Language and words in the news – 30 April, 2010

Posted by on April 30, 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

China to launch 24-hour English TV news network.
… as part of efforts to expand the communist government’s media influence abroad.

USA: The candidate from xenophobia.
The award for best bottom-feeding campaigner surely belongs to an Alabama gubernatorial candidate who vows to put an end to that grave threat posed by driver’s license tests being conducted in any language but English.

UK: Foreign doctors’ poor English is killing patients, say MPs.
‘Tighter controls on GPs from overseas ‘must be introduced immediately to save lives’.

Listening to (and saving) the world’s languages.
While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages. Which led us to wonder: What are the least-spoken languages in New York?

A guide to the gritty side of the French language.
‘Spoken English is bootylicious; it’s chill; it’s sick; it’s phat; it’s a whole other creature.’

Language change and slang

Shakespeare’s vocabulary.
Shakespeare’s works provide the first documentation for words including accommodation, apostrophe, assassination, dexterously, dislocate, frugal, indistinguishable, misanthrope, obscene, pedant, premeditated, reliance, and submerged.

Improve your English

Only one is a word: quiz on 20 commonly misspelled words.

The self-appointed Twitter scolds.
“The vitriol was so intense that at first I didn’t think they were serious,” Mr. Cusack said. “Because, like, who would care?”

Begging the question“: we have answers.
The history of “beg the question” — a cavalcade of misleading translations — starts with Aristotle’s straightforward presentation of a simple idea.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Non-English Google search made easier.
Google has developed and released a language-specific virtual keyboard.

Yaka-Wow.
A misheard portmanteau of “yuck” and “wow” that became an Internet hit.

Funny

Hitler’s copyright panzers roll out.
A global internet craze for parodying the “Hitler in the bunker” scene from a German film about the Führer has been curbed by claims of copyright infringement.

Pope’s itinerary to the UK marred by bad grammar.
Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK has resulted in Scotland being beatified due to a grammatical error.

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