions above forms social groups: ‘joggers’, ‘vegetarians’, ‘Manchester United fans’, ‘Germans’, and so on. Social groups are created when people perceive themselves to be members of a certain group,…

  • 613-586-0551

    (813) 870-1690

    The Observer’s Paradox is an unavoidable presence in any linguistic investigation. Labov (1972) summarised it as follows: “the aim of linguistic research in the community must be to find out how people talk when they are not being systematically observed; yet we can only obtain these data by systematic observation”. Knowing you’re being recorded will, to whatever degree, affect the way you speak. The only way we can overcome the Observer’s Paradox is 1984 style secret recording, with linguists frantically transcribing all this mined data to see how language works. However, there is no way such methods would be ethically approved, and so all we can do is try our…

  • (905) 604-4483

    It doesn’t feel like it’s been ten years since sketch show Little Britain ended. Even though some might deem it problematic now in this cultural climate, I definitely think it makes valid social commentary on British society. One of the regular sketches would be ‘Fat Fighters’, a group meeting akin to ‘Slimming World’ and ‘Weight Watchers’. In the sketch, the leader of the meeting Marjorie Dawes would pose a question to the group, which then member Meera would try and answer. Look what happens: At face value, these clips can be shocking, but what it shows is the ignorance of Marjorie, especially when the other people at the meeting, frustrated…

  • Borrowings: ‘incorrect’ pronunciation, social awkwardness, or phonemic constraints?

    I’m a Quora addict and often feel a great rush reading all these inspiring stories on my feed. However, some questions, like the one I want to talk about today, are just deliberately and needlessly provocative. Why do so many British people seem to purposely pronounce words in other languages incorrectly despite knowing the correct pronunciation? Those who answered the question are either confused, bemused, or shift the focus onto the linguistic gaffs that our American cousins do. But how would I respond to this? Firstly, the demographic that the question is referring to is narrowed down to (a) Brits, who (b) purposely mispronounce other languages’ words, and who (c)…

  • 4045595523

    In June, after our exams had finished, I managed to meet up with my best friend. Last January, she studied abroad for a semester in Singapore and when we met up, she told me all about how much of a great time she’d had. Yet, whilst she was talking, I noticed something immediately: her accent, which usually had a subtle Slavic flavor, had now that bouncy intonation of Singapore English! Let me first premise with this: I love the Singapore English (Singlish) accent. The most salient of features for me are the prosodic and phonological features, such as ‘early boosters’, where a speaker raises their pitch extremely high at the…

  • Vocal Fry: another thing women are doing wrong.

    It’s an age old tradition to criticise women for the way they speak, or at least mark it as deviant. In Otto Jespersen’s 1922 book ‘Language: its nature, development and origin’, there is a chapter titled ‘The Woman’, but not one titled ‘The Man’, highlighting that man’s language is the norm whilst the woman’s is not. He claimed women speak softer, have smaller vocabularies, and jump from topic to topic with no real structure. Linguist Deborah Tannen sums it as follows: “Women can’t be neutral. Anything we do gets interpreted.” Vocal fry happens when the vibration of the vocal folds are so slow, single vibrations are discernible. In the media,…