Articles on English language

Displaying 61 - 80 of 86 articles

Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka with a group of children in Lagos. Research suggests that literacy in a mother tongue is a building block for multilingualism. Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

Digital stories could hold the key to multilingual literacy for African children

Research tells us that multilingual literacy matters. But teaching children in Africa to read in their mother tongues as a springboard to literacy in other languages can be a fraught process.
The English language has a tendency to reinforce patriarchy, but there are ways to stop that. Shutterstock

Gender-neutral communication: how to do it

The English language reinforces patriarchy, but we can use the language to counter it instead.
From left to right. Mandarin employs a different part of the brain. Chinese man via XiXinXing/Shutterstock

If you speak Mandarin, your brain is different

Language is traditionally associated with the left side of the brain. But Mandarin speakers are using the right side.
It will get easier. Shrug via PathDoc/shutterstock

Learning to speak English? Making yourself understood isn’t all about the accent

Being able to communicate effectively in a foreign language is a challenge faced by many of us. If you’re a newcomer to a country, conveying a message in a language that is not your mother tongue is often…
American-speak is pervading the English language. But is it actually American? Flickr/Okay Yarramanoglu

Are those damned Americanisms really American?

From time to time, Australians complain about the apparent encroachment of Americanisms in our language, and the Brits seem none too happy about it either. George Bernard Shaw famously said: England and…
New words for today: druid, priest and warrior. Boy gaming via wckiww/Shutterstock

How Swedish children learn English through gaming

An hour of homework or an hour of World of Warcraft? It’s not hard to guess what many ten-year-old boys would rather be doing when they get home from school. But now research shows that in non-English…
Sticklers beware. marymuses

What the grammar gurus don’t get about how we learn

Sticklers beware. The British Library is hosting it’s English Grammar Day, a day to finely split hairs over split infinitives, apostrophe’s (sic, sic, sic), and Oxford commas (sick!). Yes, in the case…
Ronald Reagan: ‘mistakes were made’. But by whom, Mr President? By you? Flickr/Brett Tatman

‘Mistakes were made’: detecting the sneaky passive voice

In a recent enquiry into alleged sexual abuses by priests, Cardinal George Pell said: Mistakes were made by me and by others in the church that resulted in driving Mr Ellis and the archdiocese apart rather…
You haven’t used ‘stakeholder’ enough. Professor and student via Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

To write English like a professor, don’t rely on Google translate

Thankfully, nobody speaks academic English as a first language. The English of the university is a very particular form that has specific features and conventions. Sometimes, this is just referred to as…
E-C-S-T-A-T-I-C. Michael Reynolds/EPA

How to be a whizz at spelling

Children who compete in spelling bees often dazzle with their ability to spell complex words. In this year’s televised Scripps National Spelling Bee, two American teenagers were so good they were crowned…
The next Shakespeare… in a manner of speaking. EPA/Paul Buck

Russell Brand English A Level will be refreshing and rigorous

The exam board OCR recently announced a new English Language and Literature A Level that they intend to offer from 2015. The proposed syllabus boasts that “the range of texts to be studied is to be the…

Top contributors

More