The Rise and Possible Fall of the Word "Well"

The Rise and Possible Fall of the Word

If you're old enough to rust, you might remember one of the first Kings of Comedy, Benjamin Kubelsky better known as Jack Benny. During his radio show, Benny became famous for playing the violin badly and his single word response, "Well!" It wasn't that the vaudevillian comedian used the word to begin a sentence, it was the sentence. Like many Asian languages, his intonation added meaning to his statement. Used in the traditional sense, well is most often an adverb that modifies a verb by telling "how". However, as a modifier, the word "Well" can be used as a predicate adjective. For example, "Bob was sick, but now he is well." In a recent article on the language of our 45th President, associate teaching professor at Georgetown University's Department of Linguistics, Jennifer Sclafani, pointed to the fact that Donald Trump virtually never began a response to a question with the word "Well". The author of a book due out later this ye...

July 19, 2017

Is Trump's Rhetoric Part of His Effort to Brand Himself?

Is Trump's Rhetoric Part of His Effort to Brand Himself?

Well, we can learn more this fall when the book titled "Talking Donald Trump: A Sociolinguistic Study of Style, Metadiscourse and Political Identity" hits the bookshelves. Although the 45th president of the United States may not have a traceable background in politics, we all know that he is very familiar with marketing, or more specifically branding. According to a theory posed by Jennifer Sclafani, an associate teaching profressor in Georgetown University's Department of Linguistics, "the Donald" may  have used language in a very effective way to create his political brand. The philosopher Plato called rhetoric the art of winning the soul by discourse. If that statement is true, then Donald Trump may be a master manipulator in his use of hyperbole, repetition and short phrases. One of his most famous stands during his campaign to become president was that Mexico must pay for the wall. In almost a blink of the eye, the saying "Build the Wall" was...

July 18, 2017

The Makeshift Lingua Franca of Formula One Racing

The Makeshift Lingua Franca of Formula One Racing

Since the inaugural season in 1950, the FIA Formula One World Championship has been the premier class of auto racing. Attracting one of the largest global television audiences, Formula One can be seen in almost every country and territory around the world. The racing sanction's digital "World Feed" attracted a global audience of 500 million viewers per season. The feed delivers a real-time digital television "super signal" with hundreds of camera angles from trackside to inside the car's cockpit. So, what's the global fuss all about. It's the drivers. They can come from India to Ireland and the racing circuits from China to Dubai. Over the past seven decades, it has been interesting to see how "English" developed as the makeshift Lingua Franca of Formula One and why. In the beginning, and to a lesser part today, most of the race teams from around the globe had headquarters in England. That was where the racing engineers and shops were. Drivers from Bra...

June 26, 2017

Does Linguistic Relativity Shape the World You Know?

Does Linguistic Relativity Shape the World You Know?

For most of us that speak English, we are actually the odd one out among the world of languages when it comes to how the language we speak shapes the world we know. If you studied French or Spanish as a second language in school, you likely remember that those languages actually require the speaker to consider the gender of the person they are referencing. If you've ever been out with a friend of the opposite sex and did not want your significant other to know, all you have to do in English is avoid using "he" or "she". On the other hand, that is a good example of how our mother tongue may limit our view of the world. Known in linguistic circles as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, this principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects a speaker's thoughts and actions as well as his or her cognition. First advanced by Edward Sapir in 1929, theories related to linguistic relativity were subsequently pursued by one of Sapir's students nam...

June 21, 2017

How Russian Developed as a Modern Language

How Russian Developed as a Modern Language

With all the talk in the news lately about Russia, we thought we'd jump on the bandwagon and dive into the Russian language. Russian is the eighth most widely spoken language on Earth and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. There are roughly 155 million native speakers and an additional 105 million who speak Russian as a second language. It is also spoken as a lingua franca throughout many parts of Europe and Asia. Russian is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It, along with the other languages in its tree, all shared a common written language known as Old Church Slavonic, which could be read and understood by most Slavic speakers of the time. Today Russian is still written in Cyrillic script which was developed to write Old Church Slavonic. Several well-known Russian leaders were responsible for shaping the language into its current modern form. First was Peter the Great. During his rule, 1696 to 1725, he worked to simplify the orthography of ...

May 15, 2017

Dutch: A Widespread European Language

Dutch: A Widespread European Language

When most people think of Dutch, pictures of the Netherlands immediately come to mind with windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes. However, did you know that Dutch has 23 million native speakers around the world and about 5 million additional second language speakers? While it is most widely spoken in the Netherlands, other speakers live throughout Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Like English, Dutch is a West Germanic language with many linguists saying it sounds and reads right in the middle of German and English. Unlike other languages, the change from "Old Dutch" to "Middle Dutch" was not extremely dramatic. Plus, Modern Dutch speakers today can most often read older literature. This is a great thing because the Middle Dutch period from 1150 to 1500 CE was a rich literary period with many fascinating works. After standardization in the late 1400s, the first major Dutch Bible translation was published, called the "Statenvertaling." This...

May 15, 2017

Prolingo receives 2017 American Excellence Award

Prolingo receives 2017 American Excellence Award

April 25th 2017 -  Prolingo has been selected for the 2017 American Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the American Economic Institute (AEI). Each year the AEI conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Companies of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that American is renowned for. Prolingo has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by AEI marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow. As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the sele...

April 26, 2017

It's All Greek To Me

It's All Greek To Me

Although "It's All Greek to Me" is a common phrase, Greek isn't actually as foreign to English as the saying would have you believe. In fact about 6% of English vocabulary is derived from Greek! Some estimates even put this influence as high as 12% to 15%. And when we focus on technical and scientific vocabulary the proportion of Greek climbs dramatically. There are roughly 13 million native speakers of Greek with the majority (11 million) living in Greece where it is the only official language. The second highest concentration is found in Cyprus where nearly 1 million people speak Greek. Surrounding countries like Italy, Albania, and Turkey have minority Greek populations as well. How did Greek become so widespread? You can thank Alexander the Great for that. As his empire expanded so did the Greek language. Over the centuries, the various dialects became quite different from one another. At one point the written and spoken form of Greek were so different from one anoth...

April 14, 2017

Improving Language Listening Comprehension

Improving Language Listening Comprehension

If you're one of the many people who attempt to learn a new language, you've probably reached a point where it makes sense "on paper" but less when listening to a native speaker. In many cases it's just as important to hone your listening skills as it is to improve your speaking skills. Here are a few tips to help you improve your listening comprehension of other languages. First of all actively practice listening to the language you are learning every day. Your listening practice should take as much time as your reading or speaking practice. A great tool for this is to watch foreign language videos online, especially dialogs. This will help you learn which phrases and responses are common in everyday speaking. These videos are especially helpful if they include subtitles. These subtitles can either be in English or in the language you are learning which will help you pair the written and spoken words. Second, as you advance in your new language continually push yourself...

April 14, 2017

Esperanto is King of the Constructed Languages

Esperanto is King of the Constructed Languages

With over 2 million speakers worldwide, Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed language on the planet. Developed in 1887 by Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof, Esperanto was meant to be a unifying international language. Zamenhof created the language with 3 simple goals: 1. "To render the study of the language so easy as to make its acquisition mere play to the learner." 2. "To enable the learner to make direct use of his knowledge with persons of any nationality, whether the language be universally accepted or not; in other words, the language is to be directly a means of international communication." 3. "To find some means of overcoming the natural indifference of mankind, and disposing them, in the quickest manner possible, and en masse, to learn and use the proposed language as a living one, and not only in last extremities, and with the key at hand." Esperanto is so popular in fact, that the Esperanto Wikipedia is the largest...

March 16, 2017

Get a Free Quote

Prolingo Client Testimonials

Our last minute request was literally just 2 hours before our event started. ProLingo found interpreters, a tech and had the equipment delivered via cargo air the same day. It was very impressive and we couldn’t have done it without the professional and tireless effort of the Prolingo team in New York. Thank you! - B. Coggin, President
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5 / 5 stars