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Literacy today requires more than the ability to read and write

Literacy today requires more than the ability to read and write

The 8th of September was proclaimed International Literacy Day by the UNESCO in 1966 to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies as a matter of dignity and human rights, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies. International Literacy Day 2020 will focus on ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the…

Meet Tucson Prime, the stray dog who “landed a job” at a car dealership

Meet Tucson Prime, the stray dog who “landed a job” at a car dealership

This stray dog visited a Hyundai dealership every single day, where it would constantly hang around the showroom. The local staff soon realised that the sweet pup had nowhere else to go, and during one particularly stormy and rainy night they decided to take the friendly dog in. The next day they named it ‘Tucson Prime’. Initially, the showroom took…

International Lefthanders Day: how the notion of left-handedness as “wrong” is embedded in our language

International Lefthanders Day: how the notion of left-handedness as “wrong” is embedded in our language

Did you know that the notion of left-handedness as being “wrong” is embedded in our language already? For example, the adjective ‘sinister’ comes from the Latin ‘sinestra’ or ‘left hand’. Wonder what it’s like to see the world from a “left-handed” point of view? US Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were/are left-handed. Or there are artists Leonardo Da…

Why we have created new language for Coronavirus

Why we have created new language for Coronavirus

From ‘covidiots’ to ‘quarantine and chill’, the pandemic has led to many terms that help people laugh and commiserate. Throughout history, challenging circumstances have given rise to new ways of expressing those challenges. George Eliot, the 19th Century writer who was famously frustrated by rigid gender and lifestyle norms, is credited with the first recorded use of the word ‘frustrating’. More…

Linguists found the world’s “weirdest” languages – and English is one of them

Linguists found the world’s “weirdest” languages – and English is one of them

Is English a “weird” language? Many of us might feel this is true when we’re trying to explain its complex spelling rules, or the meanings of idioms such as “it’s raining cats and dogs” to someone who is learning it. Teaching or learning any language is, however, never an easy task. But what is a “weird” language anyway? As linguists,…