Language and words in the news – 5th August, 2011

Posted by on August 05, 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

China’s drive to teach English stalls in the west
Investment in the country’s poor western provinces is intended to create wealth and stem migration, but mismanagement is stifling access to the language of economic opportunity.

European framework in ascendancy on English competence
IELTS, which is about to lose its monopoly position as the English language test for student visa purposes, also risks losing its default position as a means of expressing English language competence.

Language change and slang

+1’tastic
From the start, Google has been serious about making +1 into a verb, despite it not looking terribly verb-y. Whereas Facebook appropriated a well-established verb with like, +1 presents special challenges for joining the social-media “verbs of approval” club, along with digg, tweet, and favorite.

New words in green English
During the last two months Indian companies have been sending email messages to their shareholders explaining the ‘noble Go Green initiative’ which they are adopting, to put into practice paperless communication that could save our forest wealth.

Books, words, science and the history of language

British Library App brings 45,000 books to the iPad
The British Library has made  45,000 of its titles available on for iPad owners …

Voice recognition another possible dyslexia deficit
A common learning problem, dyslexia, may be as much an auditory-processing problem as it is a reading issue, according to new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dictionary to record Gower dialect in heritage plan
A dictionary to record the dialect of people living on the Gower peninsula is one of a number projects which could benefit from Heritage Lottery funding.

New media: video & audio

Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity
Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language. He suggests that language is a piece of “social technology” that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.

Linguistics across the globe
McWhorter explains that while we’ve been talking for 150,000 years, we’ve only been writing for 5,500. Therefore language is inherently oral and the way it mutates over time is largely influenced by how it’s spoken.

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