Language and words in the news – 14th October, 2011

Posted by on October 14, 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, or just add a comment to the post, with the link(s) you’d like to share.

Global English

Euphemistically Speaking, Never Say “Die”
Despite what you may have heard, people rarely die in hospitals. Unfortunately, some patients do “expire” there. And according to hospital records, others experience “therapeutic misadventures” or “negative patient-care outcomes.”

South Sudan adopts the language of Shakespeare
The young nation of South Sudan has chosen English as its official language but after decades of civil war, the widespread learning of English presents a big challenge for a country brought up speaking a form of Arabic.

Language change and slang

“Could Care Less” versus “Couldn’t Care Less”
The proper couldn’t care less is still the dominant form in print, but a Google Ngram search shows could care less has been steadily gaining ground since its appearance in the 1960s …

In ‘Chinglish,’ Language Barriers Are a (Bad) Sign of Current Times
“As our play tries to show … even when you literally understand the words, sometimes you might as well be speaking a different language, because underlying cultural assumptions and practices may vary dramatically between the two cultures.”

Improve your English

Cartoon: Greek Haircut
… you go to the hairdresser’s to get a haircut. But ‘haircut’ is also used in finance when a lender or investor accepts a valuation or return that is less than optimal, especially to partially forgive a debt.

Language teaching and resources

How English language teachers can go with the Twitter flow
But despite criticism that Twitter only amplifies the mundane, it is a very powerful sharing community where teachers can find a constant supply of articles, website links, lesson plans, interactive games, worksheets and a whole lot more.

Language technology

Jes’ Talkin’ to Mah Ah-Phone
How does Apple’s speech-recognition software handle accents?

Books, words, science and the history of language

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language
“What the study demonstrates is that the variability in bilingual babies’ experience keeps them open … They do not show the perceptual narrowing as soon as monolingual babies do. It’s another piece of evidence that what you experience shapes the brain.”

Video

The History of English in Ten Minutes Chapter X (1:19)
Global English
Whose language is it anyway?

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