Read about Syntaxis and its principals in the news!

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“How to Send Stern Work Emails Without Burning Bridges”
January 17, 2018

Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin offers email advice in this Vogue article by reporter Martine Thompson about emailing with strength and diplomacy. “Passive-aggressive emailing is a weak way to convey feelings,” Ellen says. “If you need to say something, just say it, with directness and integrity. Passive-aggressive responses convey that you are irritable but don’t feel powerful enough to do anything productive about it.”

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“10 Ways Youre Sabotaging Your Career”
May 2, 2017

In this article by journalist Gina Roberts-Grey, Syntaxis principal Ellen Jovin offers email advice to help businesspeople stop irritating their recipients. For example, beware read receipts! “Instead of conveying a message was read, they only tell a sender that the recipient clicked on the e-mail,” Ellen says. “It is not your business to micromanage someone else’s e-mail management, and trying to do so says, ‘I don’t trust you.’”

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“Back to School: Travelers Need Lessons Too!”
USA Today
September 4, 2016

To have a better travel experience, work on your communication skills before you ever get on that airplane! Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin, who has studied more than 20 foreign languages on her own, offers linguistic advice in this USA Today article by Christopher Elliott. “Travel literacy means at least basic language literacy,” Ellen says, explaining that learning even just a few words in the local language can make a big difference. For more ambitious learners, Ellen recommends a grammar book and audio lessons, observing, “You will be able to read signs, get directions, show appreciation, socialize, and feel more connected to all that you see.”


“A Coach’s Influence Off the Field”
The Wall Street Journal
August 1, 2016

Columnist Elizabeth Bernstein includes Syntaxis principal Brandt Johnson in this article about lessons from sports applied to business and life. When Brandt played basketball at Williams College, his coach used to tell the team, “Fatigue will not be a factor in our performance!” This philosophy has remained with Brandt ever since — when he was an investment banker, later when he played professional basketball in England and Germany, and even today in his work as a presentation skills coach to senior executives. The article features photos from Brandt’s basketball-playing days in college and also on tour with the Harlem Globetrotters in Europe.

“Be Your Guest? How About I Just Pay and Leave?”
The New York Times
March 27, 2015

Go into a drugstore these days and the cashier may well address you as a “guest” rather than a “customer,” even if all you are buying is a bottle of shampoo. In this New York Times business article by Hilary Stout, Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin weighs in on the meaning of this perplexing customer-to-guest upgrade.

“What It Means to Be Politically Savvy in the Office”
Levo League
March 4, 2015

Levo League provides career resources to young women in the workforce. For this articleabout political savvy in the office, Syntaxis co-founder Brandt Johnson comments on the importance of authenticity. “If people sense that you’re genuine and thoughtful in your dealings with them and others,” he says, “they will be more likely to feel a connection to you, believe you, and appreciate your position, even if they disagree with you.”

“Learning a Foreign Language on Your Own”
Big Apple Greeter Blog

January 30, 2015

This article covers a presentation Ellen Jovin gave at Big Apple Greeters, an innovative non-profit organization that welcomes visitors from around the world to New York City. Ellen herself is a Big Apple Greeter who show tourists around the city in Spanish, French, German, and Italian. The article covers some of her language-learning tips and tricks for adults who are studying on their own.

“I Will Never Work A 40 Hour Work Week: An Expert Guide To Becoming A Workaholic”
The Roosevelts

December 3, 2014

At Syntaxis, we love what we do. Because we love what we do, it does not feel like work. We live words over here!

Syntaxis appears in writer Alex Birkett’s roundup of entrepreneurial types enamored of their professional activities. You can read the full article on the website The Roosevelts.

“No More Email Blunders”
The Fence Post

August 2014

In an article for a national agricultural newspaper, writer Patricia Rivera covers how to send effective, diplomatic e-mail messages at work. Offering advice in the story is Syntaxis principal Ellen Jovin, who wrote the book E-Mail Etiquette for Business Professionals (Syntaxis Press).

“Interview with Ellen Jovin of ‘Words & Worlds of New York’”
Language Mastery

August 7, 2014

Language expert John Fotheringham interviews Syntaxis principal Ellen Jovin about language-learning and her long-term 'project about the languages of New York City.

“10 Phrases That Need to Be Banned From the Office”
CNBC, Entrepreneur, Christian Science Monitor

April 8, 2014

Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin contributes to this roundup by CNBC reporter Daniel Bukszpan of business terms that would not be missed if they died. The piece first appeared on CNBC’s website and but also appeared in different forms in Entrepreneur and the Christian Science Monitor.

“Follow Your Passion; You Might Write Your Way Into New Career”
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 24, 2014

Syndicated columnist Mildred Culp, who covers emerging workplace trends, interviews writer Ellen Jovin on the origin of Syntaxis.

“Big Words Are Fading, But Many People Still Love Them”
The Wall Street Journal

March 24, 2014

Reporter Elizabeth Bernstein includes Syntaxis principal Ellen Jovin in this story on the beauty of big words. In it Ellen comments on how, in business, effective communication is the goal. Words that confuse rather than illuminate are a problem, but there is nothing wrong with a big, beautiful vocabulary!

“Interview with Language Lover Ellen Jovin”
Backpacking Diplomacy

February 26, 2014

Andy Andersen’s website Backpacking Diplomacy is dedicated to the idea of traveling diplomatically through the world. Here Andersen interviews Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin on the nature of language and communication, the impact of multilingualism on one’s life, and ways new learners can go about studying a foreign language.

“How We’re Talking, Like, Today”

January 23, 2014

For the show On Point with Tom Ashbrook, Syntaxis co-founder Brandt Johnson is part of a panel discussion on verbal tics and fillers that get in the way of one’s message.

You will find Brandt’s comments starting 15:42 into the show.

“Five Qualities of Successful Small Business Owners”
Wells Fargo Business Insights

January 20, 2014

In an age where day-to-day business communications often occur through email and even text, written skills matter more than ever. In this article, Ellen discusses the importance of writing to business success.

“Podcast: Language-Learning Tools for the Intrepid Traveler”

December 26, 2013

Who has time to take a class in order to learn a new language? Ellen offers tips to help travelers and busy people teach themselves!

“Night on Earth: Language Hopscotch”
BFM Radio

November 9, 2013

In October 2013, scores of New Yorkers converged on Brooklyn for a language-learning extravaganza called “Language Hopscotch,” where local immigrants from around the world taught a mindbending array of mini-courses on their native tongues. In this piece about the event for Malaysian radio station BFM, Ellen discusses her own four-year odyssey through the languages of New York.

You will find Ellen 24:20 into the podcast on the BFM website.

“Fresh Out of Nursing School? How to Differentiate Yourself”

Fall 2013

Foreign-language skills have real value to nurses and patients alike. Ellen comments on how this is especially true of diverse urban environments, where many languages can be heard in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

“Brilliant Real-Women Tricks for Finding Time to Work Out”

October 24, 2013

Language-learning makes its way into a Redbook piece on exercise! Ellen offers a multitasking tip to combine language lessons and aerobic fitness.

“100+ Travel Apps and Resources for 2014”

October 15, 2013

For helping people learn languages, Ellen’s website Words & Worlds of New York makes a list of top travel resources for 2014!

“HOB Series: Meet Ellen Jovin”
Blogger Effect

October 3, 2013

Ellen and her language-learning website are profiled in the Heart of Blogging series on the website Blogger Effect.

“Cultivating a Global Family Tree”
Houston Family Magazine

September 27, 2013

Ellen is featured in a Houston Family Magazine article entitled “Cultivating a Global Family Tree,” in which she discusses the link between foreign-language skills and cultural understanding.

“The Value of a Second (or Third) (or Fourth) Language”
SHRM: HR Careers

September 13, 2013

Ellen is featured in an article in HR Careers, a newsletter published by the Society for Human Resource Management. In it she discusses the professional importance of grammar skills in English as well as the workplace value of foreign-language knowledge.

“What It Takes to Be a Successful International Attorney”

September 11, 2013

This piece talks to attorneys and those who work with law firms about what it takes to be a successful international attorney. Ellen comments on the value of foreign-language skills to client relationships.

“Theater Review, Killer Therapy
Hi! Drama

August 13, 2013

Brandt’s third play, Killer Therapy, in which he also co-starred, debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2013. In his review of the show for Hi! Drama, Mark Savitt writes, “Johnson wrote a part well-suited for his strong tough guy charm,” describing the play as “a charming but somewhat scary romantic comedy.”

“Top 25 Language Learning Blogs 2013”

June 12, 2013

Ellen’s language website comes in eleventh in an annual global competition—sponsored by language portal—that honors the world’s best language-learning blogs.

“Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity”
The Wall Street Journal

January 20, 2014

Syntaxis co-founder Ellen Jovin is featured in an article by reporter Elizabeth Bernstein about “performatives,” verbal missteps such as “don’t take this the wrong way” that can indicate a lack of candor and diplomacy.

“Allure of Online Browsing Leads Couple to Dalliances”
The New York Times

April 9, 2012

Dan Gold of the New York Times reviews Brandt Johnson’s second play, Just Sex, praising the “sharp writing” and the easy familiarity of the actors. Brandt not only wrote but also co-starred in this show.

“Dreaming in English”
The New York Times

February 4, 2011

Ellen’s language project is mentioned in a New York Times book review essay entitled “Dreaming in English” by Michael Erard.

“The Meaning of ‘Like’”
The Wall Street Journal

January 20, 2011

In this article, columnist Ralph Gardner, Jr., discusses some of the stories he has written whose popularity, as measured in Facebook “likes,” surprised or mystified him. One was his October 13, 2010, column on Ellen’s language project, “Words & Worlds of New York.” He writes, “Ms. Jovin was an impressive, serious person, but listening to language tapes certainly doesn’t have the inherent excitement, the dramatic arc of, say, climbing to the top of the George Washington Bridge or getting to be pool reporter for the Queen of England’s visit to Lower Manhattan in July—columns that received only a fraction of the ‘likes’ Ms. Jovin’s story garnered.”

“13 Tongues, Three Years”
The Wall Street Journal

October 13, 2010

This article by columnist Ralph Gardner, Jr., focuses on Ellen’s long-term language project, discussing her serial language studies and her use of New York City locales as makeshift language labs.

“Give and Go: Learning from Losing to the Harlem Globetrotters”
New Theater Corps

February 23, 2010

Brandt’s play Give and Go, which debuted in 2007, had a second run in 2010 at New York City’s Metropolitan Playhouse. In this review, Amanda Halkiotis calls it “a delightful performance, brimming with bright-eyed optimism” and adds, “Johnson’s writing has just as much heart.”

“5 Questions I’ve Never Been Asked: Brandt Johnson”
The Clyde Fitch Report

February 21, 2010

Brandt is interviewed about his unusual journey from investment banking to professional basketball to acting/playwriting.

“Theater Review, Give and Go”

August 10, 2007

Brandt’s first play, a multi-character one-man show called Give and Go: Learning from Losing to the Harlem Globetrotters, debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2007. In this review, Matthew Trumbull writes that Brandt “shows fantastic range with his many characters,” whom he describes as a “collection of hilarious philosophers.”