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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Speaker: Linguistic Isolation in the Modern World Chi Luu is a peripatetic linguist who speaks Australian English and studies dead languages. Every two weeks, she’ll uncover curious stories about language from around the globe for Lingua Obscura. A language becomes extinct when its last speaker dies, but some argue that language death really occurs when the second last speaker dies, because for the lone remaining speaker, there is no one left to talk to. The curious story of Ayapaneco, an endangered language from the state of Tabasco in Mexico, sparked worldwide interest when it was reported that the last two speakers of the language were not speaking to each other. The telecommunications company Vodafone found it dramatic enough to conduct a rather ham-fisted viral marketing push around ‘revitalizing’ the critically endangered language. Consider that of the world’s 6,500 odd languages, roughly half are in danger of extinction within the century, as reported in Mark Turin’s 2012 paper on endangered languages. By: MARK TURIN Endangered

The Geography of Profanity - Pacific Standard “Asshole is a wonderful word,” said Mike Pesca in his podcast, the Gist. His former colleagues at NPR had wanted to call someone an asshole, and even though it was for a podcast, not broadcast, and even though the person in question was a certified asshole, the NPR censor said no. Pesca disagreed. Pesca is from Long Island and, except for his college years in Atlanta, he has spent most of his time in the Northeast. Had he hailed from Atlanta—or Denver or Houston or even San Francisco—“asshole” might not have sprung so readily to his mind as le mot juste, even to denote Donald Trump. Linguist Jack Grieve has been analyzing tweets—billions of words—and recently he posted maps showing the relative popularity of different expletives. To my knowledge, Grieve has offered no explanation for this distribution, and I don’t have much to add. Less surprising are the maps of toned-down expletives. Mr. Unfortunately, Grieves did not post a map for “heck.” Advertisement — Continue reading below

Newspapers in Education | Ancient whistle language uses whole brain for long-distance chat Alexander Christie-Miller You could say they sent the first tweets. An ancient whistling language that sounds a little like birdsong has been found to use both sides of the brain – challenging the idea that the left side is all important for communicating. The whistling language is still used by around 10,000 people in the mountains of north-east Turkey, and can carry messages as far as 5 kilometres. Researchers have now shown that this language involves the brain’s right hemisphere, which was already known to be important for understanding music. Until recently, it was thought that the task of interpreting language fell largely to the brain’s left hemisphere. His team tested 31 fluent whistlers by playing slightly different spoken or whistled syllables into their left and right ears at the same time, and asking them to say what they heard. As expected, when the syllables were spoken, the right ear and left hemisphere were dominant 75 per cent of the time. Canary island tweets

15 Massive Online Databases You Should Know About Advertisement Think of your favorite open databases. I’m sure Wikipedia and IMDb instantly spring to mind, but you might not be in the need of all that knowledge ever, or a comprehensive database of all things entertainment. Here are 15 massive online databases you can access and analyze for free, or just peruse at your leisure. 1000 Genomes The 2003 completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) was just the beginning. You can download part of the 1000 Genomes Project, containing sequencing information for over 2,600 people from 26 populations around the world. See also: The Animal Genome Size Database for genome data relating to 5635 species. Airliners The planespotters heaven. Airliners also features an extensive aircraft data and history section always kept updated in cooperation with Aerospace Publications to ensure factual accuracy. See also: Try for a different range of images, or SeatGuru for airplane seating schematics. The Internet Archive Freebase Find a Grave WorldCat

Understanding the Salem Witch Trials Activity 1. Life in Puritan New England Separate the class into four groups, and assign each group one section of the EDSITEment LaunchPad under the label Understanding Puritan New England. Offer them the following instructions, and suggest that they distribute the reading evenly and return to discuss the questions after 10–15 minutes of reading. Understanding Puritan New England Instructions for students: Just as the society around us shapes the way we think and act, so did it shape the people of Salem, Massachusetts in the 1600s. Group One: The Puritans The Puritan Idea of the Covenant New Groups: A Great Migration Working: "To 1 day work at my house" Beliefs: A City upon a Hill What values that we now consider 'American' were contributed by the Puritans? Group Two Gender Roles: Beliefs and Gender Roles Education: Print and Protestantism Customs: Possessions Reveal Social Standing Getting Things: Importing Status Child Life: Fleeting Mortality Group Three The Land 1680–1720 Activity 2. Activity 3.