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The grammatical change that took The United States from 'are' to 'is'.

You haven't probably noticed, but the United States HAS slightly changed its name, so to speak. Some countries change their names over the course of time, but the way the US has done it is very different.  —— We say different because the change is so subtle that is barely noticeable. Before the Lincoln administration, they were the “United States.” After Lincoln, it was the “United States.” Can you spot the difference?  Of course, no! You can’t see the difference because it's not a change in words or spelling. The change is purely grammatical.  Before,  people  said  “The United States  are …” Now, people say “The United States  is …” The idea was to draw us away from that original idea of independent states forming a voluntary union, and to the idea that this was one nation of provinces, called “states.” A collection of states forming one whole.  —— Now, no one sees The United States as plural, even though it is still spelled as a plural. Everyone treats it as singul

6 Grammatical mistakes everyone makes and you shouldn't.

Many of us get into the habit of making writing mistakes either because of unawareness on our part or just mere sloppiness. Many of these mistakes affect the way readers perceive our pieces of writing; foolish typos can make the difference between a great first impression and a tainted one. We at  The Language Nerds  took the liberty to collect the most common mistakes that the majority of people tend to make and we want you to watch out for them so that there is nothing to worry about when you want to apply for your next job or when you want to email your boss. So let's see what we've got!  —— 1. Fewer vs. Less This one is tricky but easy to avoid. Use fewer when you can count the number of things being discussed.  “ Fewer  than the required number of people passed the test.”  Use less when describing intangible concepts, like time.  “It took me  less  time to complete the paper.” 2. Which vs. That This one is not entirely easy to spot. There are two ways to remember whet

What linguists know that other people don't.

Studying languages is a privilege. When you analyze language and everyday speech you realize that there is an astonishing amount of wonder in this system that we take for granted. Linguists questioned the obvious, which is language, and got answers that forever changed mankind’s understanding of Language and human nature. In this article, you will see what linguists know that is not so evident to other people. So let's see what we've got. —— We all speak one language. One of the main discoveries of modern linguistics is that it made us aware that all the languages we speak are similar in astonishing respects; they manifest the same pattern, follow the same rules, they are  learnt  in exactly the same way, and that all the differences are only superficial. So, in a  sense  we all speak the same language. This was captured by Chomsky in an excellent metaphor in an excellent book of his titled  Language and Mind  in which he says that if a  Martian scientist , somebody with a

If Animals Could Speak, Here is What They Would Say.

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Whether you own a pet or not, you must have given it many a though before: if animals could speak, what would they say? What if they already speak, but we're too ignorant to understand their language? These are fairly non-trivial questions that science is still probing into but with no avail. All we can do now is entertain the humorous idea of what animals would say if they could speak. Many comic strips have translated, quite humorously, the thoughts of animals in everyday situations. We have combined some of them in this article and we hope they appeal to you. These comics come to you from  They Can Talk ,  Earth to Planet Cartoons , and  Liz Climo . Scroll through them and let us know what you liked.  —— 1. 2. 3. —— 4. 5. 6. —— 7. 8. 9. —— 10. 11. 12. —— 13. 14. 15. —— 16. 17. 18. —— 19. 20. 21. —— 22. 23. 24. —— 25. 26. Hon Chow Lam You have reached the end of the article. Please share it if you think it's interesting.  —— —

8 books everyone into languages should read.

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When you want to decide on what to read in language and linguistics, it is never easy to pick a reading list; there  is  just so many books out there under the label of linguistics, especially that publications in linguistics have been growing like wild fire in the last couple of decades. So with your limited time and the unlimited number of books, it is always wise to make some research beforehand on what exactly you want to read. There is a lot to choose from, and the best book will depend on what you are specifically interested in. This is why we at  The Language Nerds  compiled a list of linguistics books that will entertain the novice and the expert alike. Here are some places to start:  —— 1.   The Language Instinct  by  Steven Pinker   This is a book for the general science readers, it is very accessible whether you have a background in linguistics or not. It is considered by many as a landmark in linguistics. It is a great introduction and primer to some of the more basic

Bilinguals perceive time differently​, study finds.

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 People who speak more than one language are fascinating. They provide insight into the power of language and how it shapes the way we think and experience the world. In a recent study, it has been shown that people who speak two different languages experience time differently.  —— Linguists Panos Athanasopoulos from the Lancaster University and Emanuel Bylund from Stellenbosch University and Stockholm University were able to demonstrate in a study published in the  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General ,   that people who speak two languages fluently think about time differently depending on the language context in which they are estimating the duration of specific events.  We've always known that the language we speak influences our worldview in interesting ways. How languages express time is a case in point. English and Swedish, for example, mark the duration of time with terms that describe physical distance (e.g.  short break ,  long wedding , etc.). Spanish and Gre

English swear words ranked in order of offensiveness.

While you can use some swear words without causing much of a fuss, the use of others can make you come off as offensive and downright rude.  Ofcom , the UK communications regulator, ranked all British swear words from mild to strongest based on how offensive speakers perceived them. They interviewed more than 200 people across the UK on how offensive they find a vast array of rude and offensive words and insults. The results are in and here is what they look like. —— Mild Arse Bloody Bugger Cow Crap Damn Ginger Git God Goddam Jesus Christ Minger Sod-off —— Medium Arsehole Balls Bint Bitch Bollocks Bullshit Feck Munter Pissed/pissed off Shit Son of a bitch Tits Strong Bastard Beaver Beef curtains Bellend Bloodclaat Clunge Cock Dick Dickhead Fanny Flaps Gash Knob Minge Prick Punani Pussy Snatch Twat  —— Strongest Cunt Fuck Motherfucker Ofcom didn't just investigate swear words, the survey also included words related to race, gender and sexuality, and ethnicity which mad