global English improve your English language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 4th June, 2010

This post contains a weekly 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 and language change.

Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you.

Global English

What Does “BP” Stand For?
Since the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig back in April, the oil company’s name has been variously interpreted as “Big Profits,” “Biggest Polluter,” “Broken Promises,” and “Beyond Patience.”

On foreign ludicity
It’s good to see ludic linguistic ingenuity alive and well, and engaging with foreign languages – though I wonder, in this day and age, what proportion of the population will get the jokes.

Crash blossom finds remain
You’d think a team of subeditors would have been called out on a crash blossom alert, and fixed it. But not so.

Just Talking To Native Speakers Is The Worst Way To Learn A Language
In actuality, one of the major concepts of ALG [Automatic Language Growth] is that words are not the key to a language, meaning is. You could memorize 5,000 words from a dictionary and not be able to string a sentence together or express yourself in any meaningful way.

Language change and slang

It all started in January, when Toby Lichtig reviewed “Journey by Moonlight,” a 1937 novel by the Hungarian writer Antal Szerb that has recently been translated into English by Len Rix. Lichtig gave a thumbs up to Rix’s rendering, but he complained about the text’s occasional anachronisms, particularly the use of cool “in its contemporary sense” …

Improve your English

Is a Troop One Person or a Group?
Memorial Day is next week, when we in the U.S. honor members of the military who have died in the line of duty. So in today’s article I’ll answer a question some readers have had about the word “troops.”

What’s the best way to break bad news?
The delivery of bad news is now a successful money-spinning television format. Millions tune in to see Lord Alan Sugar point his finger and say: “You’re fired” or Simon Cowell to simply roll his eyes and tell another singer they’ve failed the audition. But real life is different.

World Cup Spelling – noticing vowels
An activity to help people spell the names of hte 2010 World Cup countries.

Language teaching and resources

Month in Review – May’s Most Popular Items
The school year is winding down for many of us, but there is still time to try something new in the classroom. If that’s not the case for you, May’s most popular links might give you something to think about for next fall when school starts again.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Minifalsehood: We can’t tell what a word is!?!?

I am looking at the question: How many words are there in a language? I’d like to know for languages in general, comparatively, and for pedagogical reasons, in some well known western language which may as well be English.
For possible answers, check this blog post.

Second language learners recall native language when reading
Adults fluent in English whose first language is Chinese retrieve their native language when reading in English, according to new research in the June 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. This study suggests that people who learn a second language in adolescence or later recall the sounds of words from their native language.

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Kati Sule

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