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Language and words in the news – 5th February, 2016

© FotoliaThis 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.

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Language change and slang

Freedom and flexibility
J.L. Austin, in his posthumous work Sense and Sensibilia, defends like as “the great adjuster-word, or, alternatively put, the main flexibility-device by whose aid, in spite of the limited scope of our vocabulary, we can always avoid being left completely speechless.”

Global English

The story of ‘mate’
Mate is one of those words that is used widely in Englishes other than Australian English, and yet has a special resonance in Australia.

Improve your English

Safe as hice
The unchanged plural “house” (one house, two house) actually survived into the 14th century, but it was ultimately defeated by two other possibilities.

Words, books, dictionaries and language

Hats off: Many French words losing circumflex accent
Starting in September, schools in France will teach new spellings of some words in a bid to simplify the written language.

What’s in a Name? Innogen/Imogen in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline
Cymbeline has caused controversy among scholars for a seemingly minor matter: there are two versions of the heroine’s name on record, ‘Innogen’ and ‘Imogen’.

Radio/Podcast

Reawakening languages
It is thought that at least half of the languages that are alive today could cease to be spoken by the end of this century. (41 minutes, may not be available in all areas)

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Liz Potter

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