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Language and words in the news – 24th February, 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’s wrong with the “Democrat Party”?
Last week we had “Rockefeller Republicans”; this weeks it’s the turn of Democrats to get hot under the collar about name-calling.

Language change and slang

Wow! Some words are, like, really old
The interjection Wow, as “a natural expression of amazement,” goes back to the 1510s. Yes, you read that right – early in the 16th century.

The cultural mash-up dictionary: carwashero
Just as the sound of it suggests, a “carwashero” is someone who works at a car wash, otherwise known in Spanish as a “lava coches”, i.e. one who washes cars.

Language teaching and resources

Vocabulary games for all levels
English Club, the runner-up in our recent best website competition, has language games for all levels, from easy to very difficult.

Books, words, languages, and science

Project creates ark for world’s dying languages
An ark for endangered languages has been set up on the Internet in a bid to save thousands of ancient tongues from extinction.

Chopsing or jaffocking, why Brits are thrilled by wordplay
Even Dr Johnson realised that his hope of keeping pure the English he adored was a futile proposition: “To enchain syllables, and to lash the wind, are equally the undertakings of pride.”

February and februation
“All the rest have 31, Excepting February alone. Which has but 28 days clear. And 29 in each leap year”… As February filldyke bows out, there’s still time to find out some fascinating facts about the shortest month.

Language technology

Making Downton more traditional
Ben Schmidt found some copies of the Downton Abbey scripts online, and fed every single two-word phrase through the Google Ngram database to see how characteristic of the English Language, c. 1917, Downton Abbey really is.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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