Language and words in the news – 23rd September, 2011

Posted by on September 23, 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

Language is vital, not just to communicate
Following the announcement that jobseekers will have benefits cut if they don’t learn English, Professor Peter Kruschwitz debates the essential role of linguistic skills/

Make Room for Hinglish
In India, approximately 100 million people speak English. However, most of this English is spoken in a heavily accented, localized and informal style. By incorporating this style, authors have connected with readers who were eager to find books that spoke to and about their lives rather than those from diaspora writers whose struggles they couldn’t identify with.

Language change and slang

The Britishism Invasion
… it may shock you to learn that British words and expressions have, of late, been worming their way into the American lexicon as much as the other way around.

Y’all hear this
The fact is that “y’all” is pretty useful, as formal English doesn’t have a distinctly plural version of “you.” There is no “yous” (except in places like New York city and New Jersey, sometimes in the form of “youse guys”). This suggests that the referent is usually clear enough in context.

Language technology

Android voice control now recognises British English
How well Voice Actions will cope with regional accents, such as Scouse, Geordie or Glaswegian, remains to be seen. We suspect that Cockney rhyming slang will go down like a lead balloon. Would you Adam and Eve it!

Books, words, science and the history of language

The secret life of pronouns
The smallest words in our vocabulary often reveal the most about us, including our levels of honesty and thinking style.

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. An Illustrated History of the English Language
(Book review by Stan Carey, ELT Journal)
Evolving English offers not just a snapshot of English as we know it but a panoply of snapshots throughout history, some familiar, some obscure. It presents them in the context of their times and cultures and shows skilfully and entertainingly how they bring to bear on the language we revel in today.

Video of the week

Well, I know I’m repeating Caroline here, but this is definitely worth watching:
5 million books
Talks | TED Talks: What we learned from 5 million books

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