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The Power of Stories to Build a Kinder World

Language
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. Atticus Finch, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)

How Some Words Get Forgetted

Language
It's the Great American Read!

Why is English so inconsistent

Language
What If English Were Phonetically Consistent?

Bill Nye Teaches You Science Slang

Language
Bill Nye teaches you scientific slang words and terms. Find out what "arsole," "hinny," "champagne tap" and more words mean.

How Do You Actually Understand Language?

Language
Language is fascinating, but how do we understand it?

What Are Diminutives - and Why We Like Them

Language
A diminutive is something you stick on the end of a word to make the thing it describes sound smaller. ie. Dog goes to Doggy. Every language has them, but some have more than others. Why are we drawn to diminutives? And why is English particularly resistant to them, compared to Spanish, for example?

How many verb tenses are there in English?

Language
How many different verb tenses are there in a language like English? At first, the answer seems obvious - there's past, present, and future.

How to use a semicolon - Emma Bryce

Language
It may seem like the semicolon is struggling with an identity crisis. It looks like a comma crossed with a period. Maybe that's why we toss these punctuation marks around like grammatical confetti; we're confused about how to use them properly. Emma Bryce clarifies best practices for the semi-confusing semicolon.

Grammar's great divide: The Oxford comma - TED-Ed

Language
If you read "Bob, a DJ and a clown" on a guest list, are three people coming to the party, or only one? That depends on whether you're for or against the Oxford comma -- perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time. When do we use one? Can it really be optional, or is there a universal rule? TED-Ed explores both sides of this comma conundrum.

How misused modifiers can hurt your writing - Emma Bryce

Language
Modifiers are words, phrases, and clauses that add information about other parts of a sentence-which is usually helpful. But when modifiers aren't linked clearly enough to the words they're actually referring to, they can create unintentional ambiguity. Emma Bryce navigates the sticky world of misplaced, dangling and squinting modifiers.

What makes a poem ... a poem? - Melissa Kovacs

Language
What exactly makes a poem ... a poem? Poets themselves have struggled with this question, often using metaphors to approximate a definition. Is a poem a little machine? A firework? An echo? A dream? Melissa Kovacs shares three recognizable characteristics of most poetry.

Where do new words come from? - Marcel Danesi

Language
There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our everyday lives? Marcel Danesi explains how new words enter a language.

Why 'love' is a useless word - and three alternatives

Language
Many of our relationship problems stem from the emptiness of our vocabulary around our affectionate emotion. We have only the minimal word 'love'. Luckily, the Ancient Greeks had a more nuanced and complicated vocabulary that we can usefully borrow from.

The world's most mysterious book - Stephen Bax

Language
Deep inside Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library lies a 240 page tome. Recently carbon dated to around 1420, its pages feature looping handwriting and hand drawn images seemingly stolen from a dream. It is called the Voynich manuscript, and it's one of history's biggest unsolved mysteries. The reason why? No one can figure out what it says. Stephen Bax investigates this cryptic work.

Where did English come from? - Claire Bowern

Language
When we talk about 'English', we often think of it as a single language. But what do the dialects spoken in dozens of countries around the world have in common with each other, or with the writings of Chaucer? Claire Bowern traces the language from the present day back to its ancient roots, showing how English has evolved through generations of speakers.

How to Be Charming When Talking About Yourself

Language
It's sometimes assumed that talking too much about ourselves is rude; and asking questions of others is polite and charming. But the distinction is not quite so simple. There are far better and worse ways of speaking about ourselves. We end up charming when we dare to reveal our vulnerabilities to others.

Does grammar matter? - Andreea S. Calude

Language
It can be hard sometimes, when speaking, to remember all of the grammatical rules that guide us when we're writing. When is it right to say "the dog and me" and when should it be "the dog and I"? Does it even matter? Andreea S. Calude dives into the age-old argument between linguistic prescriptivists and descriptivists - who have two very different opinions on the matter.

When to use "me", "myself" and "I" - Emma Bryce

Language
Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: 'I' is a subject pronoun, 'me' is an object pronoun, and 'myself' is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.

How to Have a Good Conversation

Language
We too often imagine that 'good conversations' are things we fall into out of luck. Far from it, knowing how to have a good conversation is a skill that can be learnt - and here are the beginning of the rules.

A neuroscientist explains how being bilingual makes your brain more robust

Language
Marian Sigman, a neuroscientist and author of "The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides," explains how babies that grow up bilingual will have brain functions that might be superior to those children that only speak one language.

The Best Websites For Developing Academic Skills and Vocabulary

Language
The latest from Larry Ferlazzo's collection of The Best....series of lists. This list of academic English resources will help English Language Learners and native-English speakers alike in developing a mastery of academic English.