Language and words in the news – 28th September 2012

Posted by on September 28, 2012

Language and words in the newsThis 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

Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English
“Spot on – it’s just ludicrous!” snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley. “You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on.”

Language change and slang

Hopefully, Grammar Schools Will Go Back to Teaching Grammar
Stephen L. Carter recently wrote an opinion piece titled: It Is to Be Hoped That “Hopefully” Will Fade Away. Unfortunately, the article reveals that Professor Carter doesn’t understand what sentence adverbs are or what they do.

Language teaching and resources

After Long Fight, DC Wins Right to a Statue in the Capitol Building
This audio lesson from Voice of America tells how residents of Washington DC won the right to have a statue of writer, scholar and anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass set up in the Capitol.

Improve your English

EAP style: how to be actively impersonal 
Although it’s true that academic prose does have more passives than most other genres, they still only make up a relatively small proportion of the overall verb forms in any given academic text.

Books, dictionaries, words and languages

Anti-anti-Americanismism
A recent article on the BBC America website features “10 Things Americans Say… and What They Really Mean”. It begins with an unpromising generalisation and a gratuitous sideswipe.

Now That You Have the Demotic Dictionary, You Need a Grammar 
I realize I have ill-served those of my readers whose first response may have been, “first dictionary of Demotic Egyptian, great. But how am I going to learn to actually speak Demotic if I don’t have a decent grammar to use with the dictionary?”

How not to apologize 
The news has been full of discussions about what the Tory chief whip did or didn’t say to the policemen. Then he apologized, kind of, so the news has been full of that too.

Video

The Drinker’s Dictionary
We’ve had a very similar link before, but Ben Franklin’s list of terms for being drunk bears repeating.

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