language and words in the news

Week in review: 26 June, 2009

© Junaid Khalid / Fotolia.comThis post contains a weekly selection of links related to English language today. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting related websites. A new weekly review post will be posted every Friday. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include.


The new City buzzword: BAB (that’s Bonuses are Back).
‘BAB stands for Bonuses are Back, and its arrival in the lexicon of the Square Mile is evidence that bankers are once again looking forward to bumper payouts, just eight months after the sector faced meltdown and governments worldwide were required to prop them up.’

Right ear is ‘better for hearing‘.
If you want to get someone to do something, ask them in their right ear, say scientists.

UK: Schools told not to teach ‘i before e except after c’ spelling rule.
New guidance from the Government says that schools should stop teaching the rule because it is irrelevant and confusing.

Dench swearing prompts complaints.
Every film in which actress Dame Judi Dench swears results in complaints, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has said in its annual report.

Andrew Sachs row triggers new BBC guidelines on taste.

Never mind whales, save the languages.
‘Australian governments began in the 1970s to back a major push that has resulted in good documentation of most of the 130 remaining Aboriginal languages, although almost all the survivors are at risk of dying off.’

EU seeking English-language linguists.
The European Commission is keen to recruit more Britons with language skills.

Blogs and columnists

Three nations divided by a common language.
The top ten most confused words with the same meaning between Americans and Brits are…

Changing the wine language.
‘Many readers of wine publications and columns may have problems understanding the language of the writers and the descriptions they use.’

If it doesn’t communicate, what practical use has a language?
‘Maori, on the other hand, has no other value than as a cultural and intellectual exercise. Like Gaelic it is a poetic language of interest but to be able to speak it fluently and mellifluously will take the speaker not one metre along the road to international discourse.’

Origins of PC abbreviation ‘Ms.’ not so feminist.
‘To call a maiden Mrs. is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss…’

The largest English-speaking country? China, of course.

Slang affixation: it’s all mystery-y-ish-y.
‘At the same time, it’s a thoughtful interrogation of what “slang” actually is, and how we might determine its boundaries.’

Funny: The best of sign language.
We select 10 of our favourite signs from our weekly Sign Language picture galleries.

This old meme resurfaces. Is it ‘fake already!’ or are there some elements of truth in it?

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