Language and words in the news – 17th September, 2010

Posted by on September 17, 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

The present perfect
There is nothing unAmerican about the present perfect.  We can and do use it in the ways that the British do.  We just aren’t restricted to it.

In Georgia, English replaces retreating Russian
“We’re a free and independent country and our people are free and independent. It’s their choice which language to learn,” Education Minister Dmitry Shashkin, an ethnic Russian, told Reuters, in English.

English language lyrics
In the last three years there has been a rise in the number of French artists choosing to sing in English, despite quotas requiring at least 40% of music played on radio stations to be in French.

Language change and slang

‘All’s I Know . . .’
You don’t have to be a wizened seaman to use “All’s I know” these days, but it’s still quite colloquial.

Are dying languages worth saving?
About 6,000 different languages are spoken around the world. But the Foundation for Endangered Languages estimates that between 500 and 1,000 of those are spoken by only a handful of people. And every year the world loses around 25 mother tongues. That equates to losing 250 languages over a decade – a sad prospect for some.

The pause that annoys
When a comma makes life needlessly hard
Punctuation, quietly doing its job, rarely arouses the passions of the general public the way buzzwords and mispronunciations do. Yes, certain manly writers enjoy denouncing the wimpy semicolon, and spotting misused apostrophes is a popular pastime. But when you hear people arguing about the serial comma or the overuse of dashes, they’re probably editors.

Improve your English

Nokia
… the BrE pronunciation of Nokia does seem to be exceptional from a spelling-to-sound point of view.

Language technology

Google Scribe experiment takes over the writing
Called Google Scribe, the service suggests new words and phrases to you as you type, and can even finish off whole sentences if you let it.

Language teaching and resources

English language teachers connect to mobile learning
A survey shows internet-linked phones are being embraced in the classroom.

Funny

Apostrophe Catastrophes
The Worlds’ Worst. Punctuation;

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