Language and words in the news – 1st February, 2013

Posted by on February 01, 2013

Following another short break, the weekly round-up of language- and words-related news returns again. These links cover 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 you’d like to share.

Global English

Tongue-tied? Perspectives on English as the international language of science
There is no argument that English has taken a firm hold as the language of modern science. How far should non-English speaking countries go to maintain their own languages?

France Bids Adieu to the Word ‘Hashtag’
France is taking on Twitter by officially banishing the word “hashtag” and suggesting a Gallic replacement — which translates to “sharp word” in English — as an alternative.

Language change and slang

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong
… perhaps the biggest grammar myth of all is the infamous taboo against splitting an infinitive, as in “to boldly go.” The truth is that you can’t split an infinitive: Since “to” isn’t part of the infinitive, there’s nothing to split.

New word proposed to embrace same-sex marriage
Renaming gay marriage as “sarriage” would end divisions over marriage equality, New Zealand’s parliament has been told in a quirky submission on marriage equality legislation.

Books, dictionaries, words and languages

The Untranslatable Words
The Untranslatable Words Database is a collection of videos of people explaining untranslatable words in their native language to an imaginary audience. The project’s aim is to capture the essense of words in different languages through voice, body language, and facial expressions.

200 Years of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Book Design
… a selection of covers from years past up through the present; the good, the bad, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and a few that pale in comparison to the book’s contents.

Manx: Bringing a language back from the dead
The language itself has similarities with the Gaelic tongues spoken in the island’s neighbours, Ireland and Scotland. A century ago, “Moghrey mie” would have been commonly heard instead of good morning on the island.

Who, What, Why: Why do some countries regulate baby names?
“In all, there have been 20 people named Noun, 458 named Comma, 18 called Period but only one called Semicolon.”

Podcast

Can Apple Get Away with “Funness”? (9:10 / to skip the ad, start at 1:25)
The thing that seems especially funny to me here is that when we add the “-ness” suffix to an adjective, we turn it back into a noun. … If you accept “fun” as an adjective, “funness” is a natural extension, but they’re starting with a word that some people say can only be a noun, and then using it controversially as an adjective, and then turning it back into a noun with the “-ness” suffix.

Comments (2)
  • Language is so confusing to some! Rules seem to be broken all the time! I’ve noticed such a change in students’ use of language and grammar in their writing over the last few years because of the way they communicate/don’t communicate face to face with others.

    Posted by mary lamer on 2nd February, 2013
  • [...] Original Content – Why and How? Online course on ethics for translators and interpreters Language and words in the news – 1st February 2013 Arranging your working space to be more productive Singular they, you, and a ‘senseless way [...]

    Posted by Weekly favorites (Feb 4-10) | Adventures in Freelance Translation on 11th February, 2013
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