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Language and words in the news – 1st June 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

The Brooklyn accent (and the city it stands for)
I remember browsing through a book on ‘stage dialects’ and being perplexed by the chapter titled ‘The Brooklyn Accent.’ Can the accent of this single borough be considered different from the city as a whole?

Language change and slang

“The Life of Slang” by Julie Coleman
Like many others before her, Coleman is at pains to emphasize that there has always been tension between slang and standard English. “The arguments in favor of slang [are] about slang itself: it is vibrant, creative, and so on. The arguments against [are] largely about slang-users: they’re unintelligent and have limited vocabularies.”

Buck gets ahold of a grammar problem
“Get ahold” has a somewhat folksy sound to it, which may be the reason the editors of the Daily Kick chose to use it.

Improve your English

5 Number Problems
In the sentence “The day the slain woman was to turn 28, 3,000 gathered at a church to recall her life,” the proximity of her age and the number of mourners confuses the eye.

Peter Bromhead: new Dictionary of Business Cliches
“At the end of the day … think outside the box,” suggested my new business associate. “You mean … look for a win-win situation?” I replied.

Language teaching and resources

Haggis, neeps et pommes de terre
Britain’s children are rarely conversant in other tongues. This is partially understandable: everyone else speaks English, so why should we bother?

Books, words and languages

Positive Words: The Glue to Social Interaction
Scientists at ETH Zurich have studied the use of language, finding that words with a positive emotional content are more frequently used in written communication.

Since it first came into Europe by way of Russia, the Greeks called [rhubarb] rha, which may have been an old name for the Volga River.

Check out this algorithm that turns tweets into poetry
If you’re a fan of The Bard and you love technology, you’ll definitely want to give @Pentametron a follow. “With algorithms subtle and discrete / I seek iambic writings to retweet.” [But does he actually mean ‘discrete’?]

Just for fun

We’ve had some bookmashes; here’s a moviemash.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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