global English improve your English language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 16th July, 2010

This 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, and language education too.

Do contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you.

Global English

On antinyms
Regular readers of this blog will recall a previous post about new words, one of which is bagonizing. We bagonized. All other passengers came, took up their bags and went, until eventually we were the only ones left at the carousel.

Beijing Renews English-Language Drive
Public servants in Beijing will face considerable pressure over the next five years to learn English after the city government launched a campaign to improve their language skills and penalize those who fail to meet expected proficiency levels.

Language change and slang

On Language, The Web Is At War With Itself
Internet memes and e-lingo are pumping new vitality into popular English parlance. But is it possible the Internet could also be stifling creativity in language? More on that in a moment.

Don’t forget to do the Meme Quiz!

‘Not a word’ is not an argument
Irregardless, supposably, ain’t, impactful, unfriend, defriend, disincentivise, signage, mentee, guesstimate, probletunity, orientate, loginned… Do these words make you twitchy? Would you say that some of them are not words? Disincentivise doesn’t fill me with thrills, but there’s no doubting its validity. Orientate is probably less reviled, but some people still reject its status as a word.

Language teaching and resources

Technology affecting English language in schools – Survey
Some teachers have complained about the poor performance of students in English Language examinations due to technology.

Improve your English

Words in the News: Losing One’s Touch
If you lose your touch, you can no longer do something as well as you could before.

How to Write Clear Sentences
Good writing is clear and concise and gets to the point. Readers don’t want to rummage through a messy verbal flea market to discover one or two sparkly gems of information.

Books, words, science and the history of language

Verbal cues improve visual detection
The study demonstrated that language can change what we see and can also enhance perceptual sensitivity. Verbal cues can influence even the most elementary visual processing and inform our understanding of how language affects perception.

When Did We First ‘Rock the Mic’?
Being a historical lexicographer in the 21st century is a task worthy of Janus, with one eye on the language’s past and another on new information about language that is emerging from advances in the digital world. So it was only fitting that my conference paper focused on how the Web is opening up previously unexplored terrain in documenting the history of American slang.

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Kati Sule


  • @Kati (quoting from ‘How to Write Clear Sentences’): Readers don’t want to rummage through a messy verbal flea market to discover one or two sparkly gems of information.

    The sentence is clear only to people who know English well. For people who read English as a second language, clearer alternatives are as follows:
    * Readers do not want to search through unnecessary information to discover one or two important items of information.
    * Readers do not want unnecessary information.
    * Readers want only necessary information.

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