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Languages

CULTURE
A History of Reading
In 1996, essayist and editor Alberto Manguel produced a 22-chapter literary adventure solely exploring the act of reading. His passion for turning the pages was met with clever anecdotes and well-researched information, all uniting to form "A History...
CULTURE
Chineasy
Beginning with key Chinese characters—which the book refers to as building blocks—author ShaoLan Hsueh and artist Noma Bar have made a memorable guide, as helpful as it is pretty, to one of the most difficult and oldest languages in the world. "Chineasy...
TECH
Language-Learning Tools for Kids
The statistics supporting bilingual education are hard to argue with—improved problem-solving and social skills as well as higher test scores mean that foreign languages set kids up for success across the board. The sweet spot for second language...
DESIGN
Word as Image
Seeing the world through the eyes of Ji Lee means every billboard is a blank canvas, the alphabet has three-dimensional form and words are actually images. The former Creative Director at Google Creative Labs playfully communicates through visual...
CULTURE
The Elements of F*cking Style
Typically when sending a text, Tweet or Facebook post, correct grammar takes the backseat to witty punctuation or uber-abbreviation. We may be devolving into "chatspeak," but as the foundation of any language, grammar remains an essential tool even...
CULTURE
Understand Rap
While most gets what Tupac meant when he rhymed, "I ain't guilty 'cause, even though I sell rocks/It feels good puttin' money in your mailbox" on his hit 1999 track "Dear Mama" (a song now included in the Library of Congress' National Recording...
DESIGN
Mojibakeru
Transforming Japanese letters into a playful creatures, Bandai's line of shape-shifting animals inform while entertaining. Called Mojibakeru (Moji is the Japanese word for "character" and bakeru means "to change"), the collection of six plastic...
FOOD-DRINK
Gumbo
Good's recent contest to create the best infographic about New Orleans resulted in this winner, as well as the above clever examination of Gumbo as a representation of the cultural and linguistic mixing of French, Spanish, African and Choctaw peoples...
TRAVEL
Me No Speak
In preparation for an upcoming trip to Beijing, I was recently given a Me No Speak Language Companion. A twist on the traditional phrase book format and design, the Me No Speak book provides small illustrations labeled in both English and Chinese...
CULTURE
The Tale of Peter Rabbit: Hieroglyph Edition
If you're an aspiring Egyptologist or just trying to learn Hieroglyphic script, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit Hieroglyph Edition," might be a good place to start. The complete text from the famous story was transcribed word for word to...
CULTURE
Say it in Chinglish
Chinglish is rampant in China. It's so prevalent that the government has dispatched teams of bloggers and linguists to clean up signs all over Beijing in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. The f-word has mysteriously cropped up in many signs...
DESIGN
Visual Thesaurus v3
Visual Thesaurus was released this week. The update adds audio pronunciations, a more complete dictionary and spell checking to the nearly 5 year old application. What is it, exactly? You enter a word and then see a 3d branching visualization of...
CULTURE
Skin by Shelley Jackson
Writer Shelley Jackson has invited participants to have one word (in classic book font) tattooed anywhere on their bodies. That word will be from the story titled Skin, and the full text of the story will never be published. It's up to the participants...
TECH
Lingo Phone
Another really useful SMS application, Lingo Phone offers language translation services. via Emily at textually.org
CULTURE
Dogblogging
Last month I started a weblog for Otis. Friends thought I was crazy. I believed them. I took it down. With the help of Takara's Bowlingual, a device that translates barks to english, dogs might actually generate their own blogs. As noted in The...
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