language and words in the news Love English

Language and words in the news – 11th May, 2013

© Ioannis Kounadeas / Fotolia.comThis post contains a 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, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include, or just add a comment to the post, with the link(s) you’d like to share.

Global English

Michael Gove and ‘correct grammar’: let me explain this slowly
… grammar is not a matter of being correct or not. It’s a way of describing how all language works. All linguists believe there is grammar, but linguists do not all agree on grammatical terms or categories. Pretending that there is only one correct way to describe language is confusing and untrue.

French academia in war of words over plan to teach in English
Socialist ministers accused of sabotaging French language by relaxing ban on English being used in French universities

Language change and slang

Word watcher charts marathon bombing’s description as ‘surreal’
With the rise of social media, it did not take long for “surreal” to spike in usage after the bombings. Along with “surreal,” other superlatives are often employed in the coverage of breaking news events.
Ben Zimmer … talks about the use of superlatives and other language trends.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved’ words
The 23 entries on the list of ultraconserved words are cognates in four or more language families. Could they sound the same purely by chance? Pagel and his colleagues think not.

English spelling is terrible. Other languages are worse.
The same factors that make English spelling so bizarre can also come into play in other languages. Some languages have pretty dodgy spelling. Some have even bigger challenges than English has.


The Most Overused Buzzwords In Public Relations 2013
… an infographic that highlights some of the most overly used and disastrous buzzwords to ever hit a news story so you don’t get caught up in the ‘fluff’. Some of the biggest perpetrating buzzwords were ‘leading’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘low hanging fruit’!


Game of Thrones: Can you speak Dothraki? (4:46)
Mr Peterson told Today presenter Evan Davis that he invented the language after the creators trailed the programme with the actors speaking gibberish but “it sounded just awful”.


The History of Typography – Animated Short (5:10)
A paper-letter animation about the history of fonts and typography.

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