Language and words in the news – 19th July, 2013

Posted by on July 19, 2013

© Volodymyr Vasylkiv / Fotolia.comThis post contains a 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, 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

Burgers and hotdogs
The UK is basking/sweltering in an unaccustomed heatwave, with temperatures in some places breaching the 30 degree barrier. Time for many to dust off the barbie, and for a brief rundown on the essential differences between the US and UK interpretations of those summer evening stalwarts, the burger and the hotdog.

What your email sign-off really means
“Cheers”, “all best”, “warm regards” – having to choose the best way to sign off an email is a minefield. This sideways look at some of the options won’t help you at all in making that choice, but may make you smile.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

J.K. Rowling’s secret: a forensic linguist explains how he figured it out
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was outed recently as the author behind a well-received crime novel, purportedly by “first-time author” Robert Galbraith. Here forensic linguist Patrick Juola explains how it is possible to identify an author by analysing their word usage.

George Eliot and lady novelists
“People keep repeating the old canard that Mary Anne Evans had to change her name to George Eliot in order to be published. I was told about this at school, and I’ve heard it since, and it’s complete nonsense…”

Do Michael Gove’s GCSE changes pose a threat to English literature in schools?
Some academics fear that one unintended consequence of reforms to the school curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could be that schools will no longer be obliged to teach English literature to all students up to the age of 16.

A village invents a language all its own
There are many dying languages in the world. But at least one has recently been born, created by children living in a remote village in northern Australia.

Grammar wars
We all know how het up some people can get about grammar. This sign commemorates the occasion when Jack Kerouac and William S Burroughs came to blows over the Oxford comma.

Video

World’s wackiest race returns to London
Along with barbecues, eccentric races and competitions are an essential feature of the British summer. Here’s a short film about one of them.

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