“… a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It’s a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.” -Wade Davis

No Numbers or Worries

Deep in the Amazon Rainforest lives an indigenous tribe called the Hi’aiti’ihi, who speak the Pirahã language. This language is unique in several ways, but primarily world-renowned in linguistic communities because it contains no numbers. Not a single one. Not even one. Can you imagine such a world? I look at the clock, and see digits. I … Continue reading No Numbers or Worries

Despacito and Dr. Seuss

Nowadays, the song Despacito is probably as well known as Dr. Seuss. What you might not think about are the translation jobs that allow this information to circulate worldwide. People dedicate their lives to adapting and translating books, songs, and more into other languages, which takes time. For example, they say that Red Fish, Blue Fish took over a … Continue reading Despacito and Dr. Seuss

Translations Gone Wrong

Students have been talking about translation (written) and interpretation (spoken) in Spanish class recently. This week, they focused more on translation, after taking a moment to differentiate the two. You see, translation and interpretation are often confused and used interchangeably. However, they are two very different professions. In a nutshell… Translation is written. You translate … Continue reading Translations Gone Wrong

Aymara & Quechua

I love that learning about other languages and cultures always gives us new perspectives. It is like when you stand on a chair: the room is still the same room, but you notice different things about it. As we deepen our language study, we will begin to notice new perspectives embedded in other languages and cultures. … Continue reading Aymara & Quechua


There is an endangered language in the US called Wukchumni, that only has one living speaker remaining. Intent on preserving her language for future generations and documenting it for linguists, Marie Wilcox is working on writing a dictionary to compile all of the words in her language. Can you imagine such a task? Our challenge is ‘merely’ to download all of … Continue reading Wukchumni

Endangered Languages

“An endangered language, or moribund language, is a language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language. Language loss occurs when the language has no more native speakers and becomes a ‘dead language’ ” (Wikipedia). Please see below for links to articles about endangered languages. For a more academic source than Wikipedia, Ethnologue is … Continue reading Endangered Languages


TechnologyTech Gets A Time-OutSilicon Valley Parents Are Raising Their Kids Tech FreeThis Panda is Dancing – Time Well SpentThe Digital Language DivideI Used to Be a Human Being (Andrew Sullivan)The ‘Busy’ Trap (Tim Kreider)The Disease of Being Busy (Omid Safi)Thinking About a Lack of Thinking (Grant Wiggins)Thoughtlessness, Part 3 (Grant Wiggins)Thoughtlessness, Part 2 (Grant Wiggins)Can … Continue reading Tech/Education

Multiple Languages

“The hyperpolyglot is someone who is both a gifted and massive language accumulator. They possess a particular neurology that’s well-suited for learning languages very quickly and being able to use them” (Michael Erard*). Multiple Languages and HyperpolyglotsHow to Maintain Multiple Languages (Agnieszka Karch)Hyperpolyglots – Secrets of Language Superlearners*How Many Languages Can You Juggle?Man Fluent in 11 Languages (Alex … Continue reading Multiple Languages


TEDx- Direct LinksHow to Find a Wonderful Idea (OK Go)Gorgeous Portraits of the World’s Vanishing People (Jimmy Nelson)How Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds Every Day (Tristan Harris)What Adults Can Learn From Kids (Adora Svitak)The Power of Introverts (Susan Cain)Dreams from Endangered Cultures (Wade Davis)Txtng Is Killing Language. JK!!! (John McWhorter)Psychedelic Science (Fabian Oefner)The Danger … Continue reading TEDx


Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. Linguistics The World Atlas of Language Structures History of the Word “Tea” Linguistic Bots Explain Why Big Groups Produce Simple Grammar Speaking Out: Mapping the World’s Dialects Chart: The World’s Most Spoken Languages And Their Speakers … Continue reading Linguistics