language and words in the news

Week in review

© Ioannis Kounadeas / This post contains a weekly selection of links related to English language today. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting related websites. A new weekly review post will be posted every Friday. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include.


Language rated above green issues.
‘More than half of people in Wales feel securing the Welsh language’s future is more important than protecting the environment.’

Will China and India embrace the English language?
‘In a world where over a billion people are currently learning English, native-speakers are losing their status as guardians of the language and dispensers of pedagogical expertise.’

Why is lilac pronounced “Li-LOCK”? Debate rages, expert explains.
‘Local customs and colloquialisms trump whatever rule is in print.’

Da Vinici Code expert needs your text messages.
Linguistic crime busting!

The impact language has on immigration and integration.
‘Thanks to her diligence, Dr Pons-Sanz was able to clean up the list of English terms that people believe came from Old Norse.’

Sleep can improve your word power.
‘Reading bedtime stories to children could help to improve their vocabulary, new research suggests.’

Blogs and columnists

You can quote them.
The whole nine yards. It is a phrase rather than a word that is the most prominent etymological riddle of our time. The phrase is both a magnet for fervid speculation and a goal that can be targeted with powerful modern research techniques.’
Picked up from Language Hat.

In the land of invented languages.
‘… one can have a language removed from the socioeconomic and political baggage of natural languages (especially appealing to those who deplore the international influence of English).’

Analysis: the implications of dialect in (the game) Dragon Quest IV.
‘The inclusion of dialects in video games stirs about some interesting implications.’

Feel the fear and do it anyway (or, the privatization of the English language).
‘Today I received an email from the lawyers of author Susan Jeffers, PhD., notifying me that I’d infringed on her trademark by inadvertently using the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway”’.

Some thoughts on the lost art of reading aloud.

Language Wars.
‘It is fascinating how intensely invested people are in language use … There are those who are appalled by changes in the spelling and meaning of words.’

Cultural understanding, open mind key to upgrading English proficiency.
‘Without realizing this simple truth, as has been said by different voices in the past, no amount of increased investment in English, or no development in teaching technique, is ever likely to improve English in Korea. Korea must “un-Koreanize” itself first to tackle the issue.’

Give Verbs a Chance.
Do you use too many nouns?

10 blogs to improve your mastery of language and editing.
Picked up from Fritinancy.

A Degree in English.
In the New York Times: ‘This all sounds very exciting, but these stories of linguistic derring-do obscure the fact that Latin diplomas have outlived their usefulness … I love Latin, but when the last American diploma is finally converted to English I will say, “Ita vero.” Right on.’

Good grammar might derail your career.
‘I can remember in sixth grade when we spent weeks parsing sentences. There was a moment of self-awareness when I thought to myself, “If I let anyone see how much I like this, I’ll never get invited to good parties.”‘

Will Shakespeare’s come and gone: does the bard’s poetry reach us like August Wilson’s? Come on — really?
‘At what point do we concede that substantial comprehension (of English) across the centuries has become too much of a challenge to expect of anyone but specialists?’

Quote of the day from Booker Rising: on Obama’s accent.

Which Words Do You Love and Which Do You Hate?
Out with ‘moist’and in with ‘discombobulate’!
Picked up from BoingBoing.


Automatic translation from Gmail.


Business letter generator (OK, perhaps not that much fun).

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author


Jonathan Cole

Leave a Comment