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Future in Headlinese

Funny headline on a Yahoo news story: "Ford stops using Takata air bag inflators in future vehicles". To me that says that they used to use Takata air bags in future vehicles. How did that work? I first posted this on Facebook. Christine Behme (who's German) jokingly responded that maybe it was written by a […]

It's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! The Art and Science of Mixture Descriptions

Capturing the essence of a movie is tricky work, especially when you’ve only got a few minutes to pitch your idea in front of a high-powered executive. It’s Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate! These...Show More Summary

Enniched, inurned, and entombed

Q: I beg to disagree with you about the use “inter” for ashes placed in a columbarium. Actually, the proper verb is “enniche” because “cremains” are placed in a niche. Just sayin’. A: Our “Burial Ground” post was about whether the verb “inter” could be used for remains placed in a niche in a columbarium.... ? Read More: Enniched, inurned, and entombed

A megaphone that can translate

An article by Nick Vivian in USA Today informs us: "Tokyo's airport is using this incredible megaphone to translate into three languages on the fly" (11/22/15). The person wielding the megaphone speaks into it in Japanese and the megaphone amplifies her messages in three languages, one after another:  English, Korean, and Chinese. The article includes […]

The History of Nationalized and Marginalized Languages.

I thought this AskMetaFilter question was interesting enough to repost here; I couldn’t think of relevant books offhand, and I’m sure some of my commenters can: I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language […]

Whore or horde?

Several people have written to ask whether phonetic analysis can settle a Canadian political controversy, described in a November 19 CBC News article "Sask. MP Tom Lukiwski denies callng female politician a 'whore'": Saskatchewan Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski has denied that he referred to a female politician as a "whore" — and interim party leader […]

I had forgotten how large parts of San Francisco smell like weed.

I had forgotten how large parts of San Francisco smell like weed. I had forgotten how large parts of San Francisco smell like weed. — Grant Barrett (@GrantBarrett) November 22, 2015

It's about THIS big

There are many ways we can communicate with each other. During face-to-face conversation, we use more than words to communicate meaning and emotion. For example, we can use different types of eye contact and use our hands to make a variety...Show More Summary

And we went to get some fish 'n’ chips

Fish, chips 'n' lemon We probably say and more often than any other English word, but how often do we notice that sometimes we pronounce it as and, with the full vowel, and sometimes as n, with no vowel at all? Sometimes too, we pronounce...Show More Summary

Teachers of English Language A Level and GCSE

Have you seen our workshop on Analysing Spoken Language? Why do young people say innit? (e.g. It's only an hour from Edinburgh and Newcastle, innit?) Or why do so many people use be like? (e.g. I'm like 'I was only joking'). What functions...Show More Summary

'AND' can signal that it's our turn to speak

and............ go! In sentences, words like andand but link ideas and clauses together. However, in conversation, they may be used in other ways. For example, compare the two uses of but in the speech of A below: 1) B: what did youShow More Summary

The discourse of climate change

Something must be done? or We must do something? It is government policy makers who have the most power to solve the problem of climate change, so the reports they receive about our current scientific knowledge of climate change are all-important. Show More Summary

Mars and Venus?

Do you think that men are from Mars and women from Venus? Whether we do or not, recent research shows how the way we talk about men and women in everyday life keeps the gender division alive in our culture. Elizabeth Stokoeanalysed British...Show More Summary

You know, it’s like the bomb squad, right?

Metaphors can help us to explain ideas and feelings which are difficult to express. This is particularly true in settings and contexts which are, by their very nature, emotive – such as therapy sessions between a patient and an analyst. Dennis...Show More Summary

Staying, or goin’?

or, perhaps, goingk? Why do English speakers all over the world pronounce words ending in –ing sometimes as stayin’, with a final [n], and at other times as staying, with a final [?] ? Researchers have uncovered a range of factors that influence speakers to choose one of these pronunciations rather than the other. Show More Summary

Welsh and English in Wales

No excuses for not paying! Language policy and planning initiatives devoted to the revival of the use of Welsh in Wales appear to have been successful in halting the decline of the language. In fact, census data in 2001 showed that the use of the Welsh language among speakers had increased by an impressive 1.8% in the previous decade. Show More Summary

Using metaphors to ‘bring it home’

How do you react to charity appeals? In an earlier summary (Tay 2011: ), we looked at how we can use metaphors to explain and deal with abstract concepts during therapy. Show More Summary

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