English and More of the World’s “Weirdest” Languages

Using information from the World Atlas of Language Structures, researchers surveyed the features of 239 languages to determine which are “weirdest”—meaning in sound, the number of features and sentence construction. Out of 239, English ranked 33rd. Citing its abnormally high number of phenomes (most languages have around 25, but English has 44) and the odd way English-speakers assemble questions, the study unbiasedly shows how English …

The Most Funded App Campaign in Kickstarter History, Fluent Forever

Based on the bestselling 2014 book by Gabriel Wyner, the forthcoming Fluent Forever app (which has amassed a record-setting $507,495, or more than double its goal, and is still funding) approaches language lessons differently than everyone else. First, it trains users in proper pronunciation. Then it proceeds to teach vocabulary and grammar with pictures and example sentences, rather than with translations. It’s goal really is …

Translating Human Languages into Elephant Gestures

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Thanks to the “Hello in Elephant” website, launched back in August, it’s very easy to translate human words—and emotions—to elephant gestures. A project developed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and ElephantVoices, the site also contains a service that allows visitors to send these gesture videos to loved ones. It’s altogether remarkable, educational and beautiful. The real goal, however, is to raise awareness of elephant …