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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

List of problems that linguists haven't solved yet.

 Linguistics as a field of study flourished tremendously beyond the hopes of its founders. Modern linguistics started a  cognitive revolution  in the 1950s and has been extending ever since. Thanks to linguistics we know so much about human languages than ever before, from their origins, why are there so many of them, and how to use language to solve crimes. Not only that, linguistics gave us pretty compelling insights into the nature of the human mind, how to build talking machines, how to train people with dyslexia so they can read, how to repair brain functions that pertain to language, etc. It is an impressive feat.  —— There is only one very big problem: the main language mysteries that linguistics set out to unravel are still as mysterious as ever before. Many fundamental problems to linguistics are still unsolved. You’d be surprised to know how little we know about central issues in the study of language. That’s what this whole article is about. So, let's go through the

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

13 people share typos that put them in very embarrassing situations.

Never underestimate what a typo can do to you. Some typos pass under the radar sometimes, while others put you in a really bad place. We've asked our followers at  The Language Nerds  about some of the typos they made that had disastrous effects and their responses had been nothing short of hilarious. Let's have a look at them together.  —— Adam  I once invited about 40 professors and their students to join an “Online Boob Club”. (It was supposed to say “Online Book Club”) Martina My colleague sent an email to our VP "Kindly find blow job description." instead of "...Kindly find below job description." It was cc to our all department.  Fidan I once was writing a comment “ awwwww ” under a very cute family Christmas photo of a friend (husband, kids etc) and it autocorrected my “ awww ” as “asses”. The worst thing is that I only realized it when she replied to my comment. —— Lief Outlook changed "best regards" to "best retards" Pe

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.  —— —

5 Words that sound the same in almost every language.

 Words really don't have any logic to them. You can't just work out the meaning of words based on the sounds that make them up. That's because words are arbitrary.  So if you don't speak Chinese, you can't possibly figure out the words for, say, "breakfast" or "fridge". Different people agree to give different combinations of  sounds  different meanings. Considering that people are scattered around the globe and speak different mutually unintelligible languages, it is unlikely that they would all have the same words for the same thing. However, there are some select words that sound pretty much the same across so many languages. They flit across language barriers either through trade, the internet or  because  people just like the sound of them. Here are some of them: —— Coffee Afrikaans : koffie |  Albanian : kafe |  Arabic : قهوة (qahua) |  French : Café |  Azerbaijani : qəhvə |  Basque : kafea |  Belarussian : кава (kava) |  Bengali : কফি