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.
Becoming a Grammar Jedi
Robert Lane Greene’s fascinating account of what happened when he was invited to join the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel.
English words the French simply can’t say
As someone whose name when pronounced by Italians often sounds like a large city in the middle of Yorkshire, I can totally sympathise with number 4. And before anyone complains, there’s a companion piece on French words the English can’t pronounce. Vive la différence!
When Your Punctuation Says It All (!)
There is a very fine line between appearing overeager (too much punctuation) and dismissive (not enough).
Books, dictionaries, words and language
The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape
For decades the leading nature writer has been collecting unusual words for landscapes and natural phenomena – from aquabob to zawn.He’s published them in a book, but you can read about some of them here.
Why Oxford Dictionaries are right to purge nature from the dictionary
Macfarlane was one of the writers who protested about the removal of ‘nature words’ from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Here’s another article on the subject that is rather more sympathetic to the job of lexicographers. The captions are funny too.
World Book Day
World Book Day is an opportunity for kids to have a bit of fun by going to school dressed as their favourite literary characters. Here’s a selection of the best, culled from social media.
10 idioms about books
And here’s Macmillan English’s contribution to the celebrations.
Italian MPs chided for macho language
Speaker of the House of Deputies Laura Boldrini is against the use of the masculine form in Italian articles and noun endings when describing women who hold positions of power. She is urging them immediately to start using the feminine forms of these words during debates and in official documents.
Michael Adams on Phillip Gove’s Innovation With Attributive Nouns
Lexicography nerd alert: it seems that the much-reviled Webster’s Third Editor Phillip Gove was the first to recognise the tendency of nouns to behave attributively, introducing the label often attrib. to the dictionary.
Darling, there’s an elephant in the womb