What’s the big idear? Linking and Intrusive “r”
By September 15, 2015 4 Comments Read More →

What’s the big idear? Linking and Intrusive “r”

In my previous post I talked about how American English is rhotic. That is, speakers of American English (well, most of them) pronounce their ‘r’s at the ends of words. I mentioned how Australian English (and New Zealand English, South African and British English) are non-rhotic, although we will pronounce word final /r/ in certain […]

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Do you sound American yet?

Do you sound American yet?

Today is the 11th anniversary of my arrival in the United States. I still recall disembarking the plane back on September 4, 2004, with a dreadful cold, not knowing it was Labor Day, and battling crowds at the airport. The car rental company had even handed out the vehicle they had allocated to me… I […]

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Deciphering Proto-Elamite

Deciphering Proto-Elamite

A few years ago I worked on a project to encode writing systems into Unicode. But how do you encode writing systems that haven’t yet been deciphered, such as Rongorongo? Unfortunately, you have to decipher them first. One of the scripts I researched was the mysterious Proto-Elamite, which is about 80-90% undeciphered, although it appears […]

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“God Bless You!” – A Blessing in Disguise?

“God Bless You!” – A Blessing in Disguise?

One day in 2004 I was sitting in a coffee shop in Berkeley, California, when I had a bout of sneezing. I was startled when my sneezes elicited a chorus of “Bless you!” from several strangers. When I recovered I sniffed a nasal-sounding “Thank you” to the room. This surprised me because I’m from Australia, […]

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Kids of the Cloth: Child Preachers

Kids of the Cloth: Child Preachers

I’ve had a few requests for this article about Marjoe Gortner and child preachers so I’m republishing it here… Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner had the worst stage parents ever. Instead of forcing him to model for advertisements or enter beauty contests, they made him carry a Bible and yell “Glory!” Marjoe was ordained at four […]

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This three-month-old baby is not saying “I love you”

This three-month-old baby is not saying “I love you”

A few days ago Fox News tweeted the following:                   According to the story, baby “Ben” tells his father Ted “I love you”. Here is the video of the alleged exchange: I wrote about this phenomena back in March when the Daily Mail claimed that a 7-week-old […]

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Do babies’ cries sound different in different languages?

Do babies’ cries sound different in different languages?

A few days ago my friend Neil Croll posted the following on my Facebook page:       He commented: “I saw this today and I’m skeptical, but I thought I would check with a linguist, since I know one who also knows a lot about babies.” This theory goes back to a 2009 study […]

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Does listening to Mozart make you smarter?

Does listening to Mozart make you smarter?

In this YouTube video, Professor Ellen Winner and student Samuel Mehr discuss the Mozart Effect. This is the claim that listening to Mozart makes you smarter. Winner and Mehr say that “The Mozart Effect” was coined by the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001) came up with the term. He invented the Tomatis […]

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What accent will my child have?

What accent will my child have?

  My husband is American and I am Australian and this has inspired a few people to ask me, “What accent will your child have?” Accent isn’t inherited and no one is born with an accent. Children develop language from the people around them, such as their parents, and from other stimuli they’re exposed to, […]

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Just relax…

Just relax…

Is there a word we just shouldn’t use? Business Insider recently posted the article Google and Apple alum says using this one word can damage your credibility. Written by leadership strategist Ellen Petry Leanse, the piece was originally published on Women 2.0 and also reposted on LinkedIn. According to the article, the word in question […]

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