language and words in the news Love English

Language and words in the news – 24th April, 2015

© 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.

Language change and slang

Why the language on food packaging makes me sick
If advertising authorities banned all inaccurate, arguable or just plain ridiculous language on food packets, our nosh would have to be wrapped, as cigarettes soon will be, in completely blank packaging.

Don’t get the breeze up
First recorded as having been sung by troops in 1918, Knees up Mother Brown’s not-so-covertly sexual lyrics seemed to have slipped by into widely accepted popular culture.

Global English

Project explores the ‘marvelously diverse’ ways we speak English
The Yale Grammatical Diversity Project explores the diversity found in varieties of English spoken in North America by documenting the subtle — but systematic — differences in syntax, the study of how phrases and sentences are put together.

Improve your English

A Certain Closeness
Taking advice on usage from Word is like taking advice on investments from Bernie Madoff. The grammar-checking tool is a chaotic, unreliable, inconsistent, brain-dead piece of junkware.

Language teaching and resources

Corpus tools for ELT writers
A useful roundup from Julie Moore of the various free (and cheap) corpus tools that are available to ELT writers.

The IATEFL 2015 conference
One writer’s reasons for not attending.

Books, words and language

Botanic Notables: Plants of the Hunger Games
It was only when katniss was submitted to our Open Dictionary that I realised the feisty Hunger Games heroine was named after an edible plant. And she’s not the only one.

Salvador Dalí’s Rare 1975 Illustrations for Romeo & Juliet
Yesterday was Shakespeare’s birthday, so social media were awash with quizes and tributes. Here’s one of the more unusual ones.

Shakespeare birthday quiz
And for quiz fans, here’s the Royal Shakespeare Company’s own offering.


The Beautiful Librarians
Birmingham’s magnificent new library has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. Here’s a poem that celebrates those who work in libraries.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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