language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 1 January, 2010

© Olga Altunina / FotoliaThis post contains a weekly 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 and language change. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include.

Global English

In German, Beamer does not mean car.
I was also astounded to hear that the Germans have taken to using the English word “sorry”. I even heard one person say “Sorry Verzeihung” (or “Sorry sorry”).

Language change and slang

This is English, rules are optional.
He takes us back to a time, half a millennium ago, when the very concept that there was a right and a wrong way to speak and spell things did not exist.

What’s in a number?
‘It depends on who you’re around,’ he added. ‘If you’re around people who say, ‘twenty-ten, you’ll say that.’

Social Media influencing the English language.
Slashdot effect – noun: the slowing down or crashing of a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.

21st century’s first decade is slipping away without leaving its name.
“If you are 60 years old, saying ‘my girlfriend’ sounds stupid,” Sheidlower said.” ‘Partner’ sounds too businesslike or suggests a gay relationship. ‘Companion’ doesn’t sound romantic.

Improve your English

Five of the most commonly misspelled expressions in the English language.

Can you, at a glance, tell whether each abstract (from Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans) is from a British or an American publisher?

Common errors in English

Ever want to slap a landlord? Apparently we do.
At this time every year, we like to look back at the typographical and grammatical errors that almost made it, and some that actually  did  make it, into a few of Greater Media Newspapers’ publications during the year.

Books, words, science and the history of language

The Lexicographer’s Dilemma’.
By modern standards, Shakespeare’s spelling is a mess.

Listening to Braille.
AT 4 O’CLOCK each morning, Laura J. Sloate begins her daily reading.

336 useless facts.
The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter “uncopyrightable.” The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.”

Language Video

Texting is good for the English language – have a look at this clip from It’s Only A Theory – Episode Two Preview – BBC Four.

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Jonathan Cole

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