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  • June 22, 2014
  • 10:46 PM

English in the Global Village

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Tourism has been found to be beneficial for minority language maintenance in a number of contexts from around the world. For instance, Anand Torrents Alcaraz has recently shown here on Language on the Move that the growing tourism industry in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 10, 2014
  • 07:59 PM

Bodies on the Move: Salsa, Language and Transnationalism

by Britta Schneider in Language on the Move

In my post on English in Berlin, I wondered what is required for a language to become ‘local’, and about the perhaps problematic tradition of defining languages on the basis of territory. Although it has been quite some time since … Continue reading →... Read more »

Schneider, Britta. (2014) Salsa, Language and Transnationalism. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. info:/

  • June 3, 2014
  • 08:06 PM

Superdiversity: another Eurocentric idea?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The current issue of Begegnung (“Encounter”), the magazine of German International Schools, has a feature about the German School in Montevideo, Uruguay. The school was founded in 1857, at a time when increasing numbers of German-speaking immigrants arrived in Uruguay, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 26, 2014
  • 10:06 PM

Pallarès, Catalan, the Pyrenees and tourism in global times

by Anand Torrents Alcaraz in Language on the Move

When thinking of promoting tourism in a mountainous area of the Catalan Pyrenees it might seem as if using Pallarès, the local dialect of the Western Catalan type, with very specific vocabulary that visitors from other Catalan-speaking areas are not … Continue reading →... Read more »

Boyra, J. . (2013) Anàlisi dels instruments d’ordenació i dels recursos territorials i l’activitat turística a la comarca del Pallars Sobirà. GREPAT/ Escola Universitària Formatic Barna, Barcelona. info:/

  • May 6, 2014
  • 04:53 PM

What do we mean by “I mean”?

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When analysing spoken English, it doesn’t take long to encounter discourse markers, the single words or phrases that speakers commonly use to mark their stance or organise their message. Common discourse markers include well, now, you know and i mean. In the April 2014 issue of English for Specific Purposes, Francisco Javier Fernández-Polo examines the […]... Read more »

  • April 28, 2014
  • 11:24 AM

The Mystery of Language Evolution

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Hauser, et al. have a co-authored article on The Mystery of Language Evolution. It’s a review of current directions in the field with the basic message that we don’t yet understand enough for empirical evidence from animal studies, archaeology, palaeontology, genetics or modelling to inform theories of language evolution. Here I summarise the paper and offer some criticisms.... Read more »

Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, & Richard Lewontin. (2014) The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/

  • March 31, 2014
  • 12:28 AM

Linguistic penalty in the job interview

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

A common explanation for the un- and underemployment of migrants is that their English is not good enough. Despite the overuse of this explanation, we do, in fact, not have a particularly clear idea what “good English” for a particular … Continue reading →... Read more »

Roberts, Celia. (2013) The Gatekeeping of Babel: Job Interviews and the Linguistic Penalty. A. Duchêne, M. Moyer , 81-94. info:/

  • March 30, 2014
  • 07:33 AM

The right inferior frontal cortex - The brain’s cognitive brake

by Robert Seymour in NeuroFractal

Whilst go/no-go tasks and stop-tasks have given researchers a lot of information about “pure” inhibition, this is not how people typically stop themselves performing actions in real life. In the past few years a slightly more ecologically valid paradigm has emerged in which participants anticipate they might have to inhibit a response, followed by the normal Go/No-Go signal. Participant’s responses are very slightly slower on go trials if they anticipate having to stop. This ha........ Read more »

  • March 28, 2014
  • 06:57 PM

Why mixing languages isn’t so bad after all

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

by Kaisa Pietikäinen You know those moments when you’re speaking English (as a lingua franca, or ELF), and all of a sudden your mind goes blank? You know the word you’re looking for, but you just can’t get it into your head. You might remember it in another language, but your brain just isn’t connecting […]... Read more »

Pietikäinen, K. (2014) ELF couples and automatic code-switching. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 3(1), 1-26. DOI: 10.1515/jelf-2014-0001  

  • March 26, 2014
  • 09:30 AM

Animals, Pets and Vermin

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

What do animals mean to you and what role do they play in your life? These and related questions were recently asked of ordinary people by the Mass Observation Project in the UK, and the results, in a paper by Alison Sealey and Nickie Charles, are fascinating.Photo: pjmorley / ShutterstockSince 1937, the Mass Observation Projecthas been collecting information from ordinary people about life in Britain. Set up with the idea of creating “an anthropology of ourselves,” data collection con........ Read more »

Sealey, A., & Charles, N. (2013) "What Do Animals Mean to You?": Naming and Relating to Nonhuman Animals. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 26(4), 485-503. DOI: 10.2752/175303713X13795775535652  

  • February 25, 2014
  • 09:37 PM

English at the Olympics

by Kimie Takahashi 高橋君江 in Language on the Move

Many people would agree that English is the language of globalization. English is almost always adopted as the official language of international events, including the Olympic Games. It does not mean, however, that the presumed global status of English is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Zhang, J. (2011) Language Policy and Planning for the 2008 Beijing Olympics: An Investigation of the Discursive Construction of an Olympic City and a Global Population. PhD thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney. info:/

  • February 12, 2014
  • 11:28 PM

Inventing languages

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

An objection that is commonly raised against Esperanto and other auxiliary languages is that they are “invented.” Somehow, being “invented” is assumed to give Esperanto a shady character: it’s just not natural. The problem with this view is that – … Continue reading →... Read more »

Mühlhäusler, Peter. (2000) Language Planning and Language Ecology. Current issues in language planning, 1(3), 306-362. DOI: 10.1080/14664200008668011  

  • February 12, 2014
  • 01:45 PM

Three Seconds: Poems, Cubes and the Brain

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Temporal order can be assessed in a rather straightforward experimental manner. Research subjects can be provided sequential auditory clicks, one to each ear. If the clicks are one second apart, nearly all participants can correctly identify whether or not the click in the right ear came before the one in the left ear. It turns out that this holds true even if the clicks are only 100 milliseconds (0.1 seconds) apart. The threshold for being able to correctly assign a temporal order to such brief........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2014
  • 08:40 AM

Retiring Procrustean Linguistics

by James Winters in A Replicated Typo 2.0

One example of where Procrustean Linguistics has seemingly led us astray is in the pervasive notion that ambiguity is dysfunctional for communication. Ambiguity exists at many layers of language. You have lexical ambiguity, syntactic ambiguity, scope ambiguity and many other types (see here). Broadly conceived, then, ambiguity corresponds to any state in which a linguistic code contains forms that are conventionally associated with more than one meaning (Hoefler, 2009). Why is ambiguity consider........ Read more »

Piantadosi ST, Tily H, & Gibson E. (2012) The communicative function of ambiguity in language. Cognition, 122(3), 280-91. PMID: 22192697  

  • February 6, 2014
  • 03:27 AM

Emergency service provision in linguistically diverse societies

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

A few years ago, emergency service provision to speakers of languages other than English in Australia came under scrutiny when an Afghan woman tried to call the police but did not receive any assistance a few days before she was … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 19, 2014
  • 05:45 PM

What happens to our minds and memories in healthy ageing?

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

In our recent paper, The myth of cognitive decline, my colleagues and I suggest that the answer to this question is, “it’s complicated.” And if you think that the answer involves a steady deterioration of cognitive function, we present a series of findings that may make you think again. Take, for instance, our ability to […]... Read more »

Ramscar M, Hendrix P, Shaoul C, Milin P, & Baayen H. (2014) The myth of cognitive decline: non-linear dynamics of lifelong learning. Topics in Cognitive Science, 6(1), 5-42. PMID: 24421073  

  • December 9, 2013
  • 10:26 PM

Language in developmental and acquired disorders

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

As I mentioned in an earlier post, last June I had the great pleasure and honor of participating in a discussion meeting on Language in Developmental and Acquired Disorders hosted by the Royal Society and organized by Dorothy Bishop, Kate Nation, and Karalyn Patterson. Among the many wonderful things about this meeting was that it brought together people who study similar kinds of language deficit issues but in very different populations -- children with developmental language deficits such as d........ Read more »

Mirman, D, & Britt, A. E. (2014) What we talk about when we talk about access deficits. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1634). info:/

  • December 3, 2013
  • 05:06 PM

Monolingualism is bad for the economy

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In most countries of immigration, linguistic diversity is by and large ignored by policy makers. If there are language-related policies, they take a deficit view of migrants and their children and focus on improving their English (or whatever the national … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 30, 2013
  • 04:15 PM

On the other side: variations in organising chunks in ELF

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

When working with ELF data – English used as a lingua franca between second/foreign-language speakers – one of the things that stands out are slight variations in conventional chunks of language. A formulaic chunk like as a matter of fact might be realised as as the matter of fact, or you could hear now that […]... Read more »

  • November 26, 2013
  • 12:16 AM

English is excellence

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

“Using English is the sign of a great mind. Discuss.” Sounds like an absurdly bigoted essay topic? While I’ve made up the topic and while most readers will baulk at such an explicit association of English with academic excellence, most … Continue reading →... Read more »

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