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Language and words in the news – 11th May 2012

This 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

What exactly is hand-shredded ass meat?
The Beijing Municipal government hopes to end unintended jokes with its new guidebook intended for the public and restaurants alike, “Enjoy Culinary Delights: The English Translation of Chinese Menus.”

Language change and slang

Rise of the twitchfork mob: how to civilise the web
Gawker founder Nick Denton declared at the South by Southwest festival in March that the dream of online comments – not just on social networking sites but also on news and blog sites – as a forum for intelligent debate was dead.

Improve your English

‘Scary quotes’
Scary quotes commonly appear in headlines and subheadings. Some indicate reported speech or text, a common function of quotation marks; others paraphrase.

The Verb “Do” Is Weirder Than You Think
You might not have given much thought to how many jobs “do” does, and how unusual it is, so today we’re going to give “do” its due.

Language teaching and resources

The Rotary Sushi Bar of English
Luke Thompson challenged himself to talk for 30 minutes. He ended up talking for 1 hour. Mostly about food.

Books, words, languages and dictionaries

Cajun Fench: Can dying language be saved?
Learning a second language can be a hobby or an attempt to reconnect with one’s roots. But for these students, there’s another goal: To save a dying local language.

DARE celebrates completion at ‘shindy’
At the party were [original editor] Cassidy’s children and grandchildren, as well as four of DARE’s original field workers, who were sent across the country to conduct interviews and gather the words that would eventually comprise the dictionary.

Omphalopsychites and umbilicani
I’ve heard the phrase navel gazing exactly a million and one times, without ever suspecting that it had once been more than a figure of speech. I thought that it merely involved contemplating yourself, and a particularly uninteresting part of yourself at that.


History of the English language
This is a real period piece, a British Council film about the history of English. The film was made in 1943, in the middle of World War Two, which explains why the section about vocabulary of German origin is illustrated by a military arm bearing a swastika. Worth a look nonetheless.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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