Language and words in the news – 7th May, 2010

Posted by on May 07, 2010

This post contains a weekly 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 and language change. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include.

Global English

Longest word in the English language.
Determining the longest words in the English language is not a very easy task. The answer will vary depending on how one actually defines a word.

Accented teachers may be better for English language learners: study
A new study on how well students learn second languages from teachers with accents suggests that Arizona may be making a mistake by trying to remove heavily accented Hispanic teachers from classrooms filled with Hispanics trying to learn English.

The complex art of learning to hold a conversation in English
Another complex feature of conversation is backchannelling. This is the audible feedback we give to indicate we are still listening to what people are saying – noises such as “mm, mmhmm, yes, yeah, right, OK”.

Mother tongue: A hot button issue
The intimate link between Singapore’s bilingual policy and the island’s political, economic and social fundamentals, influences and constrains the direction of language planning.

My Spanish Side
Bilingual people display differing personality traits depending on which language they are speaking.

Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish
The campaign is partly modeled on Beijing’s herculean effort to clean up English signage for the 2008 Summer Olympics, which led to the replacement of 400,000 street signs, 1,300 restaurant menus and such exemplars of impropriety as the Dongda Anus Hospital — now known as the Dongda Proctology Hospital.

It’s all in the accent
Reflecting this shift, the field of ELT has started to take on board the fact that it is an unrealistic goal for an Non-native speaker to attain the pronunciation patterns of an Native speaker.

Language change and slang

Text messaging spawns language change
So popular is the digital patois, in fact, that it has given rise to an entirely new set of words employing the medium’s suffix. Chexting (cheating on one’s partner via text), drexting (drinking and texting) […] for example, are […] terms borne of our calloused thumbs.

Improve your English

Fresh Figures of Speech From the Garden of Eloquence
Over 400 years ago, an English curate named Henry Peacham characterized the figures of speech as “wisdom speaking eloquently.” Through the play of language, he said, “the singular partes of mans mind are most aptly expressed, and the sundrie affections of his heart most effectuallie uttered.”

Sex and color language
The most interesting result reported so far is an experimental test of the old stereotype about sex differences in color naming.

How to Eliminate Adverbs
Podcast about eliminating adverbs.
Plus: quick refresher on adjectives and adverbs and the differences between them.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Historic day as first non-latin web addresses go live
The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil.

Evil-ution
Ever-evolving strategies for coping with intrusive tabloid journalism

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