Tag Archives: English language

Are you a geek?

A friend of mine identifies as a geek; he even worked for the Geek Squad for a while. But some seem the term as derogatory – particularly if going by dictionary definitions. Google’s dictionary defines a geek as “an unfashionable or socially inept person” with a secondary meaning of “a person with an eccentric devotion […]


Language of the future

What language will people speak in the future? That’s the subject of a chapter from new book “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English” by Farrar, Straus and Girous, extracted at Salon.com. English currently continues to dominate as the lingua franca of business and popular culture and it’s widely used in other industries. It’s […]


Language lessons at the Laundromat

A multimedia artist in New York City is planning to teach English – at a Laundromat. Hector Canonge will teach two one-hour English classes a week, as part of his public art project, The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute. What was the inspiration behind the project? “There are a lot of newcomers [to the United States] […]


Um, I think this will be er, useful

An article on Slate.com comes out in praise of ‘verbal stumbles’ – the “uhs”, “ums” and “ers” we all use to fill in gaps in our speech. Apparently there is an organisation called Toastmasters International who charge every time one of these fillers is used. And conventional wisdom says using fillers rather than staying silent […]


Portmanteaus

A portmanteau is a blend of two or more words into one – Chinglish for example. Arnold Zwicky’s blog has a list of some portmanteau words from the last year and a half: 1. jeggings 2. Gleek (“a portmanteau that won the American Dialect Society competition for 2010 Word of the Year in the (new) […]


A history of English in 10 minutes!

It may not sound possible, but the history of English has been encapsulated in 10 short videos totalling 10 minutes. Created by The Open University, the videos span time from Anglo-Saxon English to modern-day Global English. The entire collection of videos is linked here. I particularly like the illustrations used in The Age of the […]


Events that have shaped the English language

My last post explored some ideas about the future of the English language. Now it’s time to look to the past – a new project aims to find 100 events that shaped the English language. The English Project, a charity dedicated to promoting the language, has started to compile a list of important events that […]


Words shaping the English language

An interesting blog post at the Washington Post looks at the five words shaping our future. Jonathon Keats proposes that “words occasionally anticipate the reality they come to reflect”, particularly now in our technological society. The words he thinks we will be using more in the future are mostly combinations of other words, for example […]