Tagged With language

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Every language has its own slang and phrases you should master to sound like a true native speaker. Australian English is no exception.

You may have heard “G’day mate”, “fair dinkum”, and “strewth!” before, but the dialect is much broader than that. Try these next time you speak to an Aussie and you might convince them you’re “true blue”.

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Actor and voice coach Amy Jo Jackson has consulted on productions of Venus in Fur, Henry IV, and the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. An experienced actor herself, whose credits include The Laramie Project, Into the Woods, Twelfth Night, and The Rocky Horror Show, Jackson teaches actors and non-actors how to reduce unwanted accents or gain desired ones. We talked to her about her process, the challenge of increasing intelligibility without devaluing diverse dialects and heritage, and resources outside of personal coaching.

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Steven Pinker, the famous linguist who isn't Noam Chomsky, doesn't think using "literally" figuratively is all that bad. "The figurative use doesn't mean the language is deteriorating," he says in a 2014 interview, comparing it to the hyperbolic use of "terrific" or "wonderful".

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There's this thing we tend to do when we hear the awful news that people we know or admire have cancer or other dire diagnoses. We transform them into courageous warriors, ready to battle and conquer the forces of the evil disease. They're suddenly heroes. Fighters. It can feel odd to them because just a bit ago, they were everyday humans, sometimes brave, sometimes scared shitless, trying to navigate the twists and turns of life like everybody else.

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We all know the rule: "I before E, except after C..." except... uh... something. Good news: You can forget everything except the "I before E" part. And even that will only help you guess correctly three times out of four.

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As a youth, I was a prescriptivist. I thought that correcting other people's speech was doing them a favour. I overheard people saying "Where ya at?" into the phone and muttered, "It's 'Where are you?'" I was technically correct, and I sincerely believed that was the best kind of correct. When I finally got my own mobile phone, I realised that "Where are you?" sounds too aggressive, and the softening effect of "Where ya at?" is more important than the grammar.

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Reading is dope, so if you want to do more of it you should probably get better at it. The average human meat sack can inhale words through their eyes at a prodigious 250 words per minute, but speed-reading software can supposedly up your intake to close to 1000 words per minute if you're dedicated. Be warned: Various studies have shown that speed-reading methods might not be as effective as slower, traditional reading, and may dampen comprehension.

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How can modern parents raise the next generation to be free from corrosive gender and racial stereotypes? By the time children start primary school, gender and race shape their lives in many ways that parents might want to prevent. As early as Year 1, girls are less likely than boys to think members of their own gender are "really, really smart". And by just age three, white children in the United States implicitly endorse stereotypes that African-American faces are angrier than white faces.