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Language and words in the news – 27th April 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

Recycling “sticky wicket” for the uncricketed
It makes little sense to talk about some legal clause being “a sticky wicket to try to go through”.  I suspect that Arnold and Elson are thinking of the OED’s sense 4 of wicket, glossed as “U.S. Croquet. A hoop.”

Language change and slang

Stop calling it curation
Stan Carey blogged recently on the used of curation to refer to the collecting and posting of links on the internet. Here’s a trenchant objection to the term and, for balance, below is the kind of thing that is being objected to (even if it is slightly tongue in cheek).

Content Curators Are The New Superheros Of The Web
Anyone who’s trying to keep their head above the proverbial “water” of the web knows that we need super-help…and fast. So anyone who steps up and volunteers to curate in their area of knowledge and passion is taking on a Herculean task.

Improve your English

Jubilant birthday to you!
“Jubilee” is a word that, surprisingly, comes from an ancient Hebrew word meaning “ram”: yobel, which came to apply not only to the rams themselves but also to the rams’ horns used for making trumpets which were blown on religious occasions.

Language teaching and resources

A film-based lesson about adjectives to describe character
This lesson is designed around a short film by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Thought Bubble, and the theme of kindness.

Books, words, languages and dictionaries

Language: The Cultural Tool by Daniel Everett – review
The Pirahã people tend to confine their discourse to things they know about, and their verb forms can be suffixed to distinguish between hearsay, inference and observation. They have no perfect tense.

In Swahili, they call it …
When Shen Yuning announced he was planning to compile a Swahili-Chinese dictionary, most of his friends thought he was joking.

‘Welsh is a wonderful gift’: speakers of the language relish new support
In her first speech as commissioner, Meri Huws spoke of her vision of a Wales where speakers had the confidence to use the language and trust in the law to rectify any prejudice.

Just for fun

When silence is not golden
What other day of the week tries to convince you that a letter that is clearly part of the word “Wednesday” is not actually there at all? Does Thdursday try it, or Tuedsday? No, they don’t.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter


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