Twenty Years

Next weekend, Coronado Brewing Co. celebrates twenty years of beer. There will be food trucks and live music. There will be raffle prizes and commemorative glassware. There will be beer.

To mark this milestone, Coronado’s team made a new imperial IPA with a blend of experimental and sought after hops – Citra, Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc, and a few unnamed, unnumbered varieties. They call it 20.

The beer is amber colored and very hoppy. It reeks of hops. It smells like a potpourri of dried flowers and citrus peels in a cedar box. The flavors are all over the place too. A savory note of curry spice meets lime juice. It tingles all the way down your throat. It’s tangy; it’s heady; it’s delicious.

A quick visit to Modern Times - a taster of Underworld Dreams IPA (a 3 of 4), and a growler of Orderville to go. Reviewed Orderville before (it is great), but Underworld Dreams is new. And it is also pretty great. The cloudy, almost fruit-juice-like appearance is really nice, and there’s a ton of tropical fruit and bright notes throughout. Some citrus pith-like bitterness in the body, and finishes relatively cleanly with some great juice-like sweetness to balance.

learning IPA like


Language and Linguistics Resources

1. All sites are online and free. 

2. It’s hard to separate into Languages and Linguistics because there’s a lot of overlap. Many of these sites could be on either list. 


World Atlas of Language Structures Online

Speech Accent Archive - listen to a paragraph read in English by speakers of other languages

List of Languages by Writing Script

List of Endangered Languages

Type the IPA

Ethnologue - Information about the languages of the world

23 Maps and Charts on Language

Endangered Languages Project

Listen to the IPA

Linguistics pdfs

Articles and videos on linguistics

Google Ngram Viewer - looks at the use of words over time

Concise Encyclopedia of the Languages of the World

Language learning:

Lang-8  - practice writing and receive corrections from native speakers

Memrise  - practice vocab

Tatoeba - find a sentence that uses your word

Harry Potter - listen to the beginning of Harry Potter read in  60+ languages

A User’s Guide to the Best Swear in Every* Language (*obviously not every language. whatever buzzfeed)

Wordreference  - the French and Spanish dictionaries are really good, the others are meh

BBC Languages - Not very in depth but offers quite a few small European languages such as Manx, Luxembourgish, and Guernésiais

Languagehelpers.com  - Translation, language facts, and information about some scripts

Transparent Language Blogs - occasionally has interesting articles about various languages 

Students of the World Penpals - Correspond in your target language with a native speaker

The Polyglot Project - Read books in your target languages; built in translation feature

mylanguages.org - offers a huge variety of languages; introductory/beginner level 

SayJack - Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

Duolingo but I’m sure you all know this one XD

A-Z Index of Omniglot - SUPER informative resource especially for smaller, lesser known languages; provides information as well as LINKS to learning resources for each language

Dramafever - watch TV in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, and English (they have like one or two in Portuguese as well)

Interesting/fun article about some interesting languages (I don’t really like their use of the word ‘bizarre’ here)

Interesting blog about a guy’s experiences with 37 languages 

Look at videos trending on youtube by country

Top websites by country - useful in finding advanced content in your target language

Project Gutenberg - Read books in English, French, Dutch, and Portuguese

Yabla -  Watch videos in your target language

Wikitongues - A youtube channel featuring speakers of a wide variety of languages (they have a tumblr too!)

Foreign Language Music

Forvo - listen to words pronounced by native speakers

Rate your foreign language fluency

Lingro - “the coolest dictionary known to hombre”

The world’s most multilingual countries

World Language Store - by products (for example, books) from around the world

Foreign Service Institute Language Courses

Interlinear books - foreign language books with the english translations below

Global Language Online  - material drawn from radio, newspaper etc. 

Resource list  for learning over 50 languages

Tumblr blogs for specific languages - most are inactive but may still be good resources

Read articles in your target language!

Babla - online language dictionaries

Collins Dictionaries Online

Peace Corps Language Courses

Culture Talk - Videos about culture

Innovative Language Learning - Youtube channels teaching over 30 languages


Dictionaries for a LOT of languages

Read Grimm’s fairytales in other languages

European radio stations streaming live

TV streaming live

How I Learn Languages - pdf of the book by Hungarian polyglot Kató Lomb

Lyrics Training - this is a REALLY FUN way to practice listening

The Schwa Is the Laziest Sound in All of Human Speech

Arika Okrent explains schwas on Lexicon Valley

We all know that English spelling is rarely a good guide to pronunciation. One big reason for this is the prevalence of schwa in the spoken language. That’s why dictionaries and other written guides to pronunciation make use of a special symbol to represent the schwa sound. It looks like this: ǝ—an upside down e. But what is schwa anyway? Here are nine things to help you get to know this very important vowel.


A schwa is the ‘uh’ sound found in an unstressed syllable. For example, the first syllable in amazing (ǝ-MA-zing), the first syllable in tenacious (tǝ-NA-cious), the second syllable in replicate (RE-plǝ-cate), the second syllable in percolate (PER-cǝ-late), the first syllable in supply (sǝ –PLY), the first syllable in syringe (sǝ-RINGE). That’s a written A, E, I, O, U and even a Y coming out as schwa in the spoken version.

Schwas are very common in English (although they’re surprisingly difficult to play in IPA Scrabble, because they’re far more common in polysyllabic words). They’re less common in other languages, and are one of the things that contribute to non-native accents in both directions: English speakers tend to reduce vowels to schwa even when it’s unwarranted, and speakers of many other languages tend to pronounce too many full vowels. 

Because of how common and distinctively-shaped schwa is, it (along with wugs) have become a ubiquitous icon for linguistics. For example, there’s a schwa necklace, dozens of schwa mugs and t-shirts, and of course the publication Schwa Fire

Where did the vowel space get its shape?

Quick answer: The jaw.

Slightly longer answer: The jaw is attached like a hinge, so it doesn’t drop straight down when you open your mouth. Moreover, your jaw is the part that’s moving, not the rest of your head. So, when your mouth opens, it’s like a door swinging open: it moves along a circular path relative to the immobile parts of your head.

Originally posted by gifsboom

But the vowel space isn’t rounded, it’s a trapezoid. This is due to the simplification of a complex shape to something easier to draw and conceptualize. Here’s a gif of how the tongue moves to create different mouth shapes that correspond to different vowels.

  • Close/High + Back = [u]
  • Mid + Back = [o] or [ɔ]
  • Open/Low + Back = [ɑ]
  • Open/Low + Front = [æ]
  • Mid + Front = [e] or [ɛ]
  • Close/High + Front = [i]

(Note: This isn’t showing all of the vowels of English, which is why I group some of the -High, -Low vowels together)


3 Ways To Clean Your MakeUp Brushes!

If you only have a limited amount of brushes and don’t want to wash your brush in between using different eyeshadow colours, then check out my tutorial - I show you how to remove the excess pigment so you can go straight onto using an alternative colour with the same brush.

I also show you how to hygienically sanitise & rapidly clean each brush so you can use them of different people, with only a 5 minute drying time!

And lastly, I show you how to deep clean your brush set & finish them off with a quick spritz to sanitise them.


These IPA Scrabble pictures are courtesy of Tom McCoy and the Yale Undergraduate Linguistics Society, who used my post how to make your own IPA Scrabble set (plus some bonus woodworking help; my instructions are for cardboard!) to make this gorgeous set of tiles. Including, ahem, a few bonus ones. Tom says: 

The Scrabble set was made by YULS (the Yale Undergraduate Linguistics Society), which was started by Aidan Kaplan, Alexa Little, and me. We also could not have made the Scrabble set without the help of Antonio Martinez, a non-linguist friend, who did the actual laser cutting and engraving of the tiles.
I think the one major rule change we decided on was that you could use a tile for sounds like m, n, r, and l to represent the syllabic form of that sound. So, for example, “butter” could be played either as [b SCHWA t r] or [b SCHWA t SCHWA r], and “button” could be [b SCHWA t n] or [b SCHWA t SCHWA n].
We also thought of another variant that would be significantly easier to play (although we have not yet played it): Rather than phonetic Scrabble, it would be phonotactic Scrabble, in which you are allowed to play any string of sounds that *could* be an English word.

Has anyone else ever played IPA Scrabble? I’d love to see more pictures, especially if you have any particularly epic words!