English in the Movies by David Crystal

I hear pop songs in English in every country I visit. Just back from a lecture tour around Italy, and I heard them in taxis, in hotels playing background music, and in cars passing in the street with the radio on loud – in every city. Often, the listeners are singing along, demonstrating a level of English ability that is sometimes well beyond their general level of competence. It’s a great language-learning tool – and I’ve had exactly the same experience in my own encounter with other languages. When I was learning Portuguese in Brazil, my samba-ese far exceeded by general skill. But the musical dimension had all sorts of benefits. It gave me confidence. I felt I was beginning to . . . → Read More: English in the Movies by David Crystal

“Analysing English Sentences” – A. Radford

Andrew Radford Analysing English Sentences

By Susan E. Holt

My love affair (and it really is love) with linguistics began back as a nine year old watching “My Fair Lady” for the first time.  After the initial romance, it was time to make a serious commitment and that came in the form of saying “I do” to a university place at Durham studying English Language and Linguistics.  This marriage was solemnized in the presence of a holy book: “Analysing English Sentences” by Andrew Radford.

So my venture into the book began in the first week of university.  The heaviest of all  the books on our booklist, myself and my new linguistics friends quickly (and correctly) figured it must be important.  During first year syntax, the red book was . . . → Read More: “Analysing English Sentences” – A. Radford

Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

Mother and Toddler

Post written by Dr. Lei Xuan and Dr. Christine Dollaghan based on an article in Journal of Child Language

Our research addressed questions about the kinds of words that appear in the early vocabularies of bilingual children.  Evidence from some languages, including English, has shown that young children acquire words for people and things before words that label actions and attributes or words that have grammatical functions. However, the hypothesis of a universal preference for nouns (i.e., a “noun bias”) in early lexical development has been challenged by studies suggesting that children acquiring languages such as Korean and Mandarin Chinese may show a weaker preference for nouns.

We used a unique research design to examine the extent of noun bias in 50 bilingual . . . → Read More: Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

Never end a sentence with a preposition! That is something up with which I will not put!

Written by Thomas Hoffmann

From a typological point of view, preposition placement in English is an extremely interesting area of variation: most languages either require a preposition to be dragged along to the start of a clause by a displaced complement (as in the German relative clause das Haus, [in dem]i ich _i lebe vs. *das Haus, [dem]i ich [in _i] lebe) or they obligatorily leave the preposition in its clause-internal position (as in Swedish: huset [som]i jag bor [i _i] ‘the house that I live in’ vs. * huset [i som]i jag bor _i; adopted from Dekeyser 1990: 103). English, on the other hand, allows the preposition in clause-initial position (1a; a phenomenon known as ‘pied-piping’) as well as clause-internally (1b, . . . → Read More: Never end a sentence with a preposition! That is something up with which I will not put!

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 very informative and worthwhile reading.



Read the original article here . . . → Read More: From Brain To Language To Accent