Tag Archives: strange English

Research in English (Linguistics) A session 2: April 22nd, 2011

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Room change: S502

Attendance: 4 students

Today’s lesson:

  1. What is language?
    1. It is the communication of meaning by sound, words (written or spoken) or body language.
  2. What is linguistics?
    1. It is the scientific study of language.
  3. What is science (or scientific study)?
    1. A science has 4 stages
      1. speculation
      2. observation
      3. making hypotheses
      4. testing the hypotheses – a good hypothesis or theory must be
        1. exhaustive
        2. consistent
        3. economical (“as simple as possible, but no simpler” – Einstein)
  4. We read chapter 1 and answered these questions:
    1. How many people speak English in the world?
    2. How many countries’ airlines use English?
    3. How many English newspapers are there in India?
    4. How many students of English are there in China?
    5. How many words are there in the Oxford English dictionary?
    6. What does “culacino” mean and what language is it?
  5. We read pages 1 and 2.
  6. We studied examples of strange English. Here are some examples of strange Japanese:
    1. おかしな日本語
    2. 変な日本語商品みっけ!
    3. 変な日本語かばん
  7. Many other languages borrow English words and phrases, for example
    1. ein Image Problem (German)
    2. das Cashflow (German)
    3. il software (Italian)
    4. le weekend break (French)
    5. les refueling stops (French)
    6. telewizja (Polish)
    7. flirt (Spanish)
    8. Big Macs (Austrian)
    9. pikku-nikku (Japanese)
  8. Can you think of some other examples in Japanese of English “loan-words” 外来語?


  1. Leave a comment on this blog by midnight, Wednesday May 4th. (use only your FAMILY name)
  2. Write up your answers to the 56 questions above in a single paragraph. Use complete sentences. Save it as a Word document named “Research in English (Your Name).
  3. Email it to me by midnight, Wednesday May 4th.
  4. Finish reading chapter 1.
Bill Bryson, author of "Mother Tongue"
Bill Bryson