Articles on Language

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Co-champions celebrate at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, on May 31, 2019. The winning spellers made history with eight co-champions, most ever in spelling event’s history. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Scripps spelling bee is off this year, but the controversy over including foreign words is still on

The Scripps National Spelling Bee highlights the richness of the English lexicon by picking some tough entries with foreign roots.
Every known culture on Earth has special words for kids to call their parents. XiXinXing via Getty Images

Why do kids call their parents ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’?

One anthropologist found 1,072 similar words for 'mom' and 'dad' in the world's languages. It turns out a mix of biology, culture and encouragement from parents explains this phenomenon.
The ability to achieve native-like language proficiency cannot be exclusively attributed to age as other factors, such as cognitive, social and emotional aspects, are important. www.shutterstock.com

Why younger is not always better when it comes to learning English

Second-language learners from different age groups seem to have equal chances of becoming highly proficient speakers as long as they are placed in a supportive environment.
Quotation slips for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Owen McKnight/Flickr

Book review: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

A new book, which weaves fiction into the origin story of the Oxford English Dictionary, was declared a hit even before its release. Readers will judge whether it lives up to the hype.
A trans Pride flag crosswalk in Calgary was defaced in August 2019 with a violent message, which was later covered with fresh paint and positive messages were left written with chalk. Anti-trans activism from feminists remains a challenge for transgender people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Why the words we use matter when describing anti-trans activists

TERF is not a slur. Instead, we should use words that accurately describe how some feminists are actually anti-trans activists.
From Indigenous languages to how migrants stay connected, mother languages are becoming the norm. (Shutterstock)

How a child’s first language includes more than words

On International Mother Language Day, Canadians can celebrate multilingual heritage by recognizing flexible uses of languages.

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