language and words in the news

Language and words in the news – 25 December, 2009

© Volodymyr Vasylkiv / Fotolia.comThis 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

China: New form of English emerging.
The authors say there are now more Chinese people learning English than there are Americans. But they are learning a ‘domesticated’ form of the language with English words that have been adopted for social and identity purposes.

Language change and slang

Assessing the value of dying languages.
Here are some of the best amateur and professional contributions from this highly-charged debate, which has recently ranged from the pages of The New York Times to the blogosphere.

Thunder and enlightening: How language is a process of natural selection.
‘More important, it was the first accusation of thunder-stealing ever hurled at anyone, except perhaps a Greek god. Dennis, it turned out, had by a fluke carved out his small place in history.’

The order of ancestors.
This evidence suggests that for the colloquial forms, “grandma and grandpa” is indeed strongly preferred over “grandpa and grandma”.

Twitter: The ‘it’ word of the year

Improve your English

More trouble with ‘only’.
“One of the only” is colloquial, vague and illogical. Better to say “one of the few,” or to use a specific number …

Books, words, science and the history of language

To boldly grow – The Lexicographer’s Dilemma.
If you want to provoke a really scorching exchange of views, then make a claim about the proper usage of English. Better still, commit what most people would consider a grammatical mistake.

Jiggers: Here comes the dictionary!
Its climactic scene is not a chase or a shootout, but rather a tense, suspenseful session of dictionary reading.

10 signs that you might be an idiot – The Sarcasmist.

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Jonathan Cole


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