Entries by Alison Kroulek

Small Talk- More than Just Monkey Business

For most primates, grooming is the number-one social behaviour. We’ve all seen nature shows on TV that show a band of chimps combing through one another’s other’s fur. However, among humans, picking fleas off your neighbour’s scalp is generally considered anti-social behaviour. Instead, we bond by talking, whether it’s about sports, the weather, the news, […]

Lost in Translation

Last month at the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the largest international literary gatherings, guess what American publishers lined up to buy? Work by other American, or at least British, authors. Apparently, according to the New York Times, large American publishing houses are afraid to buy publishing rights for foreign-language books because they don’t think […]

The Cherokee language

In parts of the United States today, including Tennessee, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, road signs are marked with unfamiliar symbols that don’t correspond to English letters. Passing through these areas, you may wonder what the symbols mean. In all likelihood, you are looking at signs written in the Cherokee language, a remarkable example of linguistic […]

820 languages in one country

Which country has the highest number of different languages within its borders? Surprisingly, the answer is not China, India or any other large country. Tiny Papua New Guinea is all of 462,840 square kilometres in size, about as big as the state of California. Despite its small size, it is the most linguistically diverse country […]