Grammatical gender is perhaps the most elusive concept for English-speaking foreign language learners to grasp. In every secondary school language class, explanations from the teacher that this language ascribes genders to nouns will inevitably be met with cries of ‘but why?’ from the student. For their part, the teacher typically declares that it ‘just is’ failing to satisfy the inquisitive young mind, which (at least in my experience) later leads to a complete mental breakdown in which they scream ‘yeah it’s dumb, but you just have to learn it alright?’ [profanity retracted]
Mark Twain too was vexed by this seemingly nonsensical gender assignment to ordinary words, writing of his failed attempts at learning German:
‘Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a memorandum-book. In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl.’
This paragraph is composed of three core arguments:
The word ‘gender’ in a linguistic context derives from the Latin word genus via the French gendre, and originally meant ‘kind’ or ‘sort’ i.e. having no relation to biological sex whatsoever. In languages such as Sinhala, where the noun categories consist only of animate and inanimate, the idea of noun categories is still referred to as gender by linguists.
Language teachers who claim grammatical gender has no reason behind it are also out of luck. Languages with grammatical gender assign them in a consistent pattern following one of three broad systems: semantic, morphological or phonological.
Semantic systems are most likely the easiest for an English speaker to understand, as in these systems nouns are assigned a gender according to their meaning. In Tamil for example, masculine nouns refer to a god or male human, feminine nouns refer to a goddess or female human and all other nouns are designated neuter. There are some exceptions, such as in the case of anthropomorphised animals and metaphors, but the same occurs in English with animal characters in Disney movies having genders, and ships often being referred to as she.
In morphological systems, gender is typically determined by some grammatical feature. In Russian, the gender of many nouns is determined by their declensional type. Declension is when the form of a part of speech (e.g. adjective, noun or pronoun) changes to indicate some property of the word. In English, for example, we typically add an –s to indicate a noun is plural, or modify the word waiter to waitress to indicate we are referring to a woman. Russian has a far more complex system of declensions often grouped into four types. Generally, nouns of declension type 1 are masculine, those of types 2 and 3 are feminine and those of type 4 are neuter. Of course, there are some exceptions but these normally make semantic sense. Дядя (‘uncle’) belongs to declension type 2, and as such one would predict it has a female gender. In this case however, it has a male gender, as semantic rules (in this case male humans take a masculine gender) take precedence.
The phonological system is most common in the European languages that one typically learns in school – French, German and Spanish. It is also the most frequently applied system globally appearing in languages as diverse as Qafar, Hausa, Godie and Swedish. In these languages the sound and form of a noun determine its gender. In French, 97.1% of nouns ending in -sion such as persuasion are feminine as are 98.5% of nouns ending in -on like jambon. Indeed, around 85% of French nouns follow some kind of phonological pattern in attributing gender, and most of those that do not can be explained by a morphological or semantic rule. Mère and père for example attribute gender on the basis that a mother is by definition a woman, and a father a man. After accounting for these exceptions, only around 5% of French nouns follow no apparent pattern, and to argue one should learn the gender of every noun by rote because of this tiny fraction is absurd. When learning verb conjugations, the student is never expected to memorise every single one simply to accommodate the 5% of verbs which do not adhere to the standard rules.
Equally ridiculous is the idea that this system of noun categorisation serves no purpose. Languages rarely develop features with no functionality whatsoever. Studies on language acquisition in German children demonstrate that they understand the concept of pronouns by the age of two, whereas English-speaking children still use pronouns erroneously up until the age of five. This is because the tying of pronouns to grammatical gender makes the concept of pronouns less abstract. Similarly, French-speaking children understand the concept of grammatical number at a far younger age than English-speaking children, and perform better in arithmetic tests as a result. Although the reasons are not yet fully understood, linguists believe this is due to a relationship between number and gender. Overall, grammatical gender appears to speed up language acquisition and comprehension in infants, and children learning languages which have grammatical gender begin to speak at a younger age.
Grammatical gender also helps reduce ambiguity. In German, the words der Band, die Band and das Band (the ‘volume [of a series of books]’, the ‘group of musicians’ and the ‘ribbon’) are differentiated only by their gender. Moreover, the presence of three grammatical genders allows German speakers to use pronouns when English speakers would be forced to repeat a word in order to avoid confusion. For example, Germans could say ich nehme ihn/sie/es when referring back to three objects of different genders whereas English speakers would have to clarify what exactly it is that they are taking.
Ultimately, a frustration with grammatical gender is at best indicative of ignorance of its role and function. At worst it is a horrifying example of Anglocentrism whereby English speakers assume their language to be the only descendant of Proto-Germanic enlightened enough to reject the irrational and sexist constructs of lesser tongues. On the contrary, it is a massively useful tool, with greater consistency than many other grammatical features.
Michael Hendle, Linguistics Editor
I have rather fond memories of English class in school. Discussion was encouraged and it was a generally exciting class full of lively debate. I also remember (not so fondly) our teacher’s almost daily correction of our speech:
Student: ‘Please can I go toilet?’
Teacher: ‘No, but you may go to the toilet’ (with excessive emphasis upon the preposition and definite article)
Similarly, we would be repeatedly reprimanded for dropping our ts and hs, or for failing to pronounce the g in ‘everything’ and ‘anything’.
I have no doubts that my teacher had only the best intentions, perhaps believing that our ‘poor grammar’ would negatively affect our academic writing, or that we would be unfairly judged in future interviews for our idiolect. Indeed, in some ways she was entirely right. In written language of the kind taught in English class, a defined standard is required to enable the effective dissemination of information; yet enforcing these rules more widely, upon informal written or spoken language, is problematic on two levels.
First, supposing a ‘correct’ way to speak denies the evolving nature of language. Waismann deemed ‘correctness […] a useful, but a negative virtue. Follow those prophets [those who assume guardianship of language], and you will soon find yourself imprisoned in a language cage, clean, disinfected, and unpleasant like a sanatorium room.’ We must be able to bend and shape language to the purposes for which we require it, and expecting it to remain static makes it obsolete. Language is a tool for communication; we would not hold back from sharpening a blunt knife for fear of changing it.
Secondly, the very idea of ‘correct’ language, gives undue authority to single societal clique – typically the academic elite. R. A. Hall contends that ‘the only time we can call any usage completely incorrect is when it would never be used by any native speaker of the language, no matter what his social or intellectual standing’. Language is a vibrant democracy where all speakers contribute to its evolution, allowing them to express ideas meaningful to them and communicate on the same level as anyone else. Enforcing draconian grammar rules upon a conversation between two close friends transforms language into a technocracy governed by a council of faceless mandarins.
To give an example, the reproach and scorn speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) meet from some speakers of General American English (GAE) only serves to reinforce an unjust societal mechanism of marginalisation. Many white Americans term AAVE ‘slang’, ‘ghetto’ or ‘broken English’, yet AAVE is not, as it is commonly misperceived, a series of mistakes within the framework of GAE, but rather a complex and consistent system of grammar and phonology, and a fully-fledged dialect in its own right.
For example, the use of the double negative is a grammatically consistent feature of AAVE governed by rules like any other. ‘I didn't go nowhere today.’ intensifies the negation, whereas ‘I didn’t not go anywhere’ negates the initial negation i.e. makes it positive. In AAVE double negatives cannot be used however one pleases, but must be used on either side of the main verb. This is similar to the ‘ne . . . pas’ construction in French or Geoffrey Chaucer’s description of the friar in The Canterbury Tales: ‘Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous’. Speakers of GAE would be hard pressed to justify criticism of Chaucer or the entirety of the French language, yet find it easy to dismiss AAVE as ‘bad English’.
In the same vein, they would be unlikely to condemn the Shahada as grammatically incorrect. لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله would literally translate as ‘no god but God’, yet while Arabic is regarded as a language of poetry, AAVE speakers are told dropping verbs is uncouth. AAVE allows verb dropping only in very specific contexts, typically where GAE allows contraction, and applying it haphazardly would sound strange to any AAVE speaker. Again AAVE functions in the same consistent way as any respected language.
Yet perhaps the most commonly misappropriated part of AAVE is the habitual be. Speakers of GAE will often mockingly say phrases like ‘she be crazy’ reinforcing stereotypes about African Americans while simultaneously devaluing an incredibly complex grammatical feature. Speakers of AAVE use ‘be’ to express habituality. In other words, ‘he be working’ does not mean ‘he is currently working’, but rather, ‘he is in the general state of working’, ‘he works habitually’ or more simply ‘he has a job’. GAE can express habituality as well, but only when referring to the past. For example, ‘I used to walk to work every day’ means ‘I was previously in the habit of walking to work daily’. The habitual be is effectively an entire tense which is exclusive to AAVE, and allows speakers to concisely express complex concepts that speakers of other English dialects cannot.
Fundamentally, AAVE has a systematic and organised grammar, and in many ways is more complex than GAE. The abhorrence it induces is rooted in racism and classism. The United States public school system is more segregated now than at any point in American history since the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954. AAVE speakers are not less educated, but lack exposure to speakers of GAE (and vice versa). To deem speakers of a dialect unintelligent when the dialect itself developed in response to social segregation is unjustifiable. Humans are diverse and so too is the way we speak. Next time you encounter someone who speaks differently to you, consider that, maybe, they are not wrong, but simply express themselves in a different way.
By Michael Hendle, Linguistics Editor
The climate crisis poses an existential threat to human society and the ecology of the planet. As glaciers disappear and ecosystems deteriorate, so too is our language shaped by the world’s greatest challenge.
Our language massively affects how we perceive fundamental concepts such as colour, direction or time. Linguist Michael Halliday goes further, believing that even our interactions with the natural world are rooted in grammar.
He claims that, in English, we unfailingly regard any ‘growth’ word as neutral within pairs of two contrasting words. ‘It is always: how fast is the car (not how slow), how high is the building (not how low), how big is her income (not how small).’ In response, Anglophone societies have created an economic model promoting relentless growth at any cost.
Moreover, the dehumanising third person pronoun ‘it’ others all non-human beings and supposes that human development and environmental protection are in opposition. As Albert Einstein put it: ‘The environment is everything that isn’t me.’
Realising the influence that language has on our perceptions, publications such as the Guardian have replaced ‘climate-sceptic’ with ‘climate-denier’, and use ‘climate emergency’ and ‘ecological breakdown’ in place of ‘change’. For its part, Extinction Rebellion has rebranded the Holocene extinction as an ‘extermination’.
Many activists also suffer from climate grief – a new form of clinical depression. Sufferers typically use more rhetorical devices, aggressive punctuation, and an increasingly bleak choice of vocabulary when describing the future. Concordance analyses show that, while the word ‘future’ was traditionally paired with hopeful descriptors, adjectives are now overwhelmingly negative and qualifiers more intense.
Apart from the use of emotive language, the ongoing emergency has forced us to develop an entirely new lexicon. The terms ‘carbon footprint’ and ‘greenhouse gases’ have become so omnipresent that we no longer recognise them as metaphors, while the more recent ‘climate warriors’ suggests we are fighting against a corrupt, planet-destroying elite.
In Sweden, Greta Thunberg’s actions alone have led to an explosion in environmental vocabulary. ‘Flygskam’ or ‘flight shame’ stems from her call to stop flying, while the accompanying ‘tågskryt’ or ‘train brag’ describes individuals who flaunt their environmental credentials by highlighting their sustainable travel on social media.
Meanwhile in Germany, the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache made ‘Heißzeit’ its word of the year in 2018 describing the recent extreme heat of summers induced by global warming. The phonological similarity to ‘Eiszeit’ draws a parallel with the quaternary ice age highlighting that anthropogenic warming has created a new era in Earth’s climatic history.
Further afield, environmental degradation is one of the main drivers of language extinction. Vanuatu is home to over one hundred different languages, all at risk as rising sea levels create climate refugees. In Papua New Guinea, declines in biodiversity have resulted in similar declines in linguistic diversity. Although the relationship is not yet understood, both linguists and scientists predict distorted weather patterns and deforestation will see many of the remaining language go extinct within a generation.
As a species we are hitting our limits. We have developed a system that is not only destroying the planet, but also the way we communicate with one another and understand our culture. We are undermining our future capacity to sustain ourselves and a fundamental part of being human at the same time. Business-as-usual could lead to warming in excess of 6°C by the end of the century. Had our ancestors been born into such a world would we even have words for ice and snow?
MICHAEL HENDLE (LINGUISTICS EDITOR)
Gender forms an integral part of French Grammar. Pronouns, nouns and adjectives ‘agree’ with the objects to which they refer, all of which have a gender – be it a table or a human woman. French students are traditionally taught that ‘le masculin emporte sur le féminin’, meaning that the presence of one man in a crowd of women classifies the entire group as masculine. And in terms of nouns, especially those related to occupation, feminine forms are often more complex and are derived from their male counterparts. But to what extent does grammatical gender actually affect the thought processes of language user?
According to linguistic relativity theory, significantly. Simply put, the theory argues that the language which you use influences the way you think. This means that rigid grammatical gender structures may, subconsciously, force thinking in gendered terms. In a society that is beginning to refer to a spectrum of gender as opposed to a purely biological concept, thinking in binary oppositions could have a significant impact. It could also be argued that keeping the French language traditional reflects society’s gender bias. Within linguistic representation, women are often made to disappear. As previously mentioned, the use of masculine gender pronouns even when women outnumber men may make women feel forgettable and undervalued compared to their male counterparts.
Language failing to reflect society is an issue which has been previously addressed. Many activists have pointed out that before language reforms in the 17th century, adjectives took the gender of the noun closest to them rather than the leading noun, meaning that phrases such as ‘ces trois jours et ces trois nuits entiers’ would change to ‘entières’. L’écriture inclusive, developed by French feminists, aimed to make language more gender-neutral through placing a ‘point médian’ in words (salarié.e.s, for example), rendering the gender ambiguous. This was rejected in 2017 by l’Academie Française, who refused to allow the language to become a matter of political sociology. Perhaps, then, the way forward lies in the use of gender fair expressions: Spanish, for example, has adopted the use of ‘x’ instead of ‘o’/’a’, resulting in neutral adjectives such as ‘latinx’. In English, the rise in the use of the personal pronoun ‘they’ reflects a move to stop people thinking in binary terms – and our only nouns which carry gender are those relating directly to it.
However, many have referred to this as feminist activism masquerading as linguistic science, as there is very little substantial proof which suggests that language use of this kind actively shapes thinking. It has been suggested that fundamental changes within the French language is perhaps a step too far; there are, after all, far more pressing issues for feminism. Some argue that it is difficult to understand why feminists are choosing to focus on arbitrary changes to language when closing the pay gap or increasing female presence in managerial roles would more likely have a practical impact.
The use of a second word for job titles has also been debated in many languages other than French. Is it derogatory or empowering to call oneself an ‘actrice’ instead of an ‘acteur’? Using the masculine form as the neutral could mark a step away from constantly differentiating between men and women and thinking in binary terms. Ultimately, language evolves alongside its society. Lexis and grammar are constantly evolving and it is more than likely that the next few years will bring a shift in French to a more gender-neutral way of speaking – although it remains unclear how far this will go.
So this was roughly how my first conversation with my Japanese teacher went:
Me: “I want to learn Japanese, it’s not as hard as people make out right?”
Teacher: “Not at all! There are no tones like in Chinese, no cases like in German and no genders like in Latin languages”
Teacher: “We’ll start with one of the writing styles”
Me: “Wait, there’s more than one?”
Teacher: “We’ll start with Hiragana. There are 46 characters of them”
Me: “46! That’s almost twice the amount in the English alphabet!”
Teacher: “There’s also another 46 katakana characters to learn”
Me: “Ok, maybe I should have gone for Italian instead…”
Teacher: “And then there’s kanji”
Me: *gulps* “Right… how many of them are there?”
Teacher: “well there are over 50,000 in total, but don’t worry you’ll only need to know around 2,000”
Teacher: “Oh, and most kanji have at least two readings”
However, despite it being difficult to remember the characters individually, the three writing styles do all serve a distinct function.
There are two scripts of kana which are phonetic symbols for Japanese syllables, called Hiragana and Katakana. Then there are kanji which are characters adapted from Chinese and they represent whole words. It’s not possible to only learn one writing style (I asked) because often they are used simultaneously, sometimes even in the same sentence.
Hiragana first emerged at the Heian court (now Kyoto) in the 8th century when women created a simpler alternative to kanji as only men were allowed to be educated in reading and writing it.
What is it used for?
It’s often used for grammatical purposes, for example for particles or prepositions or for inflectional endings of adjectives or verbs, for example for different tenses. It can also be sometimes used for words with obscure or difficult kanji, onomatopoeia and colloquial expressions.
Originally, katakana were essentially notations professionals would write in the borders of official government documents and texts to help them remember kanji. Over time, these have been standardised and simplified into symbols themselves.
What is it used for?
Now it is used for representing foreign names and vocabulary because there are no kanji associated with these words. Words that are associated with brands such as McDonalds or foreign items, such as hamburger… (sorry, I’m hungry). A good equivalent would be when italics is used in English for unfamiliar or foreign words.
And finally, the biggie: Kanji. It was first introduced in the 4th or 5th century at a time when the spoken Japanese language had no writing system. Therefore Chinese characters were adopted. This explains why there are often at least two readings for most kanji; the Chinese word it originally represented and the Japanese one. I realised this quite quickly when the Chinese students of my classes would utter soft “ahh”s of understanding when the teacher wrote a kanji on the board, whilst I would be sat at the back, despairing about how similar all the characters looked. As of 2010, Japanese primary and secondary school students are required to learn 2,136.
What is it used for?
Kanji is used for most nouns. Grammatically, the characters also represent the stems of verbs and adjectives.
So, the different styles do serve a purpose. They’re also not simply retained out of tradition, but because kanji provides a useful break between the nouns and verbs making it easier to read. For example if it was all just hiragana it would be hard to read, like readingEnglishwithoutanyspaces. Also, maybe next time when I’m complaining about all the hiragana characters I have to remember, I’ll remember that it’s actually a symbol of female empowerment.
Written by Laura Hunt
Italy: the country of pizza, pasta, opera, Ferraris and fashion! But did you know that despite being a fairly small country, there are around 34* different languages/dialects currently spoken on the Italian peninsula and its islands? When you compare this to the UK, with a similar population but under 10* native languages, it’s quite impressive. So why is there such a variety of Italian dialects?
To fully understand the current linguistic situation in Italy we need to take a look at the history of the nation. At the time of the unification of Italy in 1871, there was no one language spoken throughout the country; instead, there were as many languages as there were villages! These languages, the Italian dialects, all came from different varieties of spoken Latin, and although they shared many common elements, they were not all mutually intelligible. Some, such as the Sicilian dialects, had incorporated influence from the language of the Greeks who had occupied their land, while others in the North had been affected by the Celtic languages previously spoken in their regions before the invasion of the Romans and the spread of Latin. These, along with other factors, led to many different versions of Latin being spoken in the different regions, which have evolved today into the many contemporary Italian dialects.
However, a nation doesn’t really work if people from different regions are unable understand each other, or more importantly the language of the rulers. So after the unification of Italy one of these dialects was chosen over the others to become what is now known as standard Italian. The language chosen for this was the literary Tuscan dialect, the language of Dante and Manzoni, and it was spread through the country with the help of the TV.
For a while, dialect use, although often continued at home, was discouraged in public as it was seen as the language of the uneducated, and during Mussolini’s dictatorship its public use was outlawed. Fewer and fewer people spoke their regional dialects and some wondered whether they would die out in favour of the potentially more useful standard Italian. However, with the rise of bilingualism (Italian and dialect), its prejudice is reducing, and it is more often seen positively, as an additional expressive tool. Now, bilingual Italians can choose which language to use, and while standard Italian is still becoming more common for general communication, when Italians are angry, or want to express emotions, a sense of belonging or shared experience, they often turn to dialect to allow them to express what standard Italian cannot.
*these figures are debated, depending on which territories you count, and what counts as a different language.
Image source: https://pixabay.com/
The problem of “untranslatable” words is one that translators will always face. Many people have heard of schadenfreude, the German word for taking pleasure in someone else’s pain. But this is merely one of many words that the English language does not have its own word for. Another such example is the word mudita, a Sanskrit word for when one finds joy in the happiness of others; a word that has the opposite meaning to schadenfreude. Words such as these are often incorrectly called untranslatable words.
The nature of language means that any word can be translated, even if it requires more of an explanation than those words which have a verbatim translation into the target language. Thus these words are not untranslatable; they simply lack a direct translation into English.
In some cases, these words serve only to create problems for translators. In others, these words without direct translation are instead adopted into other languages. These are known as loanwords, and there are many present in our day to day lives that we simply fail to realise come from other languages. On top of the more conspicuous example of schadenfreude, certain words we use quite frequently are actually loanwords. Faux pas, café and kindergarten are three common examples of loanwords. Faux pas and café are quite obviously derived from the French language, and many people would recognise them as French words, but it is not something that we think about when we use them. Kindergarten is a more obscure example. The word comes from German, literally translating as ‘children’s garden’, and is a very commonplace word used every day, especially in America, yet many people would not be aware of its Germanic roots.
When languages adopt the words of other languages, they can either take on the same meaning, or it can be altered slightly. For example, if we again take the French example café, which directly translates to ‘coffee’, this has clearly not taken on the same meaning in English as it does in French. However, in Italian, many English words are implemented into their language, such as the word film, which has the same meaning in both languages. This word is taken straight from the English language and is not even adapted to behave the same way grammatically as other Italian words.
The adoption of these words between various languages shows us that languages are constantly evolving and adapting with the world, and also how languages can learn from each other to improve their lexicon.
The overriding message from Nikesh Shukla’s tale ‘Namaste’ is, perhaps, that “Language Is Important”. Capitalising these words highlights their poignancy: it is a simple phrase, easily constructed and free of complicated clauses, and yet it, in itself, matters.
Truthfully, the evening bridged how the use of language and everyday ignorance can build into actions of a greater magnitude. Highlighting just how severely language can be simultaneously ignored and manipulated, to the extent of blatant ignorance and lack of care, Shukla noted the misuse of language on such trivial – but commonly encountered – things as on menus and in video games. He also mentioned the comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who, upon beginning to play Call of Duty (set in Karachi, Pakistan), discovered that the animated road signs were written in Arabic rather than in the national language, Urdu. In Shukla’s own words: “millions were spent developing this game, yet at no point did anyone decide to Google the language of Pakistan”. Another example from his reading focused on his experience at an Indian restaurant. Noticing the inclusion of ‘Chicken Chuddi’ on the menu, he called the proprietor over to contest the use of ‘chuddi’ – meaning ‘pants’.
Yet another, perhaps more startling in its bluntness, came from ‘Miss L’ (whose real name remains undisclosed). Indeed, it was her name that brought, once again, the power of language to the fore. Ultimately, ‘Miss L’, an actress, maintains her anonymity in an attempt to disguise her ethnicity and heritage from those judging her off a piece of paper, namely her CV. The reason for this is that her chances of being hired for a role that does not focus on the ethnicity of the character are, otherwise, incredibly slim. This, all on account of one word; a combination of letters formed in such a way that they can dictate your job prospects, your options, your future.
No matter how small the ‘error’, its ramifications will go beyond a mere annoyance — both emotionally and within society. If the above examples show us one thing, it is that we sometimes don’t care enough about other cultures to treat them with the same kind of respect we expect for our own. We seem to simply grab at words and, if they sound about right, use them without a second thought, stealing them for ourselves or putting them into an incorrect context. Our apathy towards such matters only serves to increase our ignorance and encourage other such acts of microaggression. To avoid this, we must accept that Language Is Important and begin to pay closer attention to how we use words in our own language, as well as words borrowed from others.
All - from the top
- Bilingual brains - does age matter?
- The Pronoun Problem
- Sign Languages
-Crazy Collective Nouns
- Elephant in the Room: Will translation software make language studies extinct?
- Native Tongue: A review
- Element Etymology
- Why can’t I say that? The Origins, Evolution and Usage of Profanity.
- Who are you anyway? A Brief Look at Kinship Terminology
- Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder?
- Interpreting for the Queen: Dr Kevin Lin´s Appointment to the School of Modern Languages
- The problem with Auxlangs
- Language Revitalisation
- Christmas Etymology
- Our Tower of Babel: What is a language?
- Gender Confused? Grammatical Gender Explained
- Dialectal Discrimination- How the climate crisis is impacting language- 'Feminisé.e : to what extent does gendered language affect our attitudes towards gender?'
- The Three Japanese Writing Styles: Where they come from, what they’re used for and why they exist
- Italy: Division in Unity
- From schadenfreude to mudita: “Untranslatable” Words
- A Conversation in Ignorance