Category: Time and Space

Prose Study: Broken April

By Ismail Kadare Introduction The Charter of Paris for a New Europe (also known as the Paris Charter) was signed in 1990 by 34 participating nations – including every European country except Albania. This powerful novel reveals that Albania remained a closed country, haunted by the ghosts of […]

The Future of English

Approximately 350 million people speak English as a first or native language. Another 400 million (estimates vary from this number to a billion!) more people have English as a strong second language or other language. English is the language of over half of the internet. English circulates through […]

Transforming Technologies

“As far as I know, I am not dyslexic, mentally lazy, or illiterate. But I text.” David Crystal, The Gr8 Db8 Linguistic Economy can be defined as being economical with words/characters/phonemes. It basically means that you can convey meaning using fewer words, so why not do it?! Linguistic economy has become […]

The Birth and Death of Languages

“Every language is a temple in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.” Oliver Wendell Holmes An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. In 1992 a prominent US linguist stunned […]

Proper English?

“Language changes over time, but some changes are made in ignorance and are incorrect.” (Jokingly) Attributed to The Queen From the first time we step into an English class, we’re told that the rules matter, that they must be followed, that we must know when it’s appropriate to […]

Varieties of English

“A language is a dialect with an army and navy” Aphorism, unknown (first published by Max Weinreich) The previous two sections have dealt mostly with English spreading and changing over time. Now we will explore how changes of space, place and regional variations have created amazing linguistic diversity […]

The Spread of English

Of all the languages in the world, why has English become the world’s lingua franca? Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase ‘global village’ in the 1960s to refer to the way people were reaching out to connect with one another – but he could not have known at the time […]

The Origins of English

To study the history of English is to study its present and future. Understanding how language changes over time is one of the main outcomes of this section, and investigating the history of English could help you to understand the scope and depth of language change. The history of English […]

Euphemism

“The van’s load is usually nine per square yard. In Saurer vehicles, which are very spacious, maximum use of space is impossible, not because of any possible overload, but because loading to full capacity would affect the vehicle’s stability. So reduction of the load space seems necessary. It […]

Taboo Or Not Taboo

Societies have developed a plethora of words and expressions to deal with taboo subjects: either to avoid mentioning them at all, or to smooth the rough edges of reality. As you’ve already discovered, religion was one of the first English taboos, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Take the […]