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Language and words in the news – 14th September 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

‘Scare quotes’ having a ‘field day’ in the ‘media’
In the long run-up to the American presidential election this coming November, an epidemic of so-called “scare quotes” is turning political punditry and commentary into what might be called “a punctuation epidemic.”

Language change and slang

Could English exist without the letter G?
Believe it or not, for much of their history, the sounds of C and G were represented by the same symbol.

New Devices, New Gestures
Hat tip to Orin Hargraves – I’ve been longing to use that phrase – who in his recent post on computer terminology linked to this interesting article on how language changes to reflect new ways of interacting with electronic media.

A quick check in the dictionary told me that a qualm could be the cry of a raven. But the qualm of conscience turned out to be one of those weakening words, like naughty.

Language teaching and resources

What’s the point of conventions?
The theme of this cartoon-based lesson is the recent US Republican and Democratic  party conventions.

Books, dictionaries, words and languages

Dictionaries are not democratic
Lexicographer and slangmeister Jonathon Green gives us his two penn’orth on crowdsourced dictionaries.

Tu and Twitter: Is it the end for ‘vous’ in French?
The informal version of “you” in the French language – “tu” – seems to be taking over on social media, at the expense of the formal “vous”.

New app created to support preservation of endangered language
One of the world’s most endangered languages is to be brought into the digital age through the first phone app designed specifically for the documentation of an Australian Indigenous language.


Going forward
Comedian David Mitchell rants amusingly about a favourite linguistic bugbear.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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