Month: June 2011

Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments Les Newsletters Online Language Resources for English Reading

Newsletter: 10 June, 2011 – free

I don’t know if it’s fair to say that native English speakers are lazier than anyone else … but in general, if we’re given the opportunity to take a short-cut, find an easier way of doing something or choosing between a short word and a long one, we opt for the route of least resistance, the most effort-free (effortless?) path … and that even when it doesn’t take us to our intended destination.

We love the idea of freedom and the ease and brevity of the word


Free in the sense that you get something for nothing – a situation which I, personally,  haven’t yet encountered – but which is promised day in and day out.

dash(-)free = without = ((sans)) and that’s easy enough, isn’t it?

By dash-free, I mean without … whatever comes before the dash.

A handier suffix would be hard to find. Advertisers love it: Because we are warned that sugar will shorten our natural lives,  “sugar-free” is the obvious weapon for the account exec.
Airports, especially the one in Dubai, I’m told base their economies on it: “duty free.” In that one, the dash vanished! dutyfree has become,  in fact, dashfree… how about trouble-free? worry-free? oil-free? phone-free?  These all carry the notion of not having a weight to carry … so of course, being problem-free. Yes, you can actually feel the freedom.

But not everything can be dash(-)freed. But no need to fear, the solution is near. How?  … what’s more? the other suffix: dash(-)less. This is the other way to say “without” without saying it. Yes, -less, is often in fact, really dashless: … as in weightless; homeless; or … blameless … even spotless …. or when something is worth so much that it cannot be given a monetary value … why, it’s priceless!

Like today. Can’t put a value on a day or night!  If only we could always be … as careless … no, not so careless …. as … just simply … carefree!

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

The Bilingual Advantage

By  – Published: May 30, 2011 – The New York Times

A cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok has spent almost 40 years learning about how bilingualism sharpens the mind. Her good news: Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Dr. Bialystok, 62, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, was awarded a $100,000 Killam Prize last year for her contributions to social science. We spoke for two hours in a Washington hotel room in February and again, more recently, by telephone. An edited version of the two conversations follows.

Chris Young for The New York Times