Language and words in the news – 23rd July, 2010

Posted by on July 23, 2010

This post contains a weekly 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 and language change, and language education too.

Do contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you.

Global English

Michigan English
Now Michigan English is not all one thing, but there are surprising differences between the English used here and what you encounter in Ft. Wayne or London, Ontario, or Green Bay.

All immigrants face mandatory language test
Last month Ottawa made its language proficiency test mandatory for all skilled immigrant applicants, including native English and French speakers. The so-called “ministerial instructions” stipulate officials are not to process applications without language test results, starting June 26.

Language change and slang

Palin’s ‘Refudiate’ Not In The Dictionary
After the former Alaska governor noticed her mistake, or somebody told her about it, she deleted her tweet and retweeted the comments, switching ‘Refudiate’ with actual words, like ‘Reject’ and ‘Refute’.

Don’t be too quick to ‘refudiate’ new words
It takes about 20 years to know whether a word is going to stick, Metcalf says, and 40 to be sure.

In praise of jargon – a defence of the apparently indefensible
According to a YouGov survey, management jargon is choking the life out of meaningful communication in the workplace. Senior managers think it’s harmless enough but most employees want to see the back of it because they feel it creates barriers and misunderstandings at work.

Language teaching and resources

Unraveling English Language Teaching acronyms
One of the first things you may have noticed in this new career is the abundance of confusing acronyms, which you should know is basically one way long term practitioners have attempted to make language teaching more hip and yet more scientific/technical.

Improve your English

Data are or data is?
Is it singular or plural? It’s a word we use every day here on the Datablog – but are we getting it completely wrong?

A distinct difference
The difference between distinct and distinctive is subtle. Both words describe something that stands out, that is unmistakable for anything else. To understand the difference in use, we need to turn to the contexts in which the two words are used, to their collocational environment.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Foreign accents make speakers seem less truthful to listeners
Because an accent makes a person harder to understand, listeners are less likely to find what the person says as truthful, researchers found. The problem of credibility increases with the severity of the accent.

Stephen Fry to explore language in BBC series
Fry, who said language was one of “many passions”, added that he loved Anglo-Saxon words that were “just themselves, like ‘bundle’ – what a lovely word”.

Enid Blyton lingo gets an update
“Very subtle changes have been made to remove the barriers that stood between readers and the story.” In the original text, for example, Dick says: “She must be jolly lonely all by herself” which has been updated to read: “She must get lonely all by herself.” “Mother and father” become “mum and dad” and “school tunic” becomes ‘uniform’.”

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