Language and words in the news – 29th July, 2011

Posted by on July 29, 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

Oliver and Olivia top baby names’ list again
Oliver and Olivia were the most popular baby names across England and Wales in 2010 for the second year running, figures show.

… and a bit more news about names this week:

Why does Google+ insist on having your real name?
Google says it is addressing those with genuine complaints, but it maintains that to use the network effectively, users should be able to search for a friend or a family member as quickly and as easily as possible. And that, they say, means demanding real names.

Children’s Accents
Children’s accents tell us quite a bit about adult accents. From the speech of children, we can deduce which sounds of English are easily acquired and which less so.  And in some situations, we can find explanations for why accents lose certain features while preserving others.

American English vs British English

Viewpoint: American English is getting on well, thanks
There’s been much debate on these pages in recent days about the spread of Americanisms – outside the US. Here, American lexicographer and broadcaster Grant Barrett offers a riposte.

Language resources

Test your Vocabulary – How many words do you know?
Works for everyone, from small children (with parental help) to college professors!

… and more information about the test:

Blog about the test
(via The Economist‘s Johnson blog)

Books, words, science and the history of language

Department of Misused and Overworked Words and Phrases
The term “icon” has two basic meanings … Originally it referred to sacred images painted on tiny wooden panels back in the days of the Eastern Empire. … Today it is used to describe anyone reasonably famous who is completely over the hill, on a respirator, or stone dead …

Helping kids learn colour names
Different cultures divide the colour spectrum differently – sometimes subtly so, sometimes drastically. This means that learning colour terms requires children to learn not just the words but the particular colour map that obtains in their culture. And since colours are ubiquitous and blend into one another, it naturally takes a while to sort it all out.

Pun of the week

Significant otter from So much pun.com
(via Fighting-Words Daily)

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