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  • Language and words in the news – 21st November, 2014

    Posted by on November 21, 2014

    © Ioannis Kounadeas / Fotolia.comThis post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular.

    Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include, or just add a comment to the post, with the link(s) you’d like to share.

    Language change and slang

    You say cannoli, I say cannolis
    When we order cannoli and biscotti, we generally use the same word whether we want one or half a dozen — a cannoli, we say, but most of us feel enough of the plural force that we also say three biscotti.

    Voting or polling?
    “Voting place” seems to be catching on in official communications from the elections authorities (though Elections Canada still seems to prefer “polling station”). However, in newspapers, the favoured word is still overwhelmingly “polling station”, by a factor of 10 to 1.

    Global English

    Wordplay: Why Australians cherry-pick from American slang
    Soccer mums are breeding like rabbits across Australia. Come the season, they drive their kids to sport, yell encouragement from the sidelines, drive them home, wash their gear – then rinse and repeat.

    From a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years. – See more at: http://www.cjr.org/language_corner/language_corner_063014.php?utm_content=buffer811d0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.WQopCEDs.dpufFrom a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years.From a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years..

    Improve your English

    50 super-quick business writing tips
    I like no. 28: Write for human beings, not Google. Google isn’t going to buy your product.

    Books, dictionaries, words and language

    The ‘Beta’ version of the Mapping Metaphor website
    Glasgow University’s online, freely-available Metaphor Map of the English Language is due to launch in Spring 2015. Meanwhile here’s an account of the project’s current status.

    Moscow metro opens virtual library of Russian classical literature
    What a brilliant idea. Transport for London please copy.

    The top 10 words invented by writers
    I’d have gone for chortle myself, but there are some good ones here.

    ‘Vape’ is the word of the year
    Yes, it’s that time of year again. Lexicographer Jonathon Green is not impressed. (And just by the by, the Independent refers to us as lexiconists. I don’t know where they got that from, but they should stop right now.)

    ‘Arm’ removed from dictionary to make room for ‘vape’
    Here’s a satirical take on the WOTY story. Warning: contains several rude words.

    Video

    Cocktail
    Fun facts about the history and etymology of ‘cocktail’. Plus you learn how to make an old fashioned. Part 1 of 2.

    Cartoon

    Frosty gets caught picking his nose
    Well, what’s a snowman to do at the start of winter?

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Recent Comments

Recent Comments
  • Posted by gill francis to Not the same thing as writing, speaking, is it? on November 17, 2014 Jonathan: No not really. One factor is surely that the spoken language used to be thought somehow inferior to the written, and written language was the basis for grammatical description and hence prescription. In the last few decades, with the internet, social media, texting etc, people have learnt to write as they speak, and invented a whole new set of conventions for doing so. It’s partly to do with speed – the message is the important...

  • Posted by Stan to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 17, 2014 Dave: 'You take a piece of meat with you' is a classic. The Maxell ad is good, though I suspect improving the sound quality could never clear up all the misinterpretations of that song... Alma: As a child I assumed it was 'a little alien' too, though not a jam maker. 'Crap' seems to recur as a misheard word, what with your husband's mondegreen, the Roy Orbison song, and the time I told my father I'd gone...

  • Posted by Oisín Carey to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 16, 2014 Fats Domino was a source of lots of these for us as kids, including 'You used to use my arms as rella' (umbrella) and something like 'Jambalaya cause big fun, feelin' a gum-bowl / 'Cause tonight I'm gonna sing my majella meal' (Jambalaya and a craw fish pie and filet gumbo / 'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma Cher Amio). Pretty much the whole of Jambalaya we were winging it!

  • Posted by Jonathan Marks to Not the same thing as writing, speaking, is it? on November 16, 2014 Thanks, Gill. Yes, I know the LGSWE. Have you got a theory about why it's taken writers so long to hear what spoken English is like?

  • Posted by Alma Conway to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on November 15, 2014 Oh, and I forgot about my husband's mishearing in his distant childhood of the second line of the chorus to the 1970s country hit 'It's a fine time to leave me Lucille', which he was convinced went on 'with four hundred children and a crap in the fields'.