Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.
Kazakhstan's president is betting that transforming the alphabet will help his country bolster its national identity, ditch its Russian and Soviet colonial past and better integrate itself in the modern world.
Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels have become global hits. They are rife with love and sex and the mob — and commentary about language. This week on the podcast we explore Italy's linguistic history and the tensions between Italian dialects and the lingua franca.
We humans have been dropping "um," "uh" and other expressions of hesitation into our speech for a long time — maybe for as long as we've had language. More recently, linguists are noting a shift in usage across a number of Germanic languages from "uh" to "um."
Chinese people spend more time and money learning English than people in any other country in the world. More than 300 million people are learning English there. Put into perspective, that's roughly the population of the United States. And these aren't just children learning in school. More and more adults are hitting the English books in their spare time.
The Etruscans lived in central Italy more than 2500 years ago. They were "the teachers of our teachers," the Romans. Yet we still can't be sure where they came from. The key to unlocking the Etruscan enigma may lie in genetics and linguistics.
Yowei Shaw was born in the United States and speaks virtually no Mandarin. Her grandfather is from Taiwan and speaks virtually no English. Kid talk was fine when Yowei was a kid. But now she's grown up, she's determined to have proper conversations with Yeye— before it's too late.
Southwest Airlines now says the college student it removed from a flight was ejected because another passenger believed he had made "threatening comments," including using the term "inshallah" — Arabic for "God willing."
Because the word's origins are murky, it's difficult to know just how insulting calling someone a "coonass" used to be. Today, some Cajuns view the word as an ethnic slur, while others have embraced it as a badge of honor.
The military picked up plenty of slang and phrases over the course of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and pretty much all of it is unprintable or unknown to people who didn't serve. Here are a few choice terms that you can put to use.