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

Posted by on November 01, 2013

© Ioannis Kounadeas / 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

The Best Shots Fired in the Oxford Comma Wars
The two main rationales for choosing one style over the other are clarity and economy. Each side has invoked both rationales in its favor. Here are some quotes that have served as shots exchanged in the Oxford comma wars.

How Do Animals Sound In Different Languages?
English artist James Chapman has created a series of comics comparing how different languages around the world write down the sounds that some of our favorite animals make. The panels are a delight to see, with bright colors and cute animals. The comparisons between languages are also interesting, no matter what your native language is.

Language change and slang

14 Common Words That Didn’t Exist 20 Years Ago
If you want proof of how fast our world is changing, you only have to look at our language. Our everyday vocabulary is full of neologisms, expressing ideas that we wouldn’t even have understood not long ago. Here are 14 commonly used words that didn’t even exist a generation ago.

The joy of slang
Slang such as ain’t, innit and coz has been banned from a school in south London. Author Charles Nevin celebrates modern slang and revisits phrases that have fallen out of fashion.

Improve your English

10 old letter-writing tips that work for emails
Before email, letter-writing guides were best sellers, the faddy self-help books of their day. There are still many things that we can learn from them before pressing “send”, says Simon Garfield.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Bringing up baby bilingual
Children raised bilingual or multilingual show similar results. In early days they will mix languages. They make errors by using the syntax of one language and the words of another … But these problems disappear quickly. By three or four, children reliably separate the languages, knowing which can be spoken with whom. Their fluency in each would be the envy of any adult language-learner.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: Importance of Language to Learning Math
Talk to your toddler. And use numbers when you talk. Doing so may give a child a better head start in math than teaching her to memorize 1-2-3 counting routines.

Video

Video: Are Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na’vi real languages?
What do Game of Thrones’ Dothraki, Avatar’s Na’vi, Star Trek’s Klingon and LOTR’s Elvish have in common? They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs … John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits.

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