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 Monday 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

What words were invented the year you were born?

As far as humans are concerned, the world didn't exist until, well, they existed. That means anything that happened before you were born is mere fairy tales and make believe conversation. But what about those words that filled those tales and conversations? When did they start existing? When were those words born?… » 12/20/13 10:56pm 12/20/13 10:56pm

Selfie, Derp and Phablet Are Now Words in the Oxford Dictionaries Online

Because language doesn't really matter anymore to the Internet, words that people use online all the time even though people are often too embarrassed to say it in real life are now a part of the dictionary. The Oxford Dictionaries Online is adding these wonky words to its dictionary: twerk, phablet, derp, selfie,… » 8/28/13 2:00am 8/28/13 2:00am

More Popular Idioms Translated to Make Sense with Today's Technology

When's the last time you put all your eggs in one basket? Probably never. But! When's the last time you put all your data in one hard drive? Probably right now (you gotta learn better backup habits). And though we know that practice makes perfect and that patience is a virtue, what actually applies to real life is… » 8/21/13 10:00pm 8/21/13 10:00pm

Google's Definition of Literally Literally Isn't Literal

Grammar loving folks who love to point out where commas should be inserted instead of periods and how semi-colons are both simultaneously underused and overused, should pick up their red pens, furrowed brows and pitchforks at the fact that the definition of literally is literally no longer the literal definition of… » 8/14/13 8:38pm 8/14/13 8:38pm