“A Linguistic Iron Curtain”

Not learning other languages means reducing your intellectual, cultural, and political horizon. A dangerous limitation that, it seems, has started to affect the English-speaking world in important ways. As Edith Grossman, translator and author of the book Why Translation Matters, writes in a recent article in Foreign Policy: The statistics are shocking in this age…

“Das Lied der Deutschen:” A Biography of the German Language

Via Jim Diedrick, the Economist has a review of a new book on how the German language has developed and evolved over time. MOST people regard grammar books and dictionaries as a codified set of rules prescribing dos and don’ts. For professional scholars of language, though, they are more like history books. Languages are constantly…

Do Different Languages Make Us Think Differently?

For many decades, the assumption that we can only think those concepts for which our language also has words was accepted as a fact. The man to whom we owe this longstanding theory was Benjamin Lee Whorf, a lecturer in anthropology at Yale University. It took linguists and brain-researchers some time to figure out that…