language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 8th April, 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

Word Cloud: How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes
I’ve always wanted to do a “mash-up” of the words used in commercials for so-called boys’ toys. I did a little bit of this in my book, but now, thanks to Wordle, I can present my findings in graphic form.

Language teaching and resources

E is for ELF
There’s little doubt that the widespread use of English as a form of communication between non-native speakers is influencing the way people speak it. The problem comes when this sociolinguistic fact is invoked by proponents of ELF to argue the case for new curriculum goals, different materials, a different methodology, revised standards of accuracy, and so on.

Language change and slang

The real tsunami
It was only three weeks ago that tsunami was mostly a metaphor. Up until March 11, the day that a massive 9.0 earthquake and an accompanying tsunami hit Japan, the word was being used in news stories to describe all kinds of trends and surges … And then the metaphorical use of tsunami disappeared. Suddenly, there was only one tsunami, and it was the one that had hit northeastern Honshu.

Language and technology

Head-To-Head: Kanye West vs. Bob Dylan
The works of Kanye West and Bob Dylan might seem like complete opposites at first glance. But using corpus linguistics, we can draw comparisons between artists across eras and genres.

Books, words, science and the history of language

“Dude:” Thoughts on an American Word
Dude, in America, is a word that lies somewhere between British mate and bloke. Like mate, it can be used in a vaguely affectionate second-person: “Don’t worry about it, dude.” And as in bloke, it can be used in descriptive third-person sentences: “That dude is stressed out.”


The science behind babbling babies
Aside from being amazingly cute, what’s going on with these “talking” twins?
These two are babbling, specifically they’re demonstrating a behavior known as “reduplicated babbling,” because the sounds used are repeated, which you can hear in their use of “da-da-da.” In a more informal way, I guess I would describe it as turn-taking with babbling, or conversational babbling.


Rolls Off The Tongue Cartoon Idioms Blog
The cartoons (which are great, by the way) are designed to show both the literal and figurative meaning of the idiomatic expression …

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Kati Sule

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