Language and words in the news – 25th June, 2010

Posted by on June 25, 2010

This post contains a weekly 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 and language change, and language education too.

Do contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you.

Global English

The biggest vocabulary?
English is a rich and beautiful language, not least because England has been conquered by Vikings and Normans, and has happily been open to foreign influence through its history.

Phrases We Love Too Much
A couple of colleagues and readers have also noted the rampant use of the expression “go viral” to describe anything that spreads widely online.

The new custodians of English language
Conceit comes before a fall. I was roundly thrashed. The two young ladies began doubling and tripling their word scores, surveying the board and measuring semantic possibilities as Bonaparte might have surveyed a battlefield. The score sheet was spattered with the blood of my ego.

Language change and slang

The ‘Tweet’ Debate
Of course, new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don’t want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words over the latest jargon or buzzwords.

Language evolves following a ‘bumpy ride‘ not straightforward path
Linguistic change differs from biological evolution and socio-cultural change because of the way language is organized and learned.

Improve your English

Words and Their Stories: Mouth Expressions
People use their mouths for many things. They eat, talk, shout and sing. They smile and they kiss. In the English language, there are many expressions using the word mouth. But some of them are not so nice.

Business English metaphors
Business English uses different vocabulary and metaphors from everyday speech. Metaphors are word pictures that help explain a situation by comparing it to something else. In business, metaphors are borrowed from other disciplines.

Mind the Gap: There’s a Name for It
The use of a verb phrase in the present tense to refer to an event that took place in the past (“So this guy walks into a bar . . .”): historical present.

Language technology

New software can detect depression in bloggers’ texts
The software, developed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), is capable of identifying language that can indicate the writer’s psychological state, which could serve as a screening tool.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Meet the New Swing Voters: Walmart Moms
“Walmart Moms are cross-pressured and conflicted–they approve of President Obama and want to see a government that helps people rather than stays out of the way. Yet, these voters are strongly negative toward Congress and lean toward voting for Republicans in the Fall. Walmart Moms are the quintessential swing vote …”

Top 40 Chicago Words—Our Contributions to the English Language
The moment of creation for a word often remains elusive. Typically (at least before the Internet age), a word gains popularity in local speech and then gets written down somewhere. When lexicographers start tracing lineage, the closest they can come to pinpointing a word’s birth is frequently its first appearance in print.

How do bilingual children distinguish between languages?

Klingon and other “crazy ideas” in book about invented tongues
Language makes us human. So – why mess with it?

Funny

The 3 Most Common Uses of Irony
What is important to remember is that while these people are arguing back and forth about it, the rest of us are doing more interesting things …

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