Language and words in the news – 25th March, 2011

Posted by on March 25, 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

Turkey to hire 40,000 native English speakers as guest teachers
In English classes, native English-speaking teachers will accompany Turkish teachers and take part in extracurricular activities. The native teachers will also hold speaking classes for both the students and the Turkish teachers of English.

Language change and slang

Fashion’s new lexicon
Fashion moves on every season. … Viva has compiled a bluffer’s guide to the best new fashion phrases of 2011 (so far). Just stir a few of these into your cafe conversation and it won’t even matter what you’re wearing – you’ll be so far ahead of the game other opinion-leaders will be left choking on your coffee grounds.

Our new multiethnolect
For today’s teenagers, though, this has given way to a new local multiethnic speech variety shared by adolescents of all different ethnic origins. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Jafaican’, though Paul’s team prefer their term Multicultural London English.

Language teaching and resources

HOW TO: Learn and Practice Languages Using Social Media
Given the globalized online world we live in, learning a new language has never been easier — nor as interactive, interesting, and social!

Books, words, science and the history of language

Still OK by me
Today is the anniversary of the introduction of OK to the English language, as demonstrated decades ago by Allen Walker Read and chronicled last year by Allan Metcalf in his splendid OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word (reviewed here).

Video

A is for Aspect
Following on from the discussion on backshift, in which I argued that the past tense had less to do with time and more to do with distance, I want to now turn my attention to aspect – or, at least, to the progressive aspect, initially.

Funny

Tracking “words for X” fluctuations
An extensive linguistic study of 1,000 Inuit has found that the number of words for snow in their language has been reduced to three. In 1996, the last time a similar study was conducted, there were ten. The trend seems to be irreversible: in 1965, the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow.

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Comments (1)
  • This is maybe not the place, but I am iffy on the notion that OK is America’s greatest word. It is a quintessentially American word, I’ll give it that. But in my mind it has too much competition these days, particularly from “alright.” Also … I dunno. Something bothers me about saying that America’s greatest linguistic innovation is a word that connotes lukewarm assent.

    Posted by Ben Trawick-Smith on 28th March, 2011
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