Language and words in the news – 26th November, 2010

Posted by on November 26, 2010

This weekly 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.

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

Global English

Why do tall buildings have such silly names?
London Bridge Tower will soon be the UK’s tallest building and as is customary for modern skyscrapers, has a nickname based on its shape –  the Shard. It will join the Gherkin, the Razor and the Filing Cabinet, with the Cucumber and Cheese Grater to come.

Language change and slang

Seven questions for K. David Harrison
By some estimates, half of the world’s 7,000 languages will disappear in the next century. K. David Harrison, a linguist at Swarthmore College, has made a career documenting some of them—and advocating for keeping them alive. … We asked him about what is lost when a language dies.

Language teaching and resources

Why on Earth would you even think of teaching pron?
Pronunciation is not just a feature of speaking aloud. It is present in thinking, it is present in inner language rehearsal when using the inner voice, it is present in writing when the inner voice is operative, it is present in reading silently when some form of subtle inner voice is usually operating too, and of course it is present in reading aloud.

How to correct spelling – 12 ways
Before we correct spelling errors in our learners’ work we should ask ourselves why we are doing it. There is no point in correcting an error unless the learner can learn from it.

Improve your English

In The Black or In The Red?
It’s Black Friday here in the United States. In other words, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, considered the official first day of the holiday shopping season. Retailers offer huge discounts and shoppers flock to the stores (sometimes as early as 3 a.m.) to search for bargains.

Cartoon: Thanksgiving Dinner
It’s Thanksgiving Day in America, and this cartoon by Clay Bennett from the Chattanooga Times Free Press sums up the mood of the nation. The cartoon is entitled “The Main Course”. Normally, the main course of the traditional  Thanksgiving Dinner would consist of roast turkey—but here the turkey has been replaced with a note reading I.O.U. Hence, the downcast expressions on the faces of the family, whose plates are empty.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Facebook Could Soon Own the Trademark for the Word “Face”
Facebook has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the trademark on the word “face” when used in the context of online chat rooms or bulletin boards.

Mother tongue’s unruly offspring
An exhibition celebrating the diversity of English throughout history prompts Matthew Reisz to wonder if it is ever possible to halt a language’s evolution.

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