Words and Experience

“We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.”

— Vladimir Nabokov

Original Pronunciation of Shakespearean Plays

This is a fascinating introduction to the differences in pronunciation of Modern English and Early Modern English (Shakespeare’s time). Explanations and examples are very clear by linguist David Crystal and his son Ben, an actor.

English Phonetic Chart

phonetic-chart-corpora

Here is an English phonetic chart I had created based on Adrian Underhill‘s Sound Foundations. I highly recommend this book as a workbook for teachers.

No ham in hamburger

Firstly, the patty in hamburgers are made from ground beef. So definitely no ham there. But more importantly the term ‘hamburger’ refers to people from Hamburg in Germany (like ‘Londoner’) from whom this dish is supposed to have come from. ‘Burg’ in old German means ‘castle’. The ‘Ham’ in Hamburg is still in dispute. Ham in old German means ‘be crooked’ which could refer to its place along the River Elbe. But the original name was ‘Hammaburg’ in which the meaning and origin of ‘Hamma’ is unclear.

No Egg in Eggplant

Of course there is no egg in eggplant.

Apparently the name comes from a white egg-shaped variety cultivated by 18th century Europeans.

More interesting is the original name ‘aubergine’ which (according to Concise Oxford Dictionary) has its roots from Arabic and therefore the route (no pun intended, again) through which it made its way into Europe.

English is a crazy language

I am going to have a great time analysing these. There are either cognitive or historical bases for all of these I am sure.

The History of English in Ten Minutes (or we have a short attention span)

Here is the YouTube version of the great little podcast The History of English in Ten Minutes produced by Open University. As a matter of fact the history of English can be summarized in ten seconds with the chapter titles:

  1. Anglo-Saxon
  2. The Norman Conquest
  3. Shakespeare
  4. The King James Bible
  5. The English of Science
  6. English and Empire
  7. The Age of the Dictionary
  8. American English
  9. Internet English
  10. Global English

Enjoy.

South Western Russia origin of English a Turkey

It seems English, an Indo-European language, isn’t from south western Russia or north eastern India as once thought but closer to home in Turkey. it is also much older than previous excepted theory by 4,000 years. Known as the Anatolia hypothesis it was suggested in 1980s and given strength now.

Posters and Infobesity

Do you have an infobesity problem? Here at the Corpora Institute we have the solutions. For more information see this website or a paper app poster near you.

C4N Y0U R3AD 7H15?

I came across this via an old schoolmate.

I have no idea where it comes from. If anyone knows please let me know.

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.