language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 10 April, 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. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include.

Global English

PQ study suggests English set to dominate in Montreal.
The report says if present trends continue, the percentage of Francophone on the island of Montreal will fall to 43 percent by 2016.

China chucks English-language acronyms.
Media prohibitions aimed at sustaining Chinese language.

Let the children learn Chinese.
Why American schools should embrace Beijing’s program to fund Chinese language and culture classes.

Election 2010 – vote for the cliche you hate the most.
Welcome to the first blog from the editors of the Guardian style guide: electionspeak and the politics of the English language.

Language change and slang

Grammatical zeros and bare relatives.
Interestingly, some nouns that are never used with a zero article in American English do take the zero article in British English. For instance, where Americans speak of being “in the hospital” or “at the university,” the British say “in hospital” or “at university.”

Whaddyanuts? There’s a name for it.
E.g. slurred and compressed speech, such as Tsamatta? for “What’s the matter?”: Slurvian.

Fried enema.
This is a good example of the spoken language being clearer than the written language.

‘A new catchphrase in meetings is ‘let me socialize that.’

Why let the use of nouns as verbs impact you?
English has a long and respectable tradition of the practice.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Rule change in Scrabble prompts purists’ ire
Move over “quixotic” and “dharma.” “Beyonce” and “Madonna” are on their way.

Scrabble for iPad review
it’s fantastic classic board games like Scrabble that will really make iPad stand out.

Duet for two pens.
“Why Translation Matters” (an extended essay, really) is one of the first texts in Yale’s energetic new series, Why X Matters, each volume of which is to present a “concise argument for the continuing relevance of an important person or idea.”

Cheating via text message.(Che[ating] + [Te]xting.)

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Jonathan Cole

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