language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 27th August, 2010

After a short break, ‘Language and words in the news’ returns with the latest in the media about words, language and language learning/teaching.

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Global English

Sarcasm in the UK and US – Part four: Does irony mean something different?
‘But what about Alanis Morissette?’, you ask. ‘Did she misunderstand the word when she wrote her song ‘Ironic’?’ Yes, I think she misunderstood …  The events she describes wouldn’t normally be described as ironic in AmE.

US drug agency recruits speakers of ‘street slang’
Ebonics is described by some linguists as English incorporating the grammar of African languages, but as it also includes many words invented on the streets, it is dismissed by others as mere slang.

The Bajan (Barbadian) accent is rather easily distinguished from other kinds of Caribbean English.

Language change and slang

On looking well
The examples – and there are indeed quite a few of them – suggest that this is an area where usage is changing.

Improve your English

Strange as it may seem, as speakers of any language intuitively know, a swear word is NOT just “a word like any other.” … Experiments have shown that hearing or reading dirty words affects people emotionally, as indicated by an increase in their Galvanic skin response.

Books, words, science and the history of language

The ABCs of E-Reading
It’s too early to tell the reading lift will sustain after the novelty of the gadgets wears off, and the devices go mass market. But because e-book gadgets are portable, people report they’re reading more and at times when a book isn’t normally an option …

Our canonical images of leakiness involve liquid seeping out through small openings in something — a dripping faucet, a roof letting in rain, a boat with a cracked hull. Physical leaks can be stopped with a patch or some other reinforcement, as when the little Dutch boy plugged that faulty dike with his finger. But political leaks have strayed far from their literal foundation.


The Alot is Better Than You at Everything
As a grammatically conscientious person who frequents internet forums and YouTube, I have found it necessary to develop a few coping mechanisms.

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Kati Sule

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