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

Posted by on March 01, 2013

This 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

Doctors To Face English Language Tests
Foreign doctors will have to prove they can speak English before being allowed to work for the NHS, the government has said. A “loophole” that allowed medics with a poor grasp of the language to treat patients will be closed.

Don’t get your Alans in a twist
Originating in the East End in the mid-19th century and used primarily by stallholders, costermongers and the criminal classes, its usage spread throughout east London in the 20th century, giving the cockney dialect a unique richness, colour and playfulness; a linguistic tool bringing everyday speech to life.

Lobbying for English in Indonesia denies children mother-tongue education
Indonesia’s new primary school curriculum has been lambasted for ‘dropping’ English, but its real failure is to deny children in this multilingual nation a chance to learn in their mother tongue

Language change

Why Twitter Makes Us Want to Add Extra Letterssss
For his dissertation […] he was looking at the way people used emoticons in their tweets, but in that exploration he found something else: Along with those emoticons, people were adding letters to their words, too.

9 New Ways to Sit in the Office, Thanks to Smartphones and Tablets
Mobile computing has changed the way we communicate, the way we work … and the way we lounge.
Meet the swipe, the strunch and my favourite: the cocoon!

Historical Vocab: When We Get It Wrong, Does It Matter?
In a climate of insistent authenticity, there’s nothing harder to get right than a period’s vocabulary. The past speaks a foreign language that even those who grew up with it can’t recover.

Language teaching and resources

P is for Pedagogic grammar
Apart from being accessible, a pedagogic grammar has to be reliable. That is to say, we need to be able to trust its explanations. This doesn’t mean to say that we have to be told the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It’s a pedagogic grammar, not a linguist’s grammar, after all.

Language technology

Multilingual dictionary keeps humans in the loop
Services like Google Translate can provide the gist of a passage of text. But if you’re a newspaper publisher seeking foreign readers or a public health expert wanting to educate speakers of another language, human translation remains the only option.

Books, dictionaries, words and languages

Why speaking English can make you poor when you retire
Not surprisingly, Prof Chen’s findings have been criticised by both economists and linguists. … They argue there are a number of cultural, social, or economic reasons why different language speakers behave differently.

Jane Austen stamps – in pictures
The Royal Mail is joining in the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice with the release of a series of stamps featuring all six of Jane Austen’s novels

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