Language and words in the news – 8th October, 2010

Posted by on October 08, 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, and language education too.

Do contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you.

Language change and slang

Tweet this
Twitter merely coined a verb meaning “send a message via Twitter”, but they didn’t specify what linguists call its subcategorization possibilities. They added the verb to the dictionary, but they didn’t specify its grammar. The verb tweet is gradually developing its own syntax according to what it means and what its users regard as its combinatory possibilities.

Improve your English

“Like” Versus “Such As”
Should you write, “Chuck enjoys desserts such as brownies, cheesecake, and macaroons” or “Chuck enjoys desserts like brownies, cheesecake, and macaroons”? Either is acceptable to many grammarians and veteran writers, but let’s look at why using “such as” is better in this instance.

Cartoon: Hands Off Child Benefits
If you tell someone to keep their hands off something, you are telling them in a rather aggressive way not to touch it or interfere with it.

Language teaching and resources

V is for Vocabulary size
Traditionally, estimates of vocabulary size have been based on the number of words that subjects could define on a list taken at random from a dictionary: if the list represented 10% of the total words in the dictionary, the number of known words would then be multiplied by ten to give the total. But the method is fraught with problems …

Language technology

Six writing analysis tools
It’s fun to know about your writing, and some of these might even in fact have a pedagogical use too.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Banned Words Week
We don’t yet have a Banned Words Week, where lexicographers, journalists, and word lovers celebrate our right to use any word in English we please, but during the past 12 months, it seemed that we could have declared one almost any week.

Podcast

Confusables 11—“What the L?”

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