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Language and words in the news – 5th April, 2013

© NL shop - Fotolia.comThis 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 in a Nickname? The Origins of All 30 MLB Team Names
With the Major League Baseball season getting underway, here’s the breakdown of how the league’s 30 teams got their names.

Viewpoint: Why do tech neologisms make people angry?
The bewildering stream of new words to describe technology and its uses makes many people angry, but there’s much to celebrate, writes Tom Chatfield.

Language change and slang

Study shows ‘Fluffya’ accent is steadily changing
Nearly one million measurements show that two-thirds of Philadelphia vowels are in the process of changing. In one instance, the vowel used in the word “ate” has steadily moved closer to the vowel of “eat,” particularly in speakers who were born between 1888 and 1992.

The subjunctive might be dying, if you ignore where it’s going strong
If you believe the grammar doomsayers, the English subjunctive is dying out. But if this is the end of the grammatical world, I feel fine — and I say that even though I often mark the subjunctive myself.

Books, science, dictionaries, words and languages

New British Council exhibition celebrates The English Effect
The English Effect will examine the reasons why English is one of the UK’s greatest assets – as well as exploring the benefits it brings to countries and people around the world, and giving an insight into its status as a global language that reflects its contact with countries and cultures throughout history.

Speakers of tonal languages are better able to hear music, study finds
A study has found that people with little to no musical training who speak tonal languages – languages in which changing the pitch of a word alters its meaning – are able to process aspects of music just as well as trained musicians.

The Psychology of Language: Why Are Some Words More Persuasive Than Others?
There are many occasions when [my Buffer partner] Joel and I sit over one line and change it multiple times, until we feel it really sits right. This is partly to improve our metrics for click rate and others. It’s also to simply create an emotion. The one key question we ask ourselves is: “How does this make you feel?”

Language resources

Generation C
Students do a light-hearted questionnaire to find out if they belong to Generation C.
(pdf version)

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