Language and words in the news – 27th May, 2011

Posted by on May 27, 2011

Another Friday, another post containing 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

Bogota strives to walk the talk – in English
While English is common among the elite – many of whom went to school in the United States, Britain or Canada – it is noticeably absent among the middle class.

Swedish schools urged to utilise student English skill
Swedish schools fail to properly utilise students’ English language skills, acquired through the consumption of film and music, according to a report by the Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen).

Language change and slang

“Love Child”
If the word was once slangy or tabloidish, news organizations … now seem to consider it a straightforward descriptive term, as if it were the Standard English word for a child born outside of marriage.

Is ‘Swag’ Here to Stay?
The word’s definition is kind of hazy, but that’s a big part of its appeal. As a noun, “swag” conveys style, confidence, triumph and power. At the end of a sentence, it can used repeatedly as an affirmation, as in, “The stakeholders were very impressed by our second-quarter earnings. Swag. Swag. Swag.”

Improve your English

Twenty Spelling Mnemonics
While we may not admit it, some of us still fall back on mnemonics to recall the spellings of tricky words–such as those in our list of the 200 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in English.

do you have/have you/have you got
I’m particularly inspired to do this [topic] today as I’ve just been reading a paper by Peter Trudgill that cites these constructions as providing evidence that BrE is being influenced by AmE …

Books, words, science and the history of language

Babies learn language from ‘aha’ moment
Babies and those studying a new language learn words in moments of insight – or, as now former talk show host Oprah Winfrey calls them, “aha” moments – according to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Funny

Translated phrase-list jokes
An amusing “Anglo-EU Translation Guide” has been circulating widely in recent weeks.

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