Language and words in the news – 11th February, 2011

Posted by on February 11, 2011

This post contains a selection of links related to recent 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. We’d love to hear from you!

Global English

German language finds English voice
The Society for the German Language …, a pressure group founded in 1947 to protect German from the invasion of foreign words, recently declared “WikiLeaks” as one of its “unwords” of the year.

Japanese learners of English like the Glaswegian accent
“This is the first study of its kind to show how perceptions of English speech varieties are spreading worldwide …”

Language change and slang

Home sweet office. The inward journey of ‘work from home’
Unlike these variants, “working from home” isn’t actually a new combination. But it has made a much more dramatic change than any of those minor preposition switches: Over the past century, “working from home” has completely reversed its sense.

What Rastamouse can tell us about grammar
The new Cbeebies series Rastamouse has been attracting favourable attention for its gentle pace, top soundtrack, likeable characters and, above all, its use of Jamaican English throughout. … As well as being fun to watch …  it’s a mine of linguistic interest for anyone looking at non-standard grammar.

Language teaching and resources

Mark Powell on ELF
Until very recently, sufficiently large spoken BE corpora were rather thin on the ground. Now that we have a few such corpora emerging and growing, what we’re finding is that not only are such fixed expressions pretty much non-existent …, but fixed expressions of any kind over three or four words long are incredibly rare as well…

Improve your English

A Blood-Sucking Word
In The Elements of Style, Strunk and White characterize very as one of the “leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.”

James Geary on Metaphor, A Taxonomy
Metaphor is intensely yet inconspicuously present in everything from ordinary conversation and commercial messaging to news reports and political speeches.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Without language, numbers make no sense
People need language to fully understand numbers. This discovery – long suspected, and now backed by strong evidence – may shed light on the way children acquire their number sense.

More children now reading e-books
Some teachers have been allowing kids to bring the devices to school for leisure reading, which is another factor that has convinced some parents to buy them.

Quiz

Language can be intense – Quiz
Test your knowledge of the origins, evolution and oddities of the English language.

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