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Language and words in the news – 27th July 2012

This 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

Take/Have a Bath
To be fair, I can’t say if ‘take a bath’ is completely verboten in British English. But it’s striking how rarely Americans use ‘have.’ Many of my country(wo)men may object, ‘I can totally see myself saying have a bath.’

Language change and slang

I’ma share some Walter Mosley and William Labov
The contraction I’ma (also Imma, etc., = I’m gonna) hit the spotlight in 2009 when Kanye West used it while interrupting Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. But the phrase has been around for decades.

Improve your English

The Redemption of Zombie Nouns
Having learned from Strunk & White to “write with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs”, the apprentice writer is now confronted with a new dogma damning many nouns, along with a reminder that only “active verbs” are free of sinful taint.

Unfortunately, this mispronunciation can sometimes lead to confusion. Have you any aɪˈdiː? will be heard as Have you any ID?

Books, dictionaries, languages and science

Infants’ recognition of speech more sophisticated than previously known
It is well-known that adults’ speech perception is fine-tuned — they can detect speech among a range of ambiguous sounds. But much less is known about the capability of infants to make similar assessments.

Bradley Wiggins: tin tacks, syntax and Chinese sensibility
It’s not often that the finer points of lexicography make it into the news. But this week it’s happened twice: once via a Beijing publisher, and once at the top of a mountain in the Pyrenees.


Virtual light in the heart of the sea
No apologies all for linking to another delightful bookmash by Stan Carey.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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