Language and words in the news – 26th July, 2013

Posted by on July 26, 2013

© Olga Altunina / FotoliaThis 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.

Global English

Are we unfairly judged by our accent?
Much research has been conducted in this area and the results of one of the latest studies showed that a Birmingham accent achieved a low rating with regard to perceptions of intelligence, while the Yorkshire accent was perceived to sound smart.

How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?
Philida Schellekens, a language consultant, says that when she researched English language learning in Australia a decade ago the figure of 1,765 hours was used. That could mean four years of classes. … In the UK the estimate of about 360 hours to move up a level is about right, she argues. But there is political pressure to decrease this …

Language change and slang

We, the Tweeple: Why Twitter Inspires So Many New Words
Every day, new combinations march into being. Twitteracy is the ability to understand the medium. Twittebrities are the A-listers who use it. Twitterati, Twittersphere, tweeple, tweetup, twisticuffs, twelete, twirting. There’s no question that there are a twitload. But why, exactly, is Twitter such a fusion muse? And will any of them last?

Language teaching and resources

Cartoon: Royal Baby Conversation
There has only been one topic of conversation in Britain over the past few days — the royal baby. … However, not everyone wants to join in the royal baby conversation, and this cartoon … imagines a “Royal Baby Conversation Free Zone” outside a pub, where people can gather to talk about something else.

The Complete Guide to Twitter Lingo
While some abbreviations and acronyms may be common across all social media sites, others are unique to the microblogging platform. Browse our guide, and be sure to shout out any terms we’ve missed in the comments below.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Dolphins ‘call each other by name’
Scientists have found further evidence that dolphins call each other by “name”. Research has revealed that the marine mammals use a unique whistle to identify each other.

What Makes Something A ‘New’ Language?
… the recognition of a new language is a good reminder that language is a constantly evolving cultural creation. Like biological species, languages change over time and sometimes diverge, resulting in the formation of new dialects or even new languages.

Language technology

Digital detectives: solving crimes through Twitter
Forensic linguistics has become increasingly important as more of our interactions take place online, with an inevitable proportion of that communication relating to crimes, according to Krzysztof Kredens from the International Association of Forensic Linguistics.

Video

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o: English is not an African language (05:18)
… Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o … says that African authors should be clear about the fact that when they write in English they are contributing to the expansion of, and dependence on, the English language.

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