Language B Group Investigation / Presentation

Lost in Translation

Cartoon D9 Starbucks copy

Does the language we speak influence our personality?

Do languages themselves have “personalities”?

Can one language be more aggressive, more passive, more emotional than the other?

What happens when paralinguistic cues (like body language and gestures) are misinterpreted?

Are there some words and expressions that are untranslatable into English? What does this tell us about the limitations of language?


1. Group together in your Language B teams (Chinese, Spanish, French, Japanese).

2. Find out some idioms, slang terms (keep it clean, and you might want to investigate “textspeak” ), terms of endearment, gestures and other body language that differs significantly from English/American. Since this is a group effort, you should delegate subtopics and inform me of what you are doing (maybe start a Diigo forum planning area?)


3. You are expected to ask your Language B teachers for assistance (they know about this)

4. Make a brief presentation for the class in the form of a collaborative Prezi, PowerPoint, Google Presentation, Projeqt, Vuvox, YouTube video or the like. You can do some acting / demonstrating as well.



BBC Languages – HOME

BBC: Don’t Try This Abroad – watch humorous video vignettes of travellers who have mispoken in different countries

BBC: Language and Identity (forum) – in what ways does language shape our identities? People from all over the world write in!

The Cult of the Hyperpolyglot – includes a must-see VIDEO!

Enduring Voices Project – on the World’s Disappearing Languages

Enduring Voices : Talking Dictionaries

YOUTUBE Channel: Enduring Voices (hear native speakers of dying languages)

QUIZ: The most Common Words in English (globally)

100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language – do you agree?

Hugh Laurie and Ellen discuss American vs. British SLANG: VIDEO

18 Untranslatable Words from Around the Globe

“Better Than English”: Words that Might be Better in Another Tongue

The Beauty of Untranslatable Words

Here’s my friend Martin:


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