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Our company blog featuring our work teaching English pronunciation, grammar, and test preparation in Washington D.C.  Our place to share resources for improving English language skills and for newcomers to the city.

Untranslatable Words From Around the World

This gorgeous illustrated book of untranslatable words from around the world is definitely on our must-read list! Author and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders does a wonderful job of capturing those sensations, experiences and precise moments that simply can't be described with a single English word. The richness of the world's languages is presented as a visual delight.

'Word Crimes' parody music video

"Weird Al" Yankovic has been making parodies of popular songs since the 1980s, and this particular one is a commentary on the general decline of writing skills in the US. It's aimed at native speakers who don't bother with grammar and writing conventions as well as those who write in text language. If you are still confused about when to use 'its' versus 'it's', then this one is for you. It's time "2 lern some grammer."

Third Language Map of the US by State

Most people know that Spanish is the second most common language in the US, but what is the third? This map shows the breakdown by state of the third most common languages, and some of the results may surprise you. It's also a good indicator of immigrant settlements in the US and clusters of Native American tribes. Scroll down for even more specific language breakdowns. What are the most common languages aside from Spanish in your community?

What is 'good writing' in English?

William Zinsser is a prolific writer, a professor, and author of the classic writing text On Writing Well. In this speech to the incoming international students at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, he explores the concept of 'good writing' and how it is intricately tied to both the structure and culture of the native language. He goes on to explain how this plays out in English. It's a fun and informative read for any lover of languages and anyone who wishes to improve his/her writing in English. The intended audience is nonnative speakers of English, but native speakers can benefit from his advice, too.

What is considered 'good' writing in your language? How is it different from English?

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