Super clever animation is filled with idioms brought to life

This short animation by Amanda Koh and Mollie Helms is fun to watch because it bring idioms and other common sayings to life. Featuring the elephant in the room and the skeleton in the closet, sayings like a clean slate and shooting fish in a barrel and others are shown off literally (and sillily). » 4/03/15 12:38pm 4/03/15 12:38pm

10 Things People Once Complained Would Ruin The English Language

You've probably heard that English is being ruined — by the Internet, by texting, by Americans, by young people who have no respect for proper grammar. But it turns out that people have always worried over English, and over the centuries, have accused all sorts of things of "ruining" the language. » 2/06/15 1:28pm 2/06/15 1:28pm

​Is the Innanet RUINING teh English Language??? ¯\(°_o)/¯

There exists a certain paranoia that the web will somehow destroy the English language as we all start communicating solely in LOLs and smileys. But seen another way, the linguistic tricks we've enlisted to portray attitude and action, tone and meaning through text online are just the natural evolution of the written… » 1/22/15 1:10pm 1/22/15 1:10pm

Can dogs really understand humans? The scientific answer

I think my dog Amos—attentively listening above—understands me. I'm not talking about his hundred tricks learned thanks to these guys and the power of the clicker (he follows commands better than most kids.) I'm talking about true understanding. This video explains why this thought isn't crazy at all. » 1/08/15 8:36pm 1/08/15 8:36pm

Skype Translator Hands-On: Close But No Babel Fish

When Skype announced its real-time translation program back in May, most of us seized on the sci-fi-ness off it all—Star Trek's universal translator, Babel fish, etc. But the technology is very real, and has been for years, just it separate pieces. Skype Translator is is the commercial culmination of those efforts,… » 12/16/14 5:45pm 12/16/14 5:45pm

How English describes color vs how Chinese describes color

Here's a fascinating visualization created by Muyueh Lee that shows the differences between how the English language and Chinese language each describe colors. On the left, you can see the number of English names for color hues (there's a lot!) and on the right, the number of Chinese names (there's a little!). » 11/24/14 10:00pm 11/24/14 10:00pm

How to detect when someone is lying just by the way he talks

We all carry a portable lie detector at all times and it's called ears. According to this Ted Lesson we can tell if someone is lying just by analyzing his language. This technique called "Linguistic Text Analysis" is based on the difference between how we structure sentences in invented and true stories. » 11/04/14 9:44pm 11/04/14 9:44pm

Letters, Ranked (by Futurists of 1900)

Do you like the letter C? Have any particular attachment to the letter X? How about the letter Q? Well, back in the year 1900, some people thought we'd be rid of them by now. And while they haven't actually disappeared, the futurists of 1900 were certainly right about that whole condensing of language thing. I mean,… » 10/02/14 12:49pm 10/02/14 12:49pm

How An Octogenarian Preserved An Endangered Native American Language

It's easy to take translations for granted when Google can swap between Albanian and Zulu with the click of a button, but even that tech has real world limitations. Marie Wilcox is the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, one of 130 different endangered Native American languages in the United States that don't have any… » 9/25/14 8:30pm 9/25/14 8:30pm

The World's Offensive Place Names, Mapped

We've all sat in the passenger seat, notionally giving directions to a driver, but instead giggling at the slightly rudely named towns on the map. Fortunately, now you can find all those amusingly offensive place names, across the entire world, on one wonderfully juvenile interactive map. Maybe, perhaps, possibly a… » 7/11/14 7:30am 7/11/14 7:30am

Proof that the English language is crazy and makes no sense

English isn't the hardest language in the world to learn but it's definitely a crazy one with wacky rules. Things that apply for some words, never seem to be considered for similar ones. Change one letter here and it can sound completely different there but sound the same somewhere else. It's all pretty ridiculous. » 4/02/14 12:13am 4/02/14 12:13am