Language and words in the news – 22nd April, 2011

Posted by on April 22, 2011

This post contains a selection of links related to recent 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

Pun times
Pollack singles out the Elizabethan era as a golden one for puns: Supposedly Sir Francis Drake sent Queen Elizabeth I notice of the defeat of the Spanish Armada by sending her one punning Latin word: cantharides, better known as “Spanish fly.”

English Language Day Care Provision On Rise In Helsinki
Increasing numbers of English language day care centres are opening in Helsinki. There are more international families these days, but Finnish-speaking parents are also keen for their offspring to learn English from an early age.

Language change and slang

The semantic field of cleverness can be just plain stupid
In the Guardian Weekly, bright collocates mostly with: young things, children and students … In the Urban Dictionary it seems to mean the opposite, being defined as “acting in a smart ass way”, eg dun b bright

Language and technology

Google Keeps Building the Tower of Babel, Floor by Floor
Google today added even more languages to Google Translate for Android and it reminded us of how much closer we are getting to a reality where smartphones will break down language barriers in real-time as we wend our way through the world.

In the Fight for Language Survival, Technology Helps Shift the Balance of Power
Technology allows a small language that may have been very local and may have been only spoken, not written down and used only by a small number of speakers in a single, remote location to suddenly gain a global audience and expand beyond its current confines and eventually, to sustain itself.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Parents’ ‘Um’s’ and ‘Uh’s’ Help Toddlers Learn New Words
It turns out that as you are fumbling for the correct word, you are also sending your child a signal that you are about to teach him something new, so he should pay attention …

Infographic

The Chomsky School of Language
Noam Chomsky is a lot of things: cognitive scientist, philosopher, political activist and one of the fathers of modern linguistics, just to name a few. … In the infographic below, we take a look at some of his most well-known theories on language acquisition as if he were presenting them himself.

Media

From A to Z: The iPhotography Alphabet
We have found all 26 letters as captured by iPhotographers from all over the world, made up from everyday objects, interesting typography examples and even architectural shapes.

What are the origins of teenagers’ use of the word ‘like’?
Teenage stars such as Justin Bieber use the term profusely. What are the origins of this form of verbal punctuation, and can it be stopped?

 

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