Category Archives: quirk

Why Does it Seem Like My Mandarin Gets Better After a Few Drinks?

Based on anecdotal evidence from popular media, it’s widely believed that alcohol improves the ability to speak in a foreign language, ostensibly due to the anxiety-reducing effects of booze itself. Based on personal experience, a couple of drinks goes a long way toward loosening my tongue no matter what language I’m speaking. I’m currently on(…)


15 Forgotten Christmas Words to Make Your Holiday Merry

Are we too late? Or perhaps right on time. Possibly… but it’s that time of year again. For all those language lovers out there, have a sit after all the gift unwrapping is said and done and take in a little Christmas linguistics fun. Here are some long and perhaps not-so-long forgotten words associated with(…)


6 Gift Ideas Perfect for Language Learners

Sometimes the holidays can be more a season of stress than festive cheer, especially if you’re agonising over what to get who (not to mention what to buy for that one friend who seems to already have everything). If you know someone who is learning a new language, or you are a language learner yourself,(…)


Taipei Night Markets 101, Part 2: Things to Know Before you Go

Last week we covered the very basics of Taipei night markets in Part 1. Now that the stage has been set, we’re going to talk about getting you prepared. So without further ado, on with the show! 1. Bring: An open mind Forget all your homeland standards of sanitation, culinary taste and tradition, and human(…)


Hungarian and Polish: An Unlikely Language Alliance

We know what you’re thinking. We’ve taken two of the, arguably, more difficult languages to master, and attempted to force them together like Mrs Bennett did with Elizabeth and the awful Mr Collins (Pride and Prejudice, folks), but we promise, there is a little more in common between these two languages than those two unfortunate(…)


The Key to Success? Talk to Yourself More Often

How many times have you been walking around the grocery store talking to yourself? “Okay, John, don’t forget the milk,” you say out loud. Or sometimes you catch yourself debating on which colour shoes you want: “Alright, but if I get the blue ones, they’re not going to match anything I own.” Perhaps you’re even(…)


English: The Universal Language Obstacle Course

Maybe we might have mentioned before the importance of being anything other than monolingual. That, not only does speaking a second language improve your work prospects, but that by embracing a new language and the culture that goes with it, language learning can, we feel, make us all better human beings. However, if you aren’t(…)


“Froyo” and Other Funky Words Added to the Dictionary this Year

It seems that the words added annually to the Oxford Dictionary or Merriam-Webster get more and more interesting with each passing year. Last year, we were gifted with the popular acronym “YOLO” (a word so overused people simply stopped using it), and, weird shortened versions of words like “‘Merica”. Suffice it to say, new words(…)


The Many Sayings and Phrases to Cheers around the World

When travelling the world one of the best ways to get to know locals and learn about their culture is to sit down at a table, break bread and share a drink. Likewise, it is one of the most forthcoming ways people all over the world welcome a stranger. This sharing of food and beverages,(…)


The Language, Lifestyle and Universality of Skater Speak

Recently there appears to be an international outbreak of Thrasher T-shirts, hats, and hoodies on the streets from Kanchanaburi, Thailand to Hong Kong to Sunnyside, Queens. It’s doubtful that this retro skate apparel trend is isolated to just these varied places. Thrasher, if you don’t know, is one of two magazines that launched in the(…)