Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Posts Tagged ‘Nathanael Green

Epic Rap Battles of Linguistics!

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Bet you thought you’d never see that title. Still, there it is in black and white.

You’re welcome.

So, all you avowed word-nerds will certainly love this. But have you ever studied English as a foreign language? Maybe you’re an anglophile (mmm … scones). Or maybe you just have a hankerin’ for a rap battle, ANY rap battle.

Then you’ll dig this video.

As a part of their “What’s Your English” theme at the Macmillan Dictionary website, they apparently:

… asked Baba Brinkman (a Canuck) and Professor Elemental (a Brit) to produce a satirical rap-battle on the theme of stereotyped Canadian English versus stereotyped British English. The result was this ‘What’s your English?‘ video …

There you have it.

Also, I have to admit I stole my blog title from one of the best things on YouTube. It’s this guy, Nice Peter, who does videos called Epic Rap Battles of History. They’re probably not safe for work or children … and that’s exactly why they’re awesome-possum.

Written by Nathanael Green

May 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Who’s Better at English? Swedes or 6-Year-Olds?

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Ever go to plan a vacation (somewhere … anywhere but here!) and wonder where your English will be of the most use?

Of course, I’d advocate learning at least some, if not a significant amount, of any local tongue. But let’s face it: learning all of the world’s estimated 6,500 languages is hard. Like, really hard.

So what countries speak English the best?

This blog post from The Economist highlights a new study that examines the fluency of foreign English speakers.

According to the post:

EF Education First, an English-teaching company, compiled the biggest ever internationally comparable sample of English learners: some 2m people took identical tests online in 44 countries. The top five performers were Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The bottom five were Panama, Colombia, Thailand, Turkey and Kazakhstan. Among regions, Latin America fared worst. (No African country had enough takers to make the lists’s threshold for the minimum number of participants.)

The post, which is fairly short and contains lots of other intriguing tidbits about the whys and hows of foreign fluency.

But one thing in particular caught my eye:

Starting young, while it seems a good idea, may not pay off: children between eight and 12 learn foreign languages faster than younger ones, so each class hour on English is better spent on a 10-year-old than on a six-year-old.

Huh?

All right. I guess I can buy that, especially from a financial standpoint, but I would like to point something out.

Even though children may be able to learn more quickly at a later age, it still may be a good idea to start a second language younger so that by age 10, they’re already working with a good foundation and can grow from there.

An often-cited study by K.A. Ericsson and A.C. Lehmann shows that expertise in almost any field requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

If older children really soak up languages better than their younger brothers and sisters, think how much more and how quickly a ten-year-old would learn if he’d already had four years of instruction.

Written by Nathanael Green

April 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm

SUBMIT! How You Get a Short Story Published

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Rawr.

I felt a twinge, something along the lines of angry defiance the first time I noticed the link on a literary journal’s website:

SUBMIT

Later, I figured out that this was the link I needed to click to get my fiction published. It had nothing to do with domination of any sort.

*shrug*

“How do you get a story published?”

I’ve been asked that a few times lately, and there are entire libraries written on craft and storytelling and selling your novel. So I’m going to skip all that for now. Instead, here’s a quick explanation the submission process and how writers’ creative brain-dribbling ends up on public display.

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Written by Nathanael Green

March 24, 2011 at 7:28 am

New Story in Fractured West

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My most recent piece of fiction, “Pretty Don’t,” is available in print in the current issue of the very sleek Fractured West. I have a copy in my own little grubby gauntlets, and I’m flattered to be included among the writers chosen for this issue – there’s some great fiction in those pages.

If you pick this up (you can do so here), you may notice that it conforms to a British spelling style. That’s because Fractured West is based in Scotland. So that means I’m an internationally published author, right?

Written by Nathanael Green

March 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

A Writer’s Obligation to Readers?

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Summer is coming, and with it, Martin's new book.

The five-year wait is over.

I got an email from Tor.com today that gleefully announced (yes, it actually was gleeful) that George R.R. Martin’s next book, Dance of Dragons has a release date.

For those of you who aren’t wrapped up in the world of fantasy fiction, this comes five years after the release of the previous book in his Song of Ice and Fire series and it has been the subject of much, much discussion on its delay. More on that in a bit.

And those of you already involved in A Song of Ice and Fire, you may officially begin rubbing your grubby little gauntlets together in anticipation.

Did it take forever? Or are fans just whiny?

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Written by Nathanael Green

March 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

“Bimbo” Lost in Translation?

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Hennes the billy goat loves 1. FC Köln!

So, I like soccer. When I lived in Germany, I lived near Cologne, and naturally my Bundesliga team was the local 1. FC Köln. Even now, I’m still a fan of die Geißböcke, though games are hard to catch on TV.

(Left is Hennes, their mascot. As if you needed another reason to love Cologne.)

Here in the States, though, soccer is much less prominent, but despite that, I recently got a local team of my own to cheer for. And that, dear friends is Philadelphia Union.

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Written by Nathanael Green

January 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm