Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

End of Year Language Tidbits

As we barrel towards the end of another year let's look at a couple of fun items in the news.

1. For you Francophiles, Francophobes and even the few Franc-ensteins among you there was a fun article on the BBC's site on Mastering French manners the hard way. The poor author of this article had a painful set of experiences that taught her lessons in cultural differences. Apparently there's even a name for the psychic trauma caused by this French culture shock, "Paris Syndrome". For those who enjoy the taste of "Schadenfreude" (defined here) this article is a tasty treat. For the rest, a cautionary tale.

2. An African Grey parrot is reported to be able to use a vocabulary of 950 words and form new sentences that have a grammar. In reading these reports it's always my impulse to be a bit sceptical but what appear to be facts, versus interpretations,suggest this a truly extraordinary bird. The bird is supposed to have learned the word "fly" and conjugaged it as "flied" to indicate the past tense. The existing literature on language use by animals makes it clear that humans did not just pop into existence with the exclusive ability to use language. If you enjoy reading about this topic as much as I do here's an older article from on parrots and language acquisition.

If you are not already using one of our courses at you can still take advantage of the holiday sale that lets you save $14.00 off of any course. (See the prior posting on this page!) Browse our courses and lock in that savings today!

Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!


At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Tatiana Rocha said...

Marco, when we can get the password for the free course of the month?


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