“Oh, rather!”

Apr 23, 2012 by

The topic of differences between British and American English has already come up several times in this blog. These differences concern pronunciation (“tomejdo”-”tomahto”), word choice (truck vs. lorry), and...

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“Hen” said, “hen” said

Apr 15, 2012 by

In many Western countries concerns are raised about gender-specific language. The French hurry to get rid of mademoiselle. The Swedes are not far behind in wanting to get rid of ‘him’ and ‘her’. It has been...

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Au revoir, mademoiselle!

Feb 29, 2012 by

French government has recently announced that the word “mademoiselle” would no longer be used in its official documents. Up until now, women were forced by government departments, banks, and private companies to categorize...

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Language Referendum in Latvia

Feb 20, 2012 by

On February 18, 2012 Latvia held a referendum on the issue of Russian as a second official language. A turnout of more than 70 percent underscored the extent that this issue has stirred the public, and the results were overwhelmingly...

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On H-dropping again

Feb 6, 2012 by

In an earlier post, I mentioned H-dropping as one of the characteristic features of Cockney, the lower class variety of English from the streets of London’s East End. Recall Professor Higgins’ complaints: “Hear them down in...

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More on geographic determinism and language

Jan 5, 2012 by

In a recent post, I’ve discussed the issue of geographic determinism, that is the hypothesis that certain kinds of terrain or weather favor certain structural features in languages. As I have shown there, this simple-minded version...

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