Archive | May, 2016

Word Nerd: The many meanings of Philadelphia

30 May

This week kicked off with the first of three sessions of the Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) summer program. As we speak, 23 students are at the Wharton School in Philadelphia. Another 76 will head there for two more sessions, to be held in June and July. That got us wondering about all the possible meanings […]

Check out these hilarious science jokes by an 11-year-old genius

26 May

By now, you’ve probably heard about Tanishq Abraham, the 12-year-old kid who is weighing admission and scholarship offers from the University of California (UC) Davis and UC Santa Cruz. He graduated from high school at age 10, and at just a few days ago, at age 12, from the American River College in Sacramento, California, […]

Word Nerd: The perils of translation

23 May

Whenever we speak with someone whose native language or culture is different from ours, we are essentially translating. Good translation requires much more than a vocabulary – it takes a nuanced understanding of both language and culture. Japanese, for instance, has different verbs for the same action, and using a less respectful verb in a […]

Word Nerd: 5 Easy Guidelines For Writing Better

16 May

Writing is a curious job. Everyone who is literate can write. And everyone who can read has an opinion on it. So how can you tell the really good stuff even if doesn’t make the top spot on NYT bestseller list? And how can you improve your writing? These are important questions. Because, as with […]

Word Nerd: How to talk about race

9 May

Sometimes, students who are getting ready to go abroad to study have apprehensions about using words to describe race or ethnicity that may offend someone. Here’s a rough guide to talking about race. What is race? There is no scientific basis for race. No DNA defines black, white, or any other people. Some populations share […]

5 surprising facts about Cinco de Mayo

5 May

1.  It marks a small but stunning victory. Many people celebrate Mexican culture on May 5 each year, but not many know the story behind it. On Cinco de Mayo (pronounced ‘singko de maa-yo’; Spanish for the 5th of May) in 1862, Mexico defeated France at the Battle of Puebla. The fighting lasted just three hours, […]

Word Nerd: 5 Common English Mistakes That We Love to Hate

2 May

Last Monday, we argued about how language rules aren’t just for fools. This week we are going to look at 5 mistakes which are common and contrary to rules of good English usage. Language rules work like traffic rules – a combination of widespread practice and good sense. But common as these 5 errors might […]