language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 10th December, 2010

This weekly 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.

Please do contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. We’d love to hear from you!

Global English

On Language: ‘Scratch Paper’ or ‘Scrap Paper’?
The linguist Bert Vaux conducted an online survey of American dialects from 2000 to 2005, and he included this question: “What do you call paper that has already been used for something or is otherwise imperfect?” More than 10,000 people responded, and the overall results were evenly split…

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Language change and slang

The subtleties of corporate English
… I’ve been very busy on a new business venture … of which I can say little, except that it involves one hecka lot of meetings. And so I’ve been more exposed than usual to business English and its peculiar phrases. These could be explained simply as cultural markers of the business tribe, but I suspect each one contains its own subtle cues and subtext; herewith my attempts to speculate on their origins and meaning.

British English vs American English

stuffing and dressing
Between (US) Thanksgiving and Christmas seems like a good time for addressing the AmE use of the word dressing versus general-English stuffing.

The Word: A whole nother language. Embrace your inner American!
… the label “Americanism” no longer embarrasses American writers. The anxiety flows in the other direction these days; it’s British readers who complain about Americanisms, British stylebooks that publish lists of American expressions to be avoided.

Language teaching and resources

The Ways We Talk
In recent years, the related fields of discourse analysis and conversation analysis have deepened our understanding of the ways in which language is used in everyday life. Research in these fields has also widened the focus of other disciplines, including rhetoric and composition studies.

Books, words, science and the history of language

First Espresso Book Machine in Continental Europe
On Demand Books, the company behind the Espresso Book Machine, continues to extend its reach. Late last month it installed its first machine in continental Europe at the American Book Center in Amsterdam. The machine is currently being tested and will be up and running and able to print books in multiple languages at the beginning of 2011.

Google Opens Doors to E-Bookstore
Google executives described the e-bookstore as an “open ecosystem” that will offer more than three million books, including hundreds of thousands for sale and millions free.


Gnomeland Security
We’ve had Gnome Chomsky …, and the puns continue with Gnomeland Security, available in several forms (posters, t-shirts, magnets) from several sources …

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Kati Sule

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