language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 13 November, 2009

Fotolia_623628_Subscription_rThis 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

No foreign language on holiday please, we’re British.
The under 20s were found to be the best equipped to cope with foreign languages, with more than half saying they can speak a second language.

Teachers blamed as English standards fall in Philippines.

Language change and slang

Is spelling reform a shovel-ready project?
Now, with the global expansion of English as a lingua franca and unemployment in double digits, has the time for spelling reform come round at last?

Is Twitter killing the English language?

More weary words.
A few years ago it seemed as if writers couldn’t be hired at The Times unless they used the word “frisson” in just about every column.

Is technology dumbing down Japanese?
Americans may fret over the ways digital communications encourage sloppy grammar and spelling, but in Japan these changes are much more wrenching.

A passing tense.
Nowadays past has lost its status as a verb form (it’s busy enough serving as a noun, adjective, adverb, and preposition)…

A description of men who use “kisses” when texting.

Improve your English

Finding fluency in language lessons.
It isn’t unusual for nearly identical lessons to be taught simultaneously in English and Spanish a short distance apart.

Things people say that I hate

Mistranslations and Miscorrections
The smug pleasure of pointing out errors in the work of so-called professional translators can only be beat by one thing: the even smugger pleasure of pointing out errors in said corrections…

COLUMN: Grammar mistakes enough to make a person (sic).
You may be shocked to learn, in fact, that a few typos have even appeared occasionally in the sports section of the Peace Arch News (I’ll pause here while you catch your breath).

The linguistic construction of pedagogical institutions carries with it the engendering of history as such.
‘I realized that this is how certain brilliant theoreticians must feel all the time: their brains click! and out pops a sentence with lots of terms the rest of us are too lazy to want to try and comprehend.’

Books, words, science and the history of language.

Tiny evolutionary mutation led to ‘language gene’: study
Two minute changes in a gene that is otherwise identical in humans and chimps could explain why we have full-fledged power of speech.

Language gene‘ effects explored.
A gene that has long been implicated in the evolution of speech and language has given up more of its secrets.

Unlocking the mysteries of speech.
So why do we talk?

This amusing clip argues that speaking English might prove bad for your health.

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Jonathan Cole

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