“… 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


Let’s travel to South America, specifically to the indigenous tribe called the Hi’aiti’ihi, who speak the Pirahã language deep within the Amazonian jungle. This tribe has been the source of much controversy and discussion among linguistics … Continue reading Pirahã

Atlantean & Basque

My initial encounter with the Basque language (Euskara) was a bit of a shock, particularly since I was in Spain and, well, expected Spanish/ Castellano to be the default. I was hiking across the northern … Continue reading Atlantean & Basque

The Moken

The Moken If people without numbers are not enough for you today, the Moken Tribe–living near Thailand and Burma–will fix that. They do not have a word for “want” in their language. Likewise, “worry” is not … Continue reading The Moken

Aymara & Quechua

About Time Aymara and Quechua are spoken in the Andes mountains and highlands of South America. While many fewer people speak Aymara compared to Quechua (2.4 million to 8-12 million, respectively), both are relatively unknown … Continue reading Aymara & Quechua

Translations Gone Wrong

Recently, students have been talking about translation (written) and interpretation (spoken) in Spanish class. This week, they focused more on translation, after taking a moment to differentiate the two. You see, translation and interpretation are … Continue reading Translations Gone Wrong


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 … 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 … Continue reading Endangered Languages


Technology Tech Gets A Time-Out Silicon Valley Parents Are Raising Their Kids Tech Free This Panda is Dancing – Time Well Spent The Digital Language Divide I Used to Be a Human Being (Andrew Sullivan) … 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 & Hyperpolyglots … Continue reading Multiple Languages


“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” -Miguel de Cervantes TEDx- Direct Links How to Find a Wonderful Idea (OK Go) Gorgeous Portraits of the World’s Vanishing People (Jimmy Nelson) How … 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” Do Goats Have Accents? … Continue reading Linguistics