Summary of “Telling Is Listening”

The most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening.
People are also able to form communities of many, through sending and receiving bits of ourselves and others back and forth continually – through, in other words, talking and listening.
Talking and listening are ultimately the same thing.
Listening to a conversation or a story, we don’t so much respond as join in – become part of the action.
It is a mutual act: the listener’s listening enables the speaker’s speaking.
Mutual communication between speakers and listeners is a powerful act.
The power of each speaker is amplified, augmented, by the entrainment of the listeners.
So the writer on a book tour, reading in the bookstore, and her group of listeners reenact the ancient ritual of the teller at the center of the circle.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tap into the power to persuade by using these 6 speech techniques |”

There is a secret language of leadership – and it’s one that anyone can learn, says UK speechwriter Simon Lancaster in a TEDxVerona talk.
“The reason we all used to learn rhetoric at school was because it was seen as a basic entry point to society,” explains Lancaster, who is based in London.
Lancaster states there is only one school in England that still teaches rhetoric: Eton, the alma mater of 20 Prime Ministers.
While Lancaster can’t send the world to Eton, he can share the 6 rhetorical building blocks needed to speak persuasively.
Lancaster wants us to pay special attention to the last part of that sentence, the “Two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century” part.
According to Lancaster, people use a metaphor once every 16 words on average.
Rhyming’s appeal comes “Down to what linguists talk about as the processing fluency of language – how easy is language to swallow?” says Lancaster.
These six tricks can help us speak directly to people’s instinctive, emotional and logical brains, and they are extremely effective, says Lancaster.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How do we measure language fluency?”

His perceived fluency interests me because I’m a former language teacher – having taught English for 11 years in Japan and Italy – and I am also a Cambridge English exam speaking examiner; a role which requires me to dissect variables in candidates’ second language production such as pronunciation, discourse management, and grammatical range.
Head of learning development at the Shenker Institutes of English – a popular chain of English schools in Italy – says that fluency actually refers to how “Smoothly” and “Efficiently” a second language speaker can speak on “a range of topics in real time”.
Speech rate can be defined as how much language you’re producing over time, for example how many syllables per minute.
De Jong describes the unconscious process any speaker goes through before speaking: conceptualising what to say, formulating how to say it, and, finally, articulating the appropriate sounds.
A speaker of a second language who needs to convert their thoughts into an unfamiliar language faces an even greater challenge in meeting these strict time constraints.
The Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of References for Languages groups language learners into concrete proficiency levels, where fluency and accuracy are just two of many examined criteria.
Thomas adds that individual second language speakers can display different strengths: “You can get students who are very accurate but so afraid of making mistakes that their fluency suffers and others who throw themselves into something, who are quite fluent, but their language is full of mistakes.”
How smooth and lengthy are your interactions in your L2? Do you avoid or “Blank” at certain topics and situations because you don’t have the words? Do you find yourself grasping for “Key words” and content yourself with understanding “The sense” rather than the entirety of the conversation? How well can you understand a film without subtitles or read a book without a dictionary? If you write an email and ask a native speaker to proofread it, how many errors will they find?

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the English Language Is Taking Over the Planet”

Elevating English while denigrating all other languages has been a pillar of English and American nationalism for well over a hundred years.
It’s a strain of linguistic exclusionism heard in Theodore Roosevelt’s 1919 address to the American Defense Society, in which he proclaimed that “We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boardinghouse”.
There is only one: English, which De Swaan calls “The hypercentral language that holds the entire world language system together”.
What a work is English, how copious in its vocabulary, how noble in expression, how sinuous in its constructions, and yet how plain in its basic principles.
Here is the memoirist Eva Hoffman on the experience of learning English in Vancouver while simultaneously feeling cut off from the Polish she had grown up speaking as a teenager in Kraków: “This radical disjointing between word and thing is a desiccating alchemy, draining the world not only of significance but of its colours, striations, nuances – its very existence. It is the loss of a living connection.” The Chinese writer Xiaolu Guo described something similar in her recent memoir, writing about how uncomfortable she felt, at first, with the way the English language encouraged speakers to use the first-person singular, rather than plural.
In his landmark 1986 book Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language in African Literature, he describes the corrosive effect of English language instruction, comparing it to a form of “Spiritual subjugation”.
As he said in a recent interview: “If I meet an English person, and he says, ‘I write in English,’ I don’t ask him, ‘Why are you writing in English?’ If I meet a French writer, I don’t ask him, ‘Why don’t you write in Vietnamese?’ But I am asked over and over again, ‘Why do you write in Gikuyu?’ For Africans, the view is there is something wrong about writing in an African language.”
The hegemony of English is now such that, in order to be recognised, any opposition to English has to formulated in English in order to be heard.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Filler Words Like “Um” and “Ah” Are Actually Useful”

Vocal disfluencies, commonly described as filler words, are a common point of contention in public speaking.
Every language has its own filler words, and people in the same organization tend to use the same fillers.
Used sparingly, there’s nothing wrong with filler words.
Imagine presenting a strong recommendation to your board of directors and using um in between every word; the constant fillers would undermine your message.
In addition to filler words, certain hedge words and phrases can minimize the impact of your message: Maybe this is irrelevant, but … I may be way off base here, but.
The filler was her way of saying, “I’m not done yet.”
Lesson: If you operate in an environment where people routinely interrupt you, the filler can serve as a strategic placeholder as you hold the floor.
Contrary to popular wisdom, sometimes it’s OK to use fillers or hedge words.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Language Shapes Our Perception of Reality”

Does an English speaker perceive reality differently from say, a Swahili speaker? Does language shape our thoughts and change the way we think? Maybe.
Some studies say that people don’t actually see color unless there is a word for it, but other studies have found that speakers of the Dani language can see the difference between yellow and red despite only having one word for them.
Because of the vocabulary, English speakers might organize things left to right, whereas a speaker of Guugu Yimithirr might orient them in a mirrored position.
The Hopi language doesn’t require past or present tense, but has validity markers, which requires speakers to think about how they came to know a piece of information.
One study conducted by Stanford researchers found that Spanish and Japanese speakers didn’t remember who is to blame for accidental events as much as those who speak English do.
English speakers get to the point in speech quicker than say, a Chinese speaker would, says Birner.
Tsedal Neeley, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, studied the company for five consecutive years after the mandate and discovered that employees who weren’t native Japanese speakers or English speakers proved to be the most effective workers in the end, even though they had it the roughest in the beginning.
If we believe that language shapes how we think, will learning a new language change the way you think? Probably not, says Birner, but if the newly acquired language is very different than the one you already speak, it might reveal a new way of looking at another culture.

The orginal article.

Summary of “5 Languages That Could Change the Way You See the World”

In the 1940s, a chemical engineer called Benjamin Lee Whorf published a wildly popular paper in the MIT Technology Review that claimed the way languages express different concepts-like gender, time, and space-influenced the way its speakers thought about the world.
If a language didn’t have terms to denote specific times, speakers wouldn’t understand the concept of time flowing.
English speakers and others are highly egocentric when it comes to orienting themselves in the world.
In the same way that English-speaking infants learn to use different tenses when they speak, so do Guugu Ymithirr children learn to orient themselves along compass lines, not relative to themselves.
Other studies have shown that speakers of languages that use cardinal directions to express locations have fantastic spatial memory and navigation skills-perhaps because their experience of an event is so well-defined by the directions it took place in.
In Nuevo San Juan, Peru, the Matses people speak with what seems to be great care, making sure that every single piece of information they communicate is true as far as they know at the time of speaking.
If you are asked, “How many apples do you have?” then a Matses speaker might answer, “I had four apples last time I checked my fruit basket.” Regardless of how sure the speaker is that they still have four apples, if they can’t see them, then they have no evidence what they are saying is true-for all they know, a thief could have stolen three of the apples, and the information would be incorrect.
The Pirahã speak a language without numbers, color terms, perfect form, or basic quantity terms like “Few” or “Some”-supposed by some, like color, to be an universal aspect of human language.

The orginal article.

Summary of “My Perfect Pictures and the Pain Behind Them”

“You’re a naughty girl,” he writes and says over the phone, his voice hissing like oil heated in a pan.
“You deserve to be punished. I can see you better than others can. You think you’re ‘Little Miss Perfect.’ The smile. The body. Perfect grades, too. Well, you need to make me happy then.”
Perhaps you see a lovely, young girl; I see a woman exposed, drowning in the slipstream of her husband’s shadow.
I’ve taken the world’s whippings for being born a girl as reason to believe I deserve only punishment and degradation, inflicted on myself, accepted toward myself.
Leave him, the coffin we call a home, the life of smallness I know as mine.
Initially, the news of my leaving acting and modeling to become a writer was met with resistance ranging from disbelief, worry, outrage, scorn, to laughter, from nearly every friend and relative, each unsolicited opinion preceded with the phrase we women know so well: “I love you, but”.
If all young girls and women committed such treason, patriarchy would collapse.
In addition to being a writer, I’m now a public speaker – in tonight’s performance I’ll be speaking purely as myself.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Alexa, Should We Trust You?”

Every so often weird glitches occur, like the time Alexa recorded a family’s private conversation without their having said the wake word and emailed the recording to an acquaintance on their contacts list.
Alexa alone already works with more than 20,000 smart-home devices representing more than 3,500 brands.
After my daughter-in-law posted on Instagram an adorable video of her 2-year-old son trying to get Alexa to play “You’re Welcome,” from the Moana soundtrack, I wrote to ask why she and my stepson had bought an Echo, given that they’re fairly strict about what they let their son play with.
In one howler that went viral on YouTube, a toddler lisps, “Lexa, play ‘Ticker Ticker’ ”-presumably he wants to hear “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Alexa replies, in her stilted monotone, “You want to hear a station for porn hot chicks, amateur girls” “No, no, no!” the child’s parents scream in the background.
Catrin Morris, a mother of two who lives in Washington, D.C., told me she announces on a weekly basis, “I’m going to throw Alexa into the trash.” She’s horrified at how her daughters bark insults at Alexa when she doesn’t do what they want, such as play the right song from The Book of Mormon.
Alexa needs to get better at grasping context before she can truly inspire trust.
If you tell Alexa you’re feeling depressed, she has been programmed to say, “I’m so sorry you are feeling that way. Please know that you’re not alone. There are people who can help you. You could try talking with a friend, or your doctor. You can also reach out to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance at 1-800-826-3632 for more resources.”
Though virtual assistants are often compared to butlers, Al Lindsay, the vice president of Alexa engine software and a man with an old-school engineer’s military bearing, told me that he and his team had a different servant in mind.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained”

Meadow Soprano on an early episode of The Sopranos, perhaps the most famous depiction of Jersey Italian culture in the past few decades.
I spoke to a few linguists and experts on Italian-American culture to figure out why a kid from Paterson, New Jersey, who doesn’t speak Italian, would earnestly ask for a taste of “Mutzadell.” The answer takes us way back through history and deep into the completely chaotic world of Italian linguistics.
That’s because each of the old Italian kingdoms had their own well, D’Imperio, who is Italian, calls them “Dialects.” But others refer to them in different ways.
During unification, the northern Italian powers decided that having a country that speaks about a dozen different languages would pose a bit of a challenge to their efforts, so they picked one and called it “Standard Italian” and made everyone learn it.
This gets weird, because most Italian-Americans can trace their immigrant ancestors back to that time between 1861 and World War I, when the vast majority of “Italians,” such as Italy even existed at the time, wouldn’t have spoken the same language at all, and hardly any of them would be speaking the northern Italian dialect that would eventually become Standard Italian.
Italian has undergone huge standardization changes in the past few decades, and it’ll be hard for modern Italian speakers to understand them, even harder than if somebody showed up in New York today speaking in 1920s New Yorker “Thoity-Thoid Street” slang and accent.
Let’s do a fun experiment and take three separate linguistic trends from southern Italian dialects and combine them all to show how one Standard Italian word can be so thoroughly mangled in the United States.
Italian is a very fluid, musical language, and Italian speakers will try to eliminate the awkwardness of going consonant-to-consonant.

The orginal article.