Language and words in the news – 21st January, 2011

Posted by on January 21, 2011

This weekly 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. We’d love to hear from you!

Global English

Thesaurus Day 2011
Thesaurus Day is … celebrated every year on January 18th, which is the birthday of the author of Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Roget. … Thesaurus Day is about appreciating and celebrating Thesaurus and the impact of it on our lives.

Has ‘Social Media’ Gone Stale?
“Social media” isn’t just a trend taking the world by storm; it’s also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey …

Russians told to mind their language – especially when it comes to English
After ‘Squirrel Institute’ slip-up, the government says 20% of Russian officials must speak a foreign language by 2020

Language change and slang

Technology and Language: A Reflection of Our Culture
While technology changes and advances at a rate so rapid those of us in the industry can barely keep up, its influences have somehow managed to penetrate the most staunch and rooted institution of our culture: our words.

Language teaching and resources

Education Buzzword Explainer: What the Heck Is Social Capital?
Some research also shows that increasing social capital (and trust among individuals) requires face-to-face encounters. In other words, it’s not what you know… it’s who you know and what they know, and possibly how often you see each other in person.

PIN: Plenary-Induced Narcolepsy
Even the really great presenters with genuinely interesting subject material eventually have me nodding off at some stage during proceedings, while the really ordinary ones can have me doing Stevie Wonder moves in my chair … within about 10 minutes.

Improve your English

Your English: Idioms: wheels
No-one knows for sure when the wheel was first invented but if you want to tell someone that it is not necessary to waste time and effort trying to do something that someone else has already done well, you can say ‘There’s no need to reinvent the wheel’.

Language technology

Auto(in)correct
Welcome to the world of smartphone autocorrection, where incautious typing can lead to hilarious and sometimes shocking results. With the rapid success of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones, more and more people are discovering the pitfalls of tapping on a virtual keyboard.

8 Fun Twitter Tools for Language Lovers
Despite the undoubted popularity of third-party photo and video sharing services, it could be argued that Twitter is all about language. Whether it’s usernames, hashtags or that infamous 140-character limit, the service is built around using language in a very specific way.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Babies process language in a grown-up way
Previously, many people thought infants might use an entirely different mechanism for learning words, and that learning began primitively and evolved into the process used by adults. Determining the areas of the brain responsible for learning language, however, has been hampered by a lack of evidence showing where language is processed in the developing brain.

E-readers ‘too easy’ to read
Readers using electronic books like the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader are less likely to remember what they have read because the devices are so easy on the eyes, research suggests.

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