Language and words in the news – 3rd August 2012

Posted by on August 03, 2012

This 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

Hond Begs: Belfast /a/ Allophony
Whereas Americans pronounce words like ‘trap’ and ‘cat’ with one or two vowel allophones, such words have a whopping five variations in Belfast.

Language change and slang

ExecuSpeak Dictionary: Hurdle Rate
The hurdle rate is the measure used to determine if an investment is considered to be worth spending the money. It’s used to compare and contrast a multitude of investment and project choices.

Word of the Week: Wazzock
Wazzock: A stupid or annoying person; an idiot. British slang; OED’s earliest citation is dated 1976. I’m familiar with many British insults but wazzock was new to me until last Friday.

Improve your English

Humpty-Dumptyism
Yesterday I posted a dispatch on the bogus “over/more than” distinction beloved of journalists, with the expectation that its adherents would prove obstinately resistant to evidence and argument. Almost immediately a number of people delivered themselves into my hands.

Books, dictionaries, languages and science

Crowd-Sourced Online Nouchi Dictionary
Loosely defined, Nouchi is a French-based creole language, which relies on a number of Ivorian languages for its vocabulary as well as creative twists with standard French. A project called Nouchi.Mobi has taken on the task of putting together an online crowdsourced dictionary for the language.

Why language isn’t computer code
On July 20th, Kyle Wiens wrote a blog post for Harvard Business Review with the title “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.” Here’s a response from The Economist’s Johnson blog.

Cartoon

A Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut?
This cartoon is based on a common idiom about the use of disproportionate force.

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