Language and words in the news – 28th June, 2013

Posted by on June 28, 2013

© Stephen Coburn / Fotolia.comThis 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.

This week a great deal of language in the news has focussed on pronunciation and accents.

Global English

What’s the difference between envy and jealousy?
Jealousy and envy are in some ways interchangeable, in other ways not. … A semantic division more often described is that we’re jealous of things that are ours or (we feel) should rightfully be ours, and envious of things that belong to others.

Deutsche Bahn aims to roll back use of English
Germany’s rail operator Deutsche Bahn has launched a campaign to roll back the use of English, issuing staff a booklet of 2,200 German phrases that should be used instead of the corresponding Anglicisms.

Language change and slang

4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They’re Happening
These days … it is possible to spot subtle linguistic changes by analyzing large digital collections of text or transcribed speech, some of which cover long periods of time. Linguists can run the numbers on these large corpora to determine the direction of language use trends and whether they are statistically significant. Here are 4 rather subtle changes happening in English, as determined by looking at the numbers.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Study: mysterious Voynich Manuscript carries ‘genuine message’
The Voynich Manuscript is perhaps the greatest, most mysterious undeciphered medieval text. Dated from the 15th or 16th centuries in Italy, its 246 pages contain illustrations of seemingly imaginary plants and text that is, as far as anyone can tell, written in an entirely unknown made-up language.

Video

TED-Ed: Attention word nerds: 13 mysteries of the vernacular, solved
Each lesson in this dictionary-thumping series tells the unusual origin story of a common word. In the end, there will be 26 lessons total – one representing each letter of the alphabet.

Humour

Parents Name Their Newborn Daughter ‘Hashtag’
Hashtag will likely grow up to be a happy, healthy, beautiful adult woman, but we can’t help but think she’s going to face a great deal of scrutiny and teasing on the grade-school playgrounds.

Mother Goose and Grimm playing with an idiom
via Arnold Zwicky’s Idiomatic meta-strips
(for the phrase, see this entry)

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