Live English

Language and words in the news – 4th October 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

What do Brits call a sleepover?
Slumber party is very American, and I can’t say I’ve ever heard a BrE speaker use it, but it’s something they know from American films and books.  So, my question to my English friends was: if all these things are AmE, what did you call it when you were a kid?

Language change and slang

Another Sign ‘Artisanal’ Has Jumped the Shark
David Rees, author of How to Sharpen Pencils and founder of a mail-order pencil sharpening business that, yes, actually exists, opened a session at the 2012 Brooklyn Book Festival with a discussion of the proper way to pronounce the word “artisanal.”

Language teaching and resources

F is for Fractal
Language, like other complex systems, is fractal in nature: patterns at one level of delicacy are reproduced at every other level.

Improve your English

resusc and pleb
John Wells turns his attention to a certain four-letter word that has been much in the news recently.

Books, dictionaries, science, and languages

Accents Are Forever
By their first birthday, babies are getting locked into the sounds of the language they hear spoken.

Stunning revelation: Secret dictionary panel controls English language
There’s a secret committee that controls the English language. We’ve long suspected as much. Now we know it for a fact.

New Thai spellings for 176 loan words
The Royal Institute has come up with new spellings of 176 words borrowed from English in order to better reflect how they are pronounced in Thai. Tone marks – wanayuk in Thai – will be added to those words when they appear in the new edition of the institute’s official dictionary.


Are candidate gaffes important?
This cartoon-based lesson focuses on the US presidential election, and the pressure on candidates not to say anything that might be used against them.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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