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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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English

Are Americans trashing the English language?

“Are American’s trashing the English language? The Economists language expert, Lane Greene, knows a thing or two about English. Lane is a fan of words, lots of words, and Lane is an American living in London. He’s become accustomed to British English slang. But Lane often hears Britons complain that there are too many American words and expressions creeping into British English, these are called Americanisms. British writer Matthew Engel can’t stand Americanisms being used in Britain and even wrote a book about it. But are Americanisms trashing British English?”

Source: www.youtube.com

This video touches on important cultural and spatial dynamics of the linguistic change impacting the world’s current lingua franca…in other words, this is incredibly relevant to human geography. 

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, diffusion,

 colonialism.

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English–History and Connotations

“What is the difference between ‘a hearty welcome’ and ‘a cordial reception’? In a brief, action-packed history of the English language, Kate Gardoqui explains why these semantically equal phrases evoke such different images.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat–Germanic, perspire–Latin). English has obviously changed much over the years, but this other TED-ED video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European roots.

    

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

How the letters of the alphabet got their names

There seems to be little predictability to the English names for the letters of the alphabet, to say nothing of the names of letters in other languages. Some begin with an e-as-in-egg sound (eff, ell); some end in an ee sound (tee, dee); and others have no obvious rhyme or reason to them at all. How did they get that way?

 

Tags: language, culturehistorical, English.

Source: www.economist.com

English–Origins and Roots

When we talk about ‘English’, we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

Source: www.youtube.com

English has obviously changed much over the years, but this video (and lesson) also shows some good language family information and traces it back to proto-Indo-European, using the English as the main example.  This other TED-ED video (and lesson) shows how the connotations of English words often times depend on the linguistic root (sweat–Germanic, perspire–Latin).   

 

Tags: languagecultureEnglishTED, video.

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language?

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

Source: freakonomics.com

These two podcasts are great mainstream looks at issues that filled with cultural geography content.  So many languages on Earth is clearly inefficient (the EU spends $1 billion per year on translation), and yet, linguistic diversity is such a rich part of humanity’s cultural heritage.  Listen to the first episode, Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? as well as the follow-up episode, What Would Be the Best Universal Language?

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English, regions, diffusiontechnology.

Mapping Reading Preferences

We took a look at how some of your favorite genres play out across the country.

Source: trends.audible.com

Audible is one of the world’s largest audio book distributors and they have recently mapped out their customers buying patterns at the state level, looking at nine genres.  

 

Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you see in this set of maps?  What cultural and economic factors help to explain the spatial patterns that you see? 

 

Tagsmapping, cultureEnglish.

The languages the world is trying to learn, according to Duolingo

If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

 

Tags: language, colonialismtechnology, diffusion, culture, English.

Source: qz.com

Questions to Ponder: What role do colonial history and modern economics play in shaping this linguistic data? How does migration influence patterns in bilingualism?  What is a lingua franca?

Reading the world in 196 books

“I set myself the challenge of trying to read a book from every country (well, all 195 UN-recognised states plus former UN member Taiwan) in a year to find out what I was missing.

With no idea how to go about this beyond a sneaking suspicion that I was unlikely to find publications from nearly 200 nations on the shelves of my local bookshop, I decided to ask the planet’s readers for help. I created a blog called A Year of Reading the World and put out an appeal for suggestions of titles that I could read in English.”

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, English.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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