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Language and words in the news – 13th December, 2013

© Volodymyr Vasylkiv / 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

This blog post is cat melodeon
A distinctive feature of the English spoken in Ireland is the colloquial use of cat as an adjective to mean: awful, unpleasant, rough, terrible, bad, calamitous, or very disappointing.

Language change and slang

Should schools ban slang from the classroom?
A school in the Black Country has aroused controversy by ‘banning’ the use of slang on school premises (apart from the playground). In this video debate a well-known children’s author and a young people’s mentor discuss some of the issues raised.

Wheelbarrow or wheelbarrel?
I’ve never come across this particular confusion, but the Wordlady has, and she has an explanation for it too.

Improve your English

Why you shouldn’t put numbers in text
Business reports typically have dozens of tables. That’s where the numbers should go. We can’t completely avoid putting numbers in the text, but it should be avoided wherever possible.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

Language skills deficit costs the UK £48 billion a year
Deficient language skills and the assumption that “everyone speaks English” are costing the UK economy around £48bn a year, according to a recent report.

Percy Shelley’s reading addiction
Many of us are compulsive readers but few, as Stan Carey discovers, go to the same extremes as the great Romantic poet Shelley.

10 Grammar books to read before you die of boredom
Who doesn’t love a listicle? Here’s one with some ideas for last-minute gifts for the grammar lover in your life.


The Christmas Selfie
The scene is a stable somewhere in Bethlehem. One of the three wise men is taking a selfie…

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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