Blog Archives

Read my lips, bilingual babies!

When I first heard about this study, I was in the middle of writing up my MA thesis on the effects of video for learning new speech sounds. I was washing the dishes and listening to the Science Friday podcast—I’m

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Posted in Brains, Paper Summaries

331st Meeting of the Phonetic Society of Japan

Today I took the very long, arduous 5 minute walk to Waseda campus, and heard five talks from phoneticists in and around Tokyo. I used to feel pretty nervous about going to these kinds of meetings, but now that I

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Posted in Phonetics and Phonology

Some thoughts on teaching and English-language imperialism

In 2010, I moved to Japan, a country whose language I barely spoke, and whose customs I barely knew. I was put in charge of a classroom, despite having no formal background in teaching and only two weeks of training.

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Posted in Language and Society

Txtng is killing language. JK!!!

This video is an excellent response to the constant chorus of sky-is-falling pedants out there worried about the “decline” of language. Texting and netspeak are actually fascinating new developments in written language, and we should all approach them with the

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Posted in Uncategorized

Wow, can you believe how rude he was?

Nuance is hard. It’s sometimes challenging to use the correct register in one’s own, native language, never mind in a foreign language! And then there are all those fuzzy words we use to hesitate and seem more humble–“I was wondering”,

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Posted in Language and Society

Turning Sounds into Meaning

Today I’d like to spend a little time on something kind of technical: phonology. Phonology (音韻論) is a branch of linguistics that focuses on the sounds of a language and how they’re converted into grammatical units. It’s distinct from phonetics

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Posted in Phonetics and Phonology

Should we really be teaching our kids all these grammar rules?

In schools around the world, children are spending thousands of hours in the classroom, learning rules to govern how they use their native language. In the US, we’d call that English class; mine was Grammar and Composition. In Japan, it’s

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Posted in Language and Society