TEDEd: A Brief History of Plural Word…s.

From TEDEd:

All it takes is a simple S to make most English words plural. But it hasn’t always worked that way (and there are, of course, exceptions). John McWhorter looks back to the good old days when English was newly split from German — and books, names and eggs were beek, namen and eggru!

Watch the lesson on TEDEd.com.

TEDEd: “Who Speaks Wukchumni?”

From TEDEd:

In this short film, Who Speaks Wukchumni?, we meet a Native American woman named Marie Wilcox, who is the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, and the dictionary she created. Indigenous languages around the world are vanishing at a rapid rate. In this lesson, explore what could be lost when a language disappears.

See it on TEDEdhttp://ed.ted.com/featured/IoaUQzbC

Guest Post: How Texting Affects the Vocabulary of the 21st-Century Generation

Guest Post By: Chassie Lee

The debate rages on, some arguing that texting marks the degradation of language, while others protest against such claims, suggesting instead that texting enriches the spoken language in ways not previously imagined.

Sociologists and psychologists have a keen interest in how texting affects language and social interaction. Studies illustrate that IMing and other forms of instant communication don’t replace conventional social interaction, but extend it. In fact, contrary to some studies, texting does not “dumb down” a child’s abilities, or limit their vocabulary.

Texting affects our generation’s vocabulary use, but not in a bad way, as many people argue. Texting is not merely abbreviated written language, it is the spoken word hastily but still intelligibly encoded for communication purposes. And this encoding necessitates skill, speed and efficiency.

Texting is informal, on-the-go speech. To equate texting with literature or to compare it with formal communication is to do justice to neither aspect of language. Texting is not meant to be formal or always accurate. It’s meant to be an instrument for facilitating our fast-paced lives and deal with our overwhelming workloads.

As John McWhorten adeptly explains in his TED talk and associated article in Time, “in its economy, spontaneity and even vulgarity, texting is actually a new kind of talking.”

Although words like LOL and other slang terms are often used in face-to-face conversations, this doesn’t imply that texting ruins or limits people’s vocabulary and eloquence. Rather than negatively affecting language, adept use of texting and instant messaging are in fact proof of language mastery. Texting is a tech-based linguistic skill that require perfect phonological awareness. Texting is not an arbitrary simplification of the written word. Its compactness follows rigorous phonological and syntax rules, otherwise it would make no sense to either sender and receiver.

Most students don’t attempt to write essays the way they compose text messages or tweets. They are fully aware of the differences in formality, function and aim of each tool, and each form of written communication.

Of course, it is important to educate and remind children that more professional and formal writing skills need to be improved upon by reading books, so that they are prepared for their educational and career requirements. However, it’s usually simply necessary to remind them that texting is only one way to communicate, and its usefulness shouldn’t be abused.


About the Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator  of Ultimate Vocabulary which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.

Owed to a Spell Chequer

I halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plane lee marques four my revue

Miss steaks aye ken knot sea

Eye ran this poem threw it

Your sure reel glad two no

It’s vary polished in it’s weigh

My chequer tolled me sew

A chequer is a bless sing

It freeze yew lodes of thyme

It helps me awl stiles two reed

And aides mi when aye rime

To rite with care is quite a feet

Of witch won should be proud

And wee mussed dew the best wee can

Sew flaws are knot aloud

And now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate flare

Their are know faults with in my cite

Of nun eye am a wear

Each frays come posed up on my screen

Eye trussed to be a joule

The chequer poured o’er every word

To cheque sum spelling rule

That’s why aye brake in two averse

My righting wants too pleas

Sow now ewe sea wye aye dew prays

Such soft wear for pea seas


Author: Joe Tenn, faculty member at Sonoma State University, adapted from Eric Bear Albrecht (with apologies to Percy Dovetonsils.

F in Exams

F in Exams coverSometimes, as a teacher, you just want to give points for a wrong answer because it’s just so creative or ludicrous that you feel they really will need those couple of points.

Describe the shape and structure of the Milky Way.
It’s kind of like a long, bumpy rectangle.  It’s completely covered in milk chocolate, but inside there are two delicious layers: chocolaty nougat and caramel.

Explain the saying: Some people don’t look up until they are flat on their backs.
Some people can’t look up because something has happened to their necks.  For example, if a person gets kicked in the neck by a kung-fu midget, they will not be able to look up.

Upon ascending the throne the first thing Queen Elizabeth II did was to…
Sit down

Summarize the major events of the Cold War.
It started off by someone throwing an ice cream & then someone threw a popsicle back.

At first, I laughed.  Then, I laughed so hard I began to cry.  And then I became concerned for the human race.

expand_2x+yIt is possible this book is fiction.  No one could be that stupid.  Right?

Fact: There are half a dozen to a dozen fonts that look like handwriting in the book.  Fact: Except for a few crossed out answers, all words are spelled correctly.  Fact: The copyright page does not state the book is a work of fiction (conversely, it does not state it is non-fiction either).  Fact:  It is found in the humor section of the bookstore.

Could they really be real answers?

Change 7/8 to a decimal.

Steve is driving his car.  He is traveling at 60 feet/second and the speed limit is 40mph.  Is Steve speeding?
He could find out by checking his speedometer.

What does “terminal illness” mean?
When you become ill at the airport.

What is a vacuum?
Something my mom says I should use more often.

Fiction.  The human race can’t really be this stupid.

State two major world religions.
1. The force in Star Wars2. Football

Summarize the key developments in the Industrial Revolution.
Industry revolted

Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
At the bottom.

In either case, I know at least one of them is true…

Explain the process of “learning”.
A process by which information goes in one ear and out of the other.

F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers is authored by Richard Benson and is available at bookstores, Amazon, and on Kindle.

Guest Post: Language Degrees are Key to UK’s Economy

Guest Post Written By: James Harlan

For the United Kingdom to regain its economic strength, the country should expand its exportation. But unfortunately, this highly advanced nation is lacking in ready and future supply of personnel with the handy foreign languages skills. To expand its exports better and reap the fruits faster, the UK needs people with these skills.


While there is a need for a work force that is language adept, language degree courses at UK universities have been closing one after another. According to the results of studies conducted by Education Guardian on course listings at UCAS, the number of course closures have piled up through the years from 1998, 2007 and 2014-15. This has resulted to the number of universities providing specialist language degrees going down to 56 at present from 1998’s 93. That is a drop that is nearing the half mark.


From 2007 to 2014, the number of universities offering French language specialist degrees including single honours and joint honours with another language dropped from 79 to 55. Spanish degrees of the same categories fell from 71 to 54, German 64 to 44 and Italian 39 to 33. These trends are greatly severe compared to the relatively slight decline from the previous period from 1998 to 2007. These are declines of 30%, 24%, 31% and 15% respectively. They are like shrinkages of a third and a quarter.


Experts are worried about the downward trend. They warn that if it continues, some degree courses and entire language departments will close every year. Relating to this, Southampton University modern languages head Michael Kelly who has also worked as an adviser to both the coalition and Labour governments says that universities have been finding it difficult to get enough students be able to open classes and keep degree courses in their enrollment.


Mr. Kelly adds that middle ranking universities are the ones greatly hit as they are the ones who are forced to close language courses. Other institutions who have been forced to cancel course and degree programme offerings on specialised and other language subjects are some post-92 universities which are having financial difficulties. Survey and analysis from researchers find that specialist language degrees which includes both single honours and joint honours with another language have been entirely cancelled in 24 universities in the six year span of 2007 to 2013. Further, a related study shows that the trend has continued and increased for the 2014-15 academic year.


Specialist language degree courses have developed the elitist reputation as they entail higher costs for universities and the resulting higher tuition fees. Most of the financial requirement take the form of staffing and incidental expenditures. To maintain the specialist language department, a university needs many lecturers. Specialist language lecturers cannot simply cover for among one another. For example, a Spanish lecturer is not expected to accept German classes or called in to substitute in them.


Applicants and employees with language qualifications are sought after by employers. People with foreign language education, skills or even background are very few. This means that language degrees are good qualifications for job applicants. University Council of Modern Languages chair and Open University language learning and teaching professor Jim Coleman relates that language degrees are good for employability. He adds however that vocational language degrees are disappearing.

About the Author: James Harlan is a researcher and statistician where he is able to give help for professionals and students in dissertation writing .

Monolingual vs. Bilingual: Are Two Languages Better Than One?

Many high schools in the United States require at least two years of foreign language in order to graduate.  In some states, however, many students feel they will never use Spanish, French, German, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, or any other language the World Language department offers.  So why do we insist on a second language?  It’s not just about the language…my proficiency in English improved with the systematic study of a second language.  Take a look at the differences between being monolingual (one language) and bilingual (two or more languages).

infografia_es_mejor_la_educacion_bilibgueSource: Teach them English