A note on the Concept of Gender in French

restroom-sign

by Ronald Batchelor

To the English-speaking beginner, the notion of masculine and feminine gender for French nouns comes as a surprise. Perhaps it should not be so. For in most European languages of Indo-European origin, and this includes Arabic, Pashto, Hindi, among many others, but excludes Basque, Finnish, Hungarian or Turkish, gender distinction forms an integral part of grammatical discourse. But let’s play the devil’s advocate. For such a beginner, the concept of gender assigned to inanimate objects appears extraordinary, lacking all logic and convincing definition. So much for the logic of “Ce qui n’est pas logique n’est pas français.” It seems to make more sense that gender should find no place when applied to inanimate objects, as in English. . . . → Read More: A note on the Concept of Gender in French

Accent and dialect in Australian politics

Written by Jeff Siegel

In Australia, the New South Wales state elections will be held on 26 March, and once again the American accent of the incumbent Premier, Kristina Keneally, has come into the news. Many of the issues discussed in the press and on blogs are reminiscent of the themes in my book, Second Dialect Acquisition.

Ms Keneally was born in Ohio to an Australian mother and an American father. She married an Australian, moved to Australia in 1994 and became a citizen in 2000. Although she now considers Australia her home and has only an Australian passport, she has not acquired Australian English. This is not surprising, since was 25 years old when she moved . . . → Read More: Accent and dialect in Australian politics

From Brain To Language To Accent

Ping Li, editor of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, has been researching comparisons between the brains of native English speakers and Chinese speakers who are bilingual in English in the hopes of shedding more light on what differentiates and distinguishes someone who can easily pick up a new language from someone who struggles.

The research being carried out at Pennsylvania State University’s Brain, Language, and Computation Lab has been designed specifically to understand the relationships among language, brain, and culture. In particular, focusing on the dynamic changes that occur in the language learner and the dynamic interactions that occur in the competing language systems over the course of learning.

This research was recently picked up by CNN and makes for . . . → Read More: From Brain To Language To Accent