Maria Polinsky

Maria Polinsky

Maria Polinsky — It’s very common to assume when people talk about language that everyone speaks a particular language and speaks it well. and this assumption comes from large countries with large dominant languages like English in the United States or Russian in Russia or Chinese or Mandarin in China. So you have a large country, everyone’s supposed to learn the large language,

Bilingualism & Neuroplasticity

Bilingualism & Neuroplasticity

Ellen Bialystok [ University of Reading ] I’m going to be talking about my research that shows how a very ordinary experience — bilingualism — has the ability to change and improve cognitive function across the lifespan and even delay symptoms of dementia in older age. Thank you so much for this incredible honor. It’s tremendous to be here and I want to

Fluent Forever

Fluent Forever

To be a good singer, you need to know a lot of languages — ideally German, French, Italian, English and Russian. In the past I tried to learn some of these languages using traditional classroom methods and I didn’t get very far so I decided to try and create something new. Over the course of learning German and Italian I landed upon something

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 John McWhorter [ Columbia University ] We always hear that texting is a scourge. The idea is that texting spells the decline and fall of any kind of serious literacy, or at least writing ability, among young people in the United States and now the whole world today. The fact of the matter is that it just isn’t true, and it’s easy

Learning Pygmy

Learning Pygmy

Josh Foer [ theguardian.com ] How I learned a language in 22 hours – “What do you know about where I come from?” That was one of the first questions I ever asked Bosco Mongousso, an Mbendjele pygmy who lives in the sparsely populated Ndoki forest at the far northern tip of the Republic of Congo. We were sitting on logs around a