Category: Uncategorized

sign-language

How do deaf people read?

My brother and his wife are sign language interpreters speaking American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is its own language with syntax and grammar and the signs are not merely replacements for English words. The...

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What’s an Allophone?

A phoneme is a distinct unit of sound. There are about 40 unique phonemes in American English, 24 consonant sounds and 16 vowel sounds. But of course, this division of sounds is not absolute....

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Is It a Baa or Faa?

Why are we so insistent on using video in the All English courses? When we learn a language we think we are just learning sounds, but in fact communication is so much more. Previously, I’ve discussed...

which-one-is-red

50 Shades of Vowels

Look at these glasses of wine from a French winery. Obviously they are all reds. Now let me ask you: Which one is really red? There are lots of shades of red, as you...

grammar-2

Grammar Byte: Parts of Speech

There are different kinds of words, according to the particular part (or role) a given word plays when it is used in speech or writing.  We give each kind of word a label that shows which part...

noun-family

Grammar Byte: Meet the Noun Family

NOUNS Nouns are naming words for people, places, things, ideas, and animals. PRONOUNS Words that can be used to replace a noun. ex. you, it, that, we, there ADJECTIVES Words that describe or modify...

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What If English Was Phonetically Consistent?

Reading English can be frustrating because the spelling of sounds varies a lot. Take for example the letters “ough”. They can be pronounced in at least eight different ways: Enough Plough Through Though Thought...

measure

Measuring the Immeasurable

One of the big problems with education is how to measure student results. We tend to measure what is easily measurable rather than measuring what’s truly important. And this especially true in measuring language...

whats-an-adjective

Grammar Byte: What’s an Adjective?

Adjectives are words that describe the qualities of a nouns. Adjectives are related to the senses: Feeling, tasting, seeing, smelling, hearing. In English, describing words come before the thing (the noun) that they are...

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Sounds have no meaning

It’s interesting to read something like this. There are no languages where sounds have consistent meanings from word to word. This generalization is what Charles Hockett (“The origin of speech”, Scientific American, 203: 88-96, 1960)...