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.
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Big companies, bad names
Two global companies, both in the Chicago area, announced the names of spinoff brands yesterday. That’s two opportunities to observe that it isn’t only small, underfunded startups that make bad naming decisions.
After 40 years, it’s ‘-gate’ overload
The late William Safire, a New York Times columnist, grammarian and former Nixon speechwriter, is often credited/blamed as head of the “-gate” community. In a 1996 New York magazine piece, Noam Cohen famously assembled 20 “-gates” coined by Safire.
Geeks are still being bullied by dictionaries
“Personally, I have no problem identifying myself as a geek girl, geek, nerd, dork, etc,” writes Jill Pantozi, pointing to a survey that shows all the ways geeks are positively viewed.
Words in the news: washout
Diamond jubilee: it’s a royal washout – but one million pay tribute to Queen.
Reflecting on the reflexive pronoun ‘themself’
Singular they has featured a few times in the lingua-blog world of late. On a tangent to this issue, I want to look at the lesser known themself, the status of which I’ve been musing and tweeting about recently
This lesson is designed around two short films, What’s Cookin’? by LRG and Happy Food by Yum Yum London, and the theme of food. Students practise food and restaurant vocabulary and speaking.
Books, words and languages
Does speaking in a second language make you think more or feel less?
For all of our capacity for rational, analytical thought, we can have different feelings about the same thing—even make different decisions about it—depending on the language used to talk about it.
Bunting was originally just the material from which flags could be made. It seems to have come from the old verb to bunt meaning to sift, because that was what was done to the material when bunting was made.
False fronts in the language wars
If you didn’t already know that euphonious dichotomies are usually phony dichotomies, you need only check out the latest round in the supposed clash between “prescriptivist” and “descriptivist” theories of language.
In this cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express, one of the boats from the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant is shown a long way off course somewhere in the Pacific.