Recent Posts

Language and power in the Dutch empire

Language policies are structural elements of colonial domination because they undermine the cultural identity of the subdued populations. Here I will discuss the checkered relationship between language and imperialism, paying special attention to the Dutch case. A story of language, power and inequalities.

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Hot stuff: Talking about temperature

The weather. Ugh, yeah I know, the weather. Possibly the most common thing we all like to complain about and also a (stereo?) typical topic of small talk. In every language course I have ever taken, words and phrases describing weather phenomena are among the first I learned. Speakers of languages all around the world love talking about it and with the UN climate report released recently, I cannot imagine us stopping any time soon. However, we don’t all talk about the weather in the same way.

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The infinite space inside your head: The birth of conceptual spaces

Some writers are ahead of their time. When Jules Verne published From the Earth to the Moon in 1865, not many of his readers (perhaps not even Verne himself) thought the journey to the moon would ever become reality. But it did. Similar stories can be found in science. The gist of an idea may be born as a metaphor, a way to better understand the object of study itself, a crazy hypothesis about how things could be. This blog series tells one such story. The basic idea is that the concepts we have in our minds form a space, a conceptual space. And not just in an abstract theoretical way, but quite literally so. But let’s start with the basic question: What is a concept?

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Aphasia – what now?

As we saw in part one of the article on the topic of aphasia, even though different types of communication disorders exist, some symptoms tend to overlap. In part two, we will examine how clinicians diagnose speech and communication disorders and which factors influence the recovery for diagnosed patients. Here the focus lies on patients who have been admitted to hospital with some kind of neurological damage, such as stroke. In these cases, the language impairments are only a side effect of the actual medical diagnosis and not the reason for seeing a neurologist. In these situations, patients’ language difficulties can be easily overlooked during treatment.

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Learning to Communicate in the Virtual World

Screen time is playing a bigger and bigger role in children’s lives. With the rapid development of technology, not only do children spend time watching TV and playing video games, but many in-person interactions are becoming replaced by virtual communication, especially in expat families. The corona pandemic increased the need for video calls to keep in touch with relatives and friends even more. For my daughter and me, video calls with extended family became a daily routine, so much so that I started to wonder about the role this technology was playing in her language development.

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