Language and words in the news – 28th October, 2011

Posted by on October 28, 2011

This post contains 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

Advisor Dissent
How to explain the dominion of advisor? First, it sounds fancy … Second, it sounds British. And when it comes to language in our country, that is an unbeatable combination.

Language change and slang

Heated debates: mongs, spastics and housewives
The comedian Ricky Gervais has attracted criticism from a range of quarters for his use of the word mong in recent comments on Twitter. According to Radio 1 Newsbeat and The Sun, Gervais’s “jokes” have included references to himself as being monged-up when pulling a face, welcoming his followers with good monging and many more hilarious quips that demonstrate his mastery of sophisticated wordplay.

The laws of English punctuation
Punctuation is certainly useful to help readers deal with long or difficult texts and to make up for features of spoken discourse like intonation or emotion that don’t transfer well to the page. But if you spend a lot of time correcting other people’s punctuation, and you’re not a copyeditor by profession, then maybe you need to get a life.

Improve your English

Cartoon: You Spend Ages Waiting For A Bus
To understand this cartoon… you have to be familiar with the saying, “You spend ages waiting for a bus and then two (or three) come along at once …”, an observation about the inefficiencies of British bus services (and life in general).

Apostrophy Review and Test
Here’s an opportunity to consolidate your apostrophe knowledge.

Books, words, science and the history of language

World Book Night titles unveiled
Pride and Prejudice and The Alchemist are among the 25 titles that will be given away on World Book Night in 2012.

From Riddle to Twittersphere: David Crystal tells the story of English in 100 words
David Crystal set himself the challenge of covering the history of English in 100 words. He explains what his list tells us about the origins and evolution of our mother tongue …

Funny

Adverb play
Without the context supplied by the cartoon, religiously would be taken in the subsense ‘faithfully, conscientiously; strictly, scrupulously; fervently’ … But the cartoon conveys a variant of the subsense ‘with religious feeling or conduct; in accordance with the principles of religion; piously, reverently, devoutly’ …  in particular, ‘in religious dress’, complete with mitre.

ABC: The new alphabet for kids in the digital age
When we started school many years ago, we had to learn the ABC. Kids still do, but the only thing that stayed the same is that A still stands for Apple!

Video

Shakespeare’s authenticity defended in Stratford-upon-Avon (1:51)
A new film, Anonymous, explores the theory that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, wrote the masterpieces attributed to William Shakespeare.

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