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December 18 2013

Top 10 Most Popular Languages on Twitter

While English is the most popular language on Twitter, it may surprise you that the majority of published tweets are not in the mother tongue of the company's founders

Just over one-third (34%) of all tweets were in English in September. With 16%, Japanese is the second-most popular language on the microblogging network, while Spanish clocks in at third place.

Created by Statista, the chart, below, shows the 10 most popular languages on Twitter

131217_Twitter_Sprachen_Mashable_nHave something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Flickr, wisegie

More about English, Social Media, Languages, Twitter, and World

November 25 2013

The Period Is Pissed: Texting Made Our Plainest Punctuation Aggressive


The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Recently, however, it’s started getting angry. I’ve noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce “I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.”

Say you find yourself limping to the finish of a wearing workday. You text your girlfriend: “I know we made a reservation for your bday tonight but wouldn’t it be more romantic if we ate in instead?” If she replies:

we could do that

Then you can ring up Papa John’s and order something special. But if she replies, Read more...

More about English, Instant Messaging, Texting, Language, and Spelling

November 19 2013

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet

Let's start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.

The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself.

I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun." Read more...

More about Internet, English, Languages, Grammar, and Social Media

December 21 2010

“WikiLeaks” Becomes a Recognized Word in the English Language

The Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced Tuesday that “WikiLeaks” has achieved the geographic reach, depth and breadth of usage to be considered a proper English word.

While the organization’s name is properly spelled with a capital W and L, the English word is simply “wikileaks.”

And it’s true that there’s no official governing body for the English language; rather, popular usage itself is the arbiter of new vocabulary.

We’re not surprised by the revelation that WikiLeaks has been on many a tongue recently; people are talking and writing about WikiLeaks at incredible volumes this year.

And the organization’s (and its founder’s) exploits haven’t just captured the minds of the tech set, either. Julian Assange made a faux-appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend — if that’s not a zeitgeist for popular culture, we don’t know what is.

Nevertheless, the word has yet to become a trending topic on Twitter; Twitter reps say the mentions of WikiLeaks haven’t yet made the grade when it comes to volume and velocity.

Other words, such as “google” and “friending,” have become commonly used as verbs. While the former was a proper noun and company name, most of us (with the exception of Steve Ballmer and a few others) don’t mind saying that we’re going to google a search term these days.

However, we’re still waiting for “wikileaks” to be used as anything but a proper noun and organizational moniker. How would “wikileaks” be used as a verb, anyhow? Your ideas are welcomed in the comments.

More About: english, global language monitor, language, wikileaks

For more Tech coverage:

September 02 2010

15 Essential Back to School Podcasts

Podcast Books

Alexander Hotz is a freelance multimedia journalist and public radio junkie based in New York City. Currently he teaches digital media at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Follow Alex on Twitter at @hotzington.

With another long hot American summer coming to a close, many students are scrambling to get back into “learning mode” before school starts. One of the simplest ways to ease that transition is with podcasts. Whether your passion is American History or Algebra, there’s probably an educational podcast out there for you.

While these programs probably won’t mirror your lesson plan, they will explore topics covered in class. Below is a sampling of some of the exceptional podcasts that both teach and entertain. Best of all – they’re free. Read on for your “2010 Downloading Curriculum.”


radiolab image

Radiolab investigates some of world’s most intriguing scientific questions in a unique conversational format. Recent episodes have examined the importance of words in human development and time. First time listeners will probably notice that the show also just sounds different.

Before becoming a radio producer, Jab Abumrad, one of Radiolab’s creators, was as an experimental musician. Abumrad’s passion for ProTools is apparent in the show’s textured soundscape, which is layered with a variety of sound effects and quick edits. Perhaps the show’s only downside is its frequency. There are only a handful of episodes every season because one Radiolab episode requires months to produce.

Outlet: WNYC, New York City’s Public Radio Station
Time: An Hour
Frequency: 5-6 every season

Additional Listening: The Naked Scientists Podcast


dan carlin image

In Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Carlin, a veteran journalist turned podcaster, dissects the textbook version of events. In shows that often run over an hour, the host passionately retells some of history’s best stories.

Hardcore History has become one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes, and Carlin’s widespread appeal can also be attributed to his insight. One podcast asked, “Could widespread child abuse in earlier eras explain some of history’s brutality?” Another show was based off the question, “Does the toughness of peoples play any role in history?” Don’t let the name fool you; all material is appropriate for younger listeners.

Outlet: Dan Carlin
Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours
Frequency: 5-6 every year

Additional Listening: Stuff You Missed in History Class


planet money image

Planet Money is NPR’s podcast on global economics and business. Initially created by veteran public radio reporters Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson to explain the recent financial crisis, the show quickly became one of the most popular and praised podcasts available.

Planet Money’s success lies in how it tackles complex subjects with great storytelling. A financial instrument like a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) may sound impossibly boring, but Planet Money routinely makes these types of things the heart of a thrilling narrative. The team continues to explore the financial collapse, but they’ve expanded their scope to include all aspects of the global economy.

Outlet: NPR
Time: 15-30 minutes
Frequency: Twice a week

Additional Listening: Freakanomics Radio

Disclosure: The author interned at NPR.


cliff notes image

For those of us who couldn’t make it through Wuthering Heights, Cliff Notes Cramcast would have been a lifesaver. This free podcast reviews some of the stuff you need to know for the big test and does it in three to four minutes. Of course, these podcasts can’t cover every detail. To do that, you would — you know — need to read the book.

Outlet: Cliff Notes
Time: 15-30 minutes
Frequency: Twice a week

Additional Listening: Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips

Foreign Language

radio lingua image

The Internet is full of podcasts that cater to students learning foreign languages. For those interested in the major European languages, Radio Lingua is a good bet. Another reliable hub is Open University, which in addition to the European languages also has a set of Mandarin podcasts. These outlets are mainly for beginners or students who need a quick review. Both are rated highly on iTunes by users.

Outlets: Radio Lingua and Open University
Time: 15-30 minutes
Frequency: Lesson plan

Additional Listening: Other reliable podcasts include Discover Spanish and Learn French.


math dude image

For those of us who struggle to calculate a 15% tip, The Math Dude’s podcast is a must-listen. Every week, affable nerd Jason Marshall explains basic concepts like how to calculate the area of an object or how to add faster. When Marshall isn’t podcasting, he researches “infrared light emitted by starburst galaxies and quasars” at Caltech, which just means his left-brain knows what’s up.

Outlet: Quick and Dirty Tips
Time: About 7 minutes
Frequency: Weekly

Additional Listening: Mathgrad.

Current Events

the bugle image

Every Sunday, comedians Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver recap the week’s events in The Bugle, a satirical podcast that is easily one of the funniest listens on the Internet. Think an audio version of The Daily Show, where Oliver is also a regular. The Bugle’s focus tends to be on the biggest international news, but the duo’s separate locations – Zaltzman in London and Oliver in New York City – ensure a focus on the English-speaking world’s antics. Although the pair has a leftward slant, there are no sacred cows. The Bugle even takes aim at itself in its tagline: “An audio newspaper for a visual world.”

Outlet: The Times (UK)
Time: 30 minutes
Frequency: Weekly

Additional Listening: NPR News, BBC World Service

More Educational Resources from Mashable:

- 10 iPhone Apps to Get You Back to School
- Why Online Education Needs to Get Social
- 5 Innovative Tech Camps for Kids and Teens
- 5 Organizations Helping Women Get Ahead in Tech
- 5 Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Math Online

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

Reviews: Internet, iStockphoto, iTunes

More About: back to school, cliff notes cramcast, current events, dan carlin, economics, education, english, foreign language, history, itunes, math, planet money, podcast, podcasts, radio lingua, radiolab, Science, the bugle, the math dude

For more Tech coverage:

August 24 2010

10 iPhone Apps to Get You Back to School

As August nights get cooler, we begin begrudgingly counting down the remaining summer days. Once Labor Day passes, it’s back to school time for millions.

The best part of going back to school is clearly the shopping. Even though a new notebook can go a long way in preparing you for the new year, the iPhone also has a ton of apps that will help to get you organized and in the right mind-space to focus and learn.

Last year we brought you 10 awesome applications and now we are updating and adding to that list, ensuring you have a smooth transition when returning to those hallowed halls.

From the college-bound to those who are still lucky enough to enjoy recess, here is a list of the best back to school apps.

1. Open Culture

Going back to school can be a shock to the system. You’ve probably spent the last few months relaxing, hanging out with friends, or transitioning from summer job mode. Hours of classes, papers and assignments can be rough, so to get yourself in a more intellectual space, you can check out Open Culture, which gives you free access to a huge selection of educational and intellectual audio and video collections.

Because acing school often has to do with time management, this app can really help you out in the multitasking department. Choose from a decent list of classics available as audio books while you do your laundry or hit the gym. The “Ideas and Culture” option has a lengthy list of podcasts and radio shows that will tune you into some striking commentary and analysis from some of today’s most interesting thinkers. There is also access to free university lectures plus foreign language lessons and scientific tutorials; as if you didn’t have enough to deal with.

2. Mental Case

Those first tests are but a few weeks away, and it’s up to you to make studying for them as easy as possible. For $4.99, Mental Case lets you create oh-so-handy flashcards on your iPhone. If you’re still leaning toward making them out of paper, then the added bonus of being able to record audio and insert images to the cards may sway your thoughts.

In addition to making your own custom flashcards, you also have access to FlashcardExchange where you can choose from over 21 million cards on a huge range of topics.

If you’d rather not spend all your time studying from your phone, you can download the flash cards to your computer.

3. Rate My Professor

A professor can often make or break a course. Some love teaching and really bring excitement and innovation to the lecture hall, while others have sleep-inducing voices and read straight out of the textbook. Rate My Professors is a useful app in deciding what courses you want to try to get into and which ones you should probably ditch before the add/drop period is over.

While versions of Rate My everything — from teachers, to doctors to dentists — have existed for years, this app is a great way to let other students know when your prof does something great or should just be avoided. You can tweet or post the messages to Facebook, but use caution if you plan to publicize a bad review.

4. myHomework and iStudiez Pro

myHomework and iStudiez Pro are two apps we have reviewed before, but we simply can’t leave them off this list. myHomework is a free app that will help you stay afloat amidst the sea of assignments you’ll have to tackle.

Color coding helps you keep track of assignments in different classes, and when they’re due. If you are a great organizer, you can use the app to intricately plan how much of each assignment you want to accomplish and by what date to really keep you on track. The app has been updated since we last reviewed it, and you can now view your homework in a day or calendar view, as well as send homework reminders to friends.

iStudiez Pro is a paid app ($2.99) that will help you keep track of your student life. Here you can track your class schedule, so you aren’t missing lectures and ending up at the wrong end of campus, and you can also color-code each of your classes with their corresponding assignments, and be notified of their due dates on the apps calendar.

5. Free Translator

French class may be frustrating, but it’s not hopeless. Free translator is a great way to help you learn another language, as you can discover words that are more relevant to your life.

This app supports a ton of languages, so you even if your school doesn’t offer Polish or Korean lessons, you can learn a few things on your own. It also won’t hurt to have it handy when your French teacher calls on you in class.

6. Chegg

So this probably isn’t news to anyone entering or already in college; textbooks are expensive. Even courseware, which is often a compilation of photocopied texts, can run you hundreds of dollars. Since you probably just dropped a ton of cash on tuition, why not try and save some money where you can without sacrificing your education?

Chegg is a free app that does just that. It’s a textbook rental company with millions of titles to choose from, which is a real bonus considering you don’t have to brave the school book store and stand in line for hours.

You can search for your book by title, author or ISBN, or simply scan its barcode. The app is hellbent on saving you money, as you can compare Chegg’s rental price to the retail and in-store prices, so you know you are getting the best deal.

Since it’s a book rental app, you’ll have to part with the books eventually, which means you have to remember to return them. With all your work, that might be the last thing on your mind, but thankfully the app will send you gentle reminders so late fees don’t ruin the value of the service.

7. Blackboard Mobile Learn for iPhone

Blackboard is a platform that many schools use as way to communicate with students, as well as posting their grades and assignments to private student accounts. Many teachers and professors will direct their students to head to Blackboard to view next week’s lecture notes or find the link to a required reading. Having access to the platform on your phone can make keeping up with your assignments so much easier.

8. Quick Graph

For many of us, math is just not our thing. Those who get it and love it will probably adore Quick Graph, a graphic calculator with 2D and 3D capabilities. It’s also capable of displaying explicit and implicit equations as well as inequalities in both 2D and 3D, in all standard coordinate systems: Cartesian, polar, spherical and cylindrical. You can also share your results via e-mail or you can save them to your photo library.

9. Formulus Free – Formulas for Calculus

Even if you are a math-wiz, it’s hard to keep track of all those formulas. Formulus Free is an app that can help when your memory fails you. There is no more searching through pages of notes to find the right formula for your equation. The free app has all your algebra, geometry and differential equation needs in one easy-to-find place.

10. Free Books

So Free Books isn’t actually free, but you get a lot for its $1.99 price tag. Once you’ve paid for the app, you have easy access to 23,469 classics at the swipe of a finger.

While you won’t find modern titles, the classics — the ones you are likely studying in class — are all there. You can search for titles by name, or browse through them by genre or collection. Think of the money you’ll save not having to buy each book for your Lit class.

For those worried that they couldn’t read an entire book on their iPhone screen, fear not, as you can actually e-mail yourself a copy of the entire book so you can read it on your computer or download it to an e-reader.

More Educational Resources from Mashable:

- Why Online Education Needs to Get Social
- 5 Innovative Tech Camps for Kids and Teens
- 5 Organizations Helping Women Get Ahead in Tech
- 5 Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Math Online
- Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, lisapics

Reviews: Facebook, iPhone, iStockphoto

More About: apple, apps, blackboard mobile learn for iphone, books, chegg, college, english, free books, free translator, iphone, istudiez pro, math, mental case, myhomework, open culture, quick graph, rate my professor, reading, school, students

For more Mobile coverage:

November 30 2009

Twitter Declared Most Popular English Word of 2009

While Twitter may have taken second place in Bing’s 10 most searched topics of 2009, we’ve now learned that it has become top dog in something far bigger: the entire English language.

The Global Language Monitor, which tracks language trends, has once again compiled and released its yearly list of the most popular words and phrases within the English language. In 2008, the #1 most popular word was “change” (referring to the mantra of the top name of 2008, Barack Obama). However, Obama has been supplanted this year by the 140 character sensation that is Twitter.

Yes, Twitter may very well be the most popular word in the English language this year.

GLM’s list of top words and phrases for 2009 isn’t surprising, once you factor out words like “the” out of the equation. Twitter’s constant media attention and mainstream ascent has vaulted it into the English lexicon, so much so that it beat out the words Obama (#2), H1N1 (#3), Stimulus (#4), and Vampire (#5). The top phrase of 2009 however was “King of Pop,” referring to the late Michael Jackson. This mirrors Bing’s top 10 searched topics. However, Barack Obama was once again the top name of 2009, just beating out Michael Jackson.

With Twitter declared English’s most popular word and unfriend taking the title of Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, what else does social media have to conquer? Please tell us in the comments, because we’re stumped.

Reviews: Bing, Twitter

Tags: english, twitter

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