Language and words in the news – 9th July, 2010

Posted by on July 09, 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.

Global English

The Economist Debates: English
This house believes that the English-speaking world should adopt American English.

Disney to expand language schools in China
Mickey Mouse might not be the most obvious choice as a language teacher but he and Donald Duck are being put to work in China by Walt Disney as part of a rapid expansion of a schools programme that aims to teach English to 150,000 children a year by 2015.

Linguists Debate: Does Obama Talk Like a Girl?
Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker caused a stir last week by stating, “If Bill Clinton was our first black president, as Toni Morrison once proclaimed, then Barack Obama may be our first woman president.”

Language change and slang

Many English Speakers Cannot Understand Basic Grammar
Research into grammar by academics at Northumbria University suggests that a significant proportion of native English speakers are unable to understand some basic sentences.

Overusing words dulls their meanings
Is there a point when words should be put to rest? My picks would be amazing and phenomenal. These two have crept into the lexicon of so many they have lost their power.

Language teaching and resources

Japanese Study English By…Tweeting?
Twitter followers in Japan have demonstrated their fervor for the social networking tool, setting a world record in generating “tweets per second” after a recent World Cup game. Now, creative merchants are coming up with books and blogs that connect Twitter with another national infatuation: Learning English.

EMCC professor rewrites English learning
Traditionally, college-level students who do not speak English but want to study in the United States must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, exam before they can begin classes. Those who do not pass are sequestered into English as a Second Language, or ESL, courses until they can prove their profi-ciency in the language, at which time they may matriculate into regular college courses.

Improve your English

On since/ago
The rule says that since and ago are incompatible, because since refers to an event that has current relevance whereas ago refers to a completed event in the past.

Books, words, science and the history of language

The Origins of ‘One-Off’
The off in one-off does not, in fact, stem from some corruption of the word of. Rather, this British usage of off typically appears with a number to indicate a quantity of items produced in some manufacturing process.

Is the Thesaurus Your Friend?
Using or not using a thesaurus is an individual choice for each writer. Many writers agree with King that using a thesaurus ultimately cramps their creativity. But if you feel that a thesaurus would benefit your writing, why not use it?

Funny

Cartoon: Meals on Wheels

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