A whole nother story – by Erich Round
Words do some truly inventive things when they change, and change they always do. Some switch their sounds around, like when hros became hors, nowadays spelt with an extra e as horse. Some lose their sense of having an internal composition, like when wāl-hros ‘whale-horse’ became walrus. Some cave in to peer pressure and change their looks to conform with others, including one of my favourite cases in English, when under the influence of similarly-meaning words probably, possibly, plausibly which all end in -bly, we get supposably, which is how in some varieties of modern English you can say ‘supposedly’. One the of truly odd things that words do though, is to start stealing sounds from their neighbours.
A famous case in English is an apron, which used to be a napron, until the n got snaffled by the a. It goes the other way too. A newt was originally an ewt. Of course, in Middle English when this n-theivery was underway, there were a few more words complicit in the heist, for example my napron also became mine apron, and your napron became yourn apron, since at that stage in English, words like my/mine, your/yourn worked like a/an.
Read the whole post here
“language is not black and white; it’s not right or wrong; it’s not good or bad…language is about communication and communication is about context.”
How we speak is one of the markers of our identity and our individual dialects are what keep the English language dynamic and evolving.
Instead of making moral judgments about how someone speaks, we should simply listen and appreciate the speaker’s unique dialect as part of his or her identity.
A TEDx talk by Kory Stamper, lexicographer and author.
“English is the world’s second language. Your native language is your life. But with English you can become part of a wider conversation – a global conversation about global problems, like climate change or poverty, or hunger or disease.”
Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English.
He shares photos and spine-tingling audio of Chinese students rehearsing English – “the world’s second language” – by the thousands.
via TED – Ideas worth spreading
Trick or treat
smell my feet
give me something
good to eat!
(Better not be stingy…)
Continua a leggere Happy Halloween!
È stata pubblicata oggi l’ottava edizione dell’EF EPI (English Proficiency Index – Indice di Conoscenza dell’Inglese): si tratta del più ampio rapporto internazionale sulla conoscenza dell’inglese nel mondo, redatto annualmente da EF Education First, organizzazione internazionale specializzata in programmi di formazione linguistica ed accademica, viaggi d’istruzione e scambi culturali all’estero. Continua a leggere EF EPI 2018: la Basilicata di nuovo ultima in Italia per conoscenza della lingua inglese
“Let’s face it, it’s the language of the internet, it’s the language of finance, it’s the language of air traffic control, of popular music, diplomacy… English is everywhere!”
English is fast becoming the world’s universal language, and instant translation technology is improving every year.
So why bother learning a foreign language?
Linguist and Columbia professor John McWhorter shares four alluring benefits of learning an unfamiliar tongue.
via TED – Ideas worth spreading
Punctuation is the art of clarifying how a group of words falls together into contractions, clauses, and sentences. Unfortunately, it is not at all clear how some punctuation marks should be used! Let’s take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks. Even if you think you’ve got the topic all sewn up, it’s worth having another look.
1. Possessive apostrophes
The possessive apostrophe is a tricky one, hanging around the ends of words, but in several different ways. So how exactly should we be using it?
Let’s start simple. For a singular noun, such as dog, you add an apostrophe plus s to the end: The dog’s collar was covered in mud.
For a plural noun, such as elephants, you add an apostrophe to the end: The elephants’ parade was troubled by rain.
For a plural noun that doesn’t end with s, you add an apostrophe plus s to the end: The children’s party went on as planned.
The place it gets tricky is with personal names, such as Charles and Ulysses, which already end in an s sound. In those cases, you generally add an apostrophe plus s if you naturally pronounce an extra s when you say the word out loud: Charles’s new tie is fantastic.
If you don’t pronounce an extra s when you say the word, then leave it out: Ulysses’ presentation is set for Monday.
continue reading on OxfordWords blog