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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Syntax–semantics mappings as a source of difficulty in Japanese speakers’ acquisition of the mass–count distinction in English
Author: Shunji Inagaki
Institution: Nagoya University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This paper investigates Japanese speakers’ acquisition of the mass–count distinction in English. Learners judge whether two large objects/portions of stuff are more than six tiny objects/portions of stuff or vice versa. Results show that learners correctly base judgments on number for count nouns (judging that six small cups are more cups than two large cups) and object-mass nouns (e.g., furniture) and on volume for substance-mass nouns (judging that two large portions of mustard are more mustard than six tiny portions of it). For nouns that can be either mass or count in English (e.g., string(s)) or cross-linguistically (e.g., “spinach”), learners fail to shift judgments according to the mass–count syntax in which the words appear. Results suggest that Japanese learners have difficulty using mass–count syntactic cues to disambiguate the meanings and thus fail to acquire the mass–count distinction in English.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 17, Issue 3.

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