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.
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‘This.’ sucks: why you need to stop using the internet’s worst one-word sentence
Following last week’s piece on the new social networking site This., here’s a piece by someone who is most definitely not a fan of the usage.
It was the opinion of Dr Johnson that ‘a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing’. Here’s a post on the differences between the British and American terms for the unloved vegetable.
Nothing if not
The chunk is a subtle and interesting way of saying that something has one particular quality that is more noticeable or important than any other.
Books, dictionaries, science, words and language
Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2014
Even more fashionably late than the American Dialect Society, Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary has announced its Word (or rather, Words) of the Year for 2014. They’re good ones too.
15 unique illnesses you can only come down with in German
Strangely, while every German knows at least five people who have had a bout of Hörsturz, it is practically unheard of anywhere else.
Pigeon power: Study suggests similarity between how pigeons learn the equivalent of words and the way children do
The more scientists study pigeons, the more they learn how their brains–no bigger than the tip of an index finger–operate in ways not so different from our own.
National Libraries Day
Tomorrow–Saturday 7th February–is National Libraries Day in the UK. This site has many suggestions for how you can show your love for public libraries.
When Irish was still the greatest little language in the world
Reports of the terminal decline of Irish in the nineteenth century were greatly exaggerated, argues the author of a new study.
Exhibition marks James Joyce study of heretical Franciscans at Marsh’s Library
Last Monday, February 2nd, was the birthday of James Joyce, who was born on that day in 1882. A new exhibition in Dublin focuses on his somewhat surprising interest in St Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan tradition.
Groundhog Day Gallimaufry: A Word Scramble
February 2nd is also the beautifully named Candlemas, the Christian festival that commemorates the presentation of Christ in the Temple. In Pennsylvania this is traditionally celebrated as Groundhog Day, when the behaviour of a groundhog emerging from its burrow is supposed to predict either the coming end or the continuation of winter. Here’s a puzzle based around that event and the film it inspired.