Language and words in the news – 5th July, 2013

Posted by on July 05, 2013

© Ioannis Kounadeas / Fotolia.comThis 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

Shop Talk: American English versus British English with linguist Lynne Murphy
“The Internet is not making us into one global community. It’s giving the opportunity for communities to arise that are not geographically bounded. … English vocabulary is always in flux and always borrowing words from wherever it finds them.”

In Polite Defense of ‘No Problem’
When people tell me about their gripes about the English language (which happens with great regularity—it comes with my profession), they often bring up young people accepting thanks by saying “no problem.” … I would like to use this post to defend “no problem” as a form of polite interchange.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Authors to reimagine Shakespeare plays for 21st Century
Novelist Jeanette Winterson is to write a “cover version” of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale as part of a major project to reimagine the Bard’s works for modern readers. The project – known as The Hogarth Shakespeare – will launch in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Semantics on the basis of words’ connectivity
Two Brazilian physicists have now devised a method to automatically elucidate the meaning of words with several senses, based solely on their patterns of connectivity with nearby words in a given sentence – and not on semantics.

Unusual Words Rendered in Bold Graphics
As a lover of language and words, especially obscure and endangered words, I was instantly besotted with Project Twins’ visual interpretations of unusual words, originally exhibited at the MadArt Gallery Dublin during DesignWeek 2011.

Audio

Desert Island Discs with Steven Pinker (starts at 1:56) (45:00)
Kirsty Young’s castaway … is cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker. … The psychology of violence and where language comes from are just two of his specialist subjects. Bill Gates is officially a fan, the man who sends him hate mail related to his work on irregular verbs is not.

Video

Teenage hyperpolyglot: Shrug like a Frenchman and frown like a Russian (9:36)
When I ask him how many languages he speaks, he offers a different answer …. One, really. That is, English. He is “very comfortable” in four or five others, and “very serious” in studying two to four more at any time. Others he “dabbles in”.

And this is the YouTube video about Tim Doner (mentioned in the article):
Teen speaks 20 languages
Prodigy hyper-polyglot Tim Doner has been teaching himself languages since he was 13. He now speaks nearly 20 languages! Join Tim on a cultural tour of New York unlike any you’ve ever heard!

Fun

Goodnight honey, goodnight deer

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