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How Shakespeare Changed the English Language

It’s safe to say that William Shakespeare is one of the most headache-inducing playwrights of all time. His plays – and his language – are the source of much discontent for many school and college students around the world, and yet it’s this seemingly incoherent jumble of Middle English, foreign…

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Let’s Have a Butcher’s at Some British Slang

While we may well have a few colloquialisms of our own, we can’t deny that no one does slang quite like the British. In fact, it’s been taking over for a while. A few years ago, the BBC reported that ‘slanglish’ had become ‘the ordinary way of speaking for many…

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Paying Attention to the Translators of Great Literature


Think back to your undergraduate literature classes. When you read Dante or Tolstoy, did the professor lead any discussions about the translator and his or her translations? Probably not. The common practice is to analyze the book without reserving time to discuss the translator or talk about the various translations in circulation…

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Bellissimo! The Italian Language and European Culture

What, seriously, have the Romans ever done for us? Well, it's no coincidence that the word “romance” looks suspiciously similar to the word “Roman”. By marching all over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, subjugating/civilizing the local inhabitants from Babylon to Portugal, they managed to spread the Latin language…

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Sacagawea: Pioneer Interpreter


Imagine a USA that, as you travel west, stops abruptly at St Louis, Missouri. No Denver, in fact no Rocky Mountains at all. No Grand Canyon, no Pacific coast. The lands that today contain San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, all under the control of Spain. From Montana in…

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