Author: David

Book Review: Babel No More

Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard Lexplorers rating: 9.5/10 Amazon.com average customer rating: 4.0/5     There is a certain appeal to stories about extreme human performance, especially in areas where the reader has personal experience.  Anyone who has tried to run a 5k race can appreciate the accomplishment of someone… Read more →

Counting in Korean: A Myriad and 18 Challenges

In the early weeks of the Couch to Korean Challenge,  I have been focusing exclusively on evaluating Korean resources and on learning the fundamentals of the Korean writing and sound systems.   This has been a conscious plan, in order to maintain the pure experiment of systematically learning the language from scratch. I have enjoyed learning the basics, but I am… Read more →

At the Corner of Thingvalla Ave. and Ericsson St.

Walking through a nearby neighborhood in Cambridge MA, I often pass Thingvalla Avenue, and I have been curious about the origin of the name. Thingvalla is not a traditional English-sounding name, and it stands in sharp contrast to adjoining Cushing and Exeter Streets.   Its intersection with Ericsson Street should have provided me a good clue as to the origin… Read more →

The Yin and Yang of Korean Vowel Harmony

In my first post about the Hangul writing system, I touched on the history of Hangul and the linguistic motivation for the characters.  For example, the Hangul consonant characters were designed to indicate the point of articulation, as shown in the image below (from The World’s Writing Systems): While I certainly appreciate the linguistic basis for the consonant characters, I… Read more →