Language and words in the news – 15th October, 2010

Posted by on October 15, 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

What is the language of the future?
Rwanda is looking for 1,000 English teachers to boost their efforts to change the language of instruction in schools from French to English. … But with Africa’s growing business links with the likes of China and 25 Confucius Institutes teaching Chinese language and culture across the continent, would that be a better choice?
(You can listen to the BBC World Service debate here.)

Teaching in English may harm your child’s future
In his report on the dream policy for Pakistan, Coleman has suggested that the child’s first language should be the medium of instruction up till class III, Urdu should be the medium till class IX and English should only be used as a mode of teaching from class X and beyond. Through this scheme, he proposes a bilingual face to education.

Language change and slang

Racy Yankee slang has long invaded our language
American words and phrases appeared regularly in Victorian newspapers. During the second half of the nineteenth century, most popular papers in Britain got a significant percentage of their content from across the Atlantic. Imported American articles, stories, and jokes were everywhere. As a result, the American language became part of everyday life long before the arrival of Hollywood.

Improve your English

Lost for Words
You decide that you have the energy to study English  and sit down to read a newspaper article or a book. Within minutes there are several words which you have not understood. Or maybe you are in class and you come across a new word. What do you do?

Language teaching and resources

Will online training fail new English-language teachers?
A new version of Cambridge Esol’s popular Celta certificate offers flexibility but less time in a real class.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Strictly English: the Correct Way to Write . . . and Why it Matters
By Simon Heffer / Reviewed by David Crystal
The problem with people who want to impose their linguistic tastes on others is that they never do so consistently. Heffer writes that we “should avoid passives”, but the opening sentence of that section begins: “The passive voice of a transitive verb is used . . .” Indeed, the book is full of passives, starting with the first sentence of his prelims. Don’t do as I do; do as I say.

Five words shaping our future
Jonathon Keats looks at the new words churned out on the road to the future and assesses their place in society. Will they succeed like the word “blog”? Or fail like the word “flog” …? … Keats, who writes Wired Magazine’s Jargon Watch column, picks five words that not only have staying power but help us peer toward the horizon.

Video

Stephen Fry on Language (6:34)

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