The human and the frog

Aug 22, 2011 by

[the author thanks Olga Kagan for inspiration] Imagine a bewitched frog, waiting to be kissed in order to turn back into a human. Given a choice between a prince and a princess, who will the enchanted frog kiss? If you are an English...

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Gender vs. Noun Class: same or different?

Apr 8, 2011 by

Some familiar Indo-European languages like German, French and Russian have gender systems: in those languages nouns belong to one of two or three classes (or types). Typically, such gender systems are based on the natural gender/sex...

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What’s in the name: Germans?

Mar 22, 2011 by

Sometimes keeping track of peoples and their languages is not an easy task because the same group (and its language) may bear different names in different languages. Quite often we refer to a group by a name that is different from...

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On Universal Grammar and Related Matters

Aug 23, 2010 by

Recently, Lera Boroditsky, a psychologist at Stanford and editor in chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology, published an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on the subject of whether language influences the way people...

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Dividing up the world

Jun 14, 2010 by

In the last posting we touched on a very important topic: lexical divergencies between languages. When it comes to languages learning or translation, people often think that words (for the most part) match up in meaning across...

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