language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 4 December, 2009

 © Ioannis Kounadeas / FotoliaThis 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.

Language change and slang

The case for camel case.
I sincerely doubt that odd capitalization will result in our writing system falling into anarchy … Say what you will, but I think that iPhone looks a lot better than Iphone.

When a wrong word almost makes it right.
Malapropisms … it’s a common form of humour in drama: Bart Simpson still gets a laugh when he says he can do free legal work “pro boner.”

Can you guess the Word of the Year? #hint
“With ‘Twitter’ declared English’s most popular word and ‘unfriend’ taking the title of Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, what else does social media have to conquer?”

Words that think for us.
No words are more typical of our moral culture than “inappropriate” and “unacceptable” … As a society, we strive to eradicate moral language, hoping to eliminate the intolerance that often accompanies it.
And a response: Thinking Words (part 1)
And the Language Log’s response to the response … Thinking about thinking words.

Improve your English

Ten funniest words in the English language.
It took us 3 years but we finally did it; we read the entire dictionary. (Don’t worry we won’t spoil the ending for you).

The excellent grammar of Tiger Woods.
But it gets even better. See those commas around his wife’s name in the second graf? He, or someone, obviously knows what an appositive is.

Things people say that I hate

Annoying grammar lesson.
I’m rather put out by the number of you who say that you don’t care about grammar rules. I mean, come on. Are you that way about math(s) when you balance your checkbooks?

Not fit for purpose? The jargon-laden language of politics.
We propose that cases of bad official language should be treated as ‘maladministration’, as for any other type of poor administration.

Journalism school language police.
The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar.

Common Errors in English

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds script finally spell-checked.
When Quentin Tarantino’s grammar-scalping script for Inglourious Basterds leaked last summer, “inglourious” and “basterds” weren’t the only words misspelled.

Snuckward ho!
The pattern in the NYT is less clear — did a new copy-editor come on board in the mid-to-late 1990s? — but still, snuck has been getting about a fifth of the action over the past few years.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Mad about English: The age-old language struggle.
I get afflicted with that crankiness when a television anchor describes a Chihuahua rescued from drowning as “very unique,” or a woman I scarcely know pronounces “forte” as “fortay”.

Idioms challenge.
Graphic Designers focused on matching typography while the Digital Artists made the artwork with high resolution images.

More on the hardest languages to learn – Indo-European languages.
The nine hardest languages to learn overall were: Mandarin, Hungarian, Finnish,  Polish,  Arabic, Hindi,  Icelandic, German and Swedish.

Researchers create cell phones for sign language.
Cornell researchers and colleagues have created cell phones that allow deaf people to communicate in sign language.

New artificial larynx does away with dreaded ‘robot voice’.
For decades, people with vocal cord problems could only hope to communicate in the cold, robotic voice provided by a mechanical larynx.

The economy of linguistic exchange in gaming culture.
I think that gaming language must be seen in the context of sub or youth cultural language. This means that specialized jargon has been developed for reasons other than purely technological.

10 most used imagined languages.

Twillionaire and twitticide.
Twitter-related portmanteaus (twitanteaus?) – users with a million followers, or those who abandon their tweeting.

An increasingly popular abbreviation for the year 2010.

Travelling to Bankok? Apparently this sign can be found at Bankok Suvarnabhumi International Airport.


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Jonathan Cole

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