Into the 2-word stage

When I last reported on my youngest granddaughter’s progress in learning language, she was still clearly at the 1-word stage (at 20 months). She was still there a couple of months later, though maybe just starting to produce 2-word phrases or statements. https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/04/early-words She recently had her 2nd birthday and is now very definitely in…… Continue reading Into the 2-word stage

Learning to eat in the past (2)

I’ve mentioned before that my grandson (then 6 years, 9 months, but now 6 years 11 months) regularly uses ‘ated’ as the past tense of the verb eat. https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/05/learning-to-eat-in-the-past I forgot to say that he also regularly uses ‘aten’ as the past participle of that verb. And over the last couple of weeks I’ve also heard…… Continue reading Learning to eat in the past (2)

Learning to eat in the past

How do young children learn to create inflected forms of words? For example, how do they learn that: most English verbs form the past tense with the suffix -ed (eg walked from walk);some English verbs undergo other types of change in the past tense (eg sat from sit);a few have complexly unrelated past tense forms…… Continue reading Learning to eat in the past

Different accent or bad diction?

I’ve written before about confusion about the term dropping your g’s. The Time columnist Claire Foges waded into this debate on 20 September. Her article argues that people can improve their life chances by learning to speak and write what she calls Standard English. I agree with her on that. But her comments show some…… Continue reading Different accent or bad diction?

Acquiring English past tense

My grandson (aged 3 years 9 months) has recently started producing the past tense in a surprising way. I first noticed it with the form liked. He is now pronouncing this as likèd [laɪkɛd] , rather than [laɪkt]. I soon discovered he was using this form consistently not only in all weak verbs but even…… Continue reading Acquiring English past tense

I must do my irony

A French former colleague of mine talked sometimes about doing her ironing. When she did, she pronounced the ‘r’ sound (a rhotic sound, rhotic from the Greek letter rho: ρ). This always made me think she was announcing a switch into an ironic mode.

Scandinavian language challenge day 38

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Swedish in three months, covering: ‘either .. or’, ‘neither … nor’, ‘both … and”all and ‘whole’ the impersonal pronoun ‘man’ adjectives without a nounhow to translate some common English verbsspellingother words ‘either .. or’, ‘neither … nor’, ‘both … and’ Antingen … eller = either ……… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 38

Scandinavian language challenge day 2

I am continuing the Scandinavian language challenge I started yesterday. Today, I started Swedish. I am using Swedish in Three Months (1998), published by Dorling Kindersley under the Hugo imprint. This book contains a preface, a guide to pronunciation (and spelling), 12 chapters, reading practice (4 pages) a key to the exercises and drills, a…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 2

Scandinavian language challenge day 1

I have set myself a language challenge. I will work through basic introductory language courses on Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, working each day on one of the languages. I’ve picked these languages because: I first started looking at these 3 languages (together with several other languages) around 45 years ago when I first got into…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 1