Political correctness. The Language Web - Aitchison. Stephen Fry on 'outgrowing that silly approach to language' Because I say so! Macmillan Dictionary on Prescriptivism. Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English. There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation.
But bit by bit British English is invading America too. "Spot on - it's just ludicrous! " snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley. "You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on. Will do - I hear that from Americans. And don't get him started on the chattering classes - its overtones of a distinctly British class system make him quiver. But not everyone shares his revulsion at the drip, drip, drip of Britishisms - to use an American term - crossing the Atlantic. "I enjoy seeing them," says Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware, and author of the forthcoming book, How to Not Write Bad. "It's like a birdwatcher.
Last year Yagoda set up a blog dedicated to spotting the use of British terms in American English. Political correctness. Chavs, sluts and the war of words. Like an expedition to the source of the Nile, any attempt to find the origins of a word runs aground when the trail vanishes into a realm without tangible records: oral culture.
As Baroness Hussein-Ece – she who was "trapped in a queue in chav-land" – will tell you, Twitter is oral culture but with records. But words have power beyond their mere meaning. They still bear the hallmarks of the Garden of Eden, in which the language spoken by Adam contained the essence of the thing it described, and so controlled it. The meaning of "chav" has been hotly contested (Polly Toynbee's piece received 1,152 comments), being deemed variously to refer to class, financial acuity, behavioural traits, lifestyle, sartorial choices, debt and housing. But another debate also raged, over the word's origin. This is chicken and egg time. Chav seems to have come about severally and spontaneously in response to a need. But what about old words? Pete Langman blogs at www.petelangman.wordpress.com.
ENGB1 Gender. Learn English online: How the internet is changing language. Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world.
In the process, the language itself is changing. When America emerged from the ashes of a bruising war with Britain in 1814, the nation was far from united. Noah Webster thought that a common language would bring people together and help create a new identity that would make the country truly independent of the British. Webster's dictionary, now in its 11th edition, adopted the Americanised spellings familiar today - er instead of re in theatre, dropping the u from colour, and losing the double l from words such as traveller. It also documented new words that were uniquely American such as skunk, opossum, hickory, squash and chowder.
An American Dictionary of the English Language took 18 years to complete and Webster learned 26 other languages in order to research the etymology of its 70,000 entries. The internet is creating a similar language evolution, but at a much faster pace. Take Hinglish. Is good grammar still important? Charlie Higson, comedian and author Language is a uniquely human attribute, one of the things that makes us what we are.
Apostrophe now: Bad grammar and the people who hate it. 13 May 2013Last updated at 04:58 ET By Tom de Castella BBC News Magazine Children are again to be subject to a rigorous examination in grammar.
But why does it make adults so cross when other adults break the rules? A new grammar and spelling test arrives in primary schools in England this week. It is the first time in a while that such emphasis has been put on grammar. Some of the questions will seem straightforward for many adults, such as where to place a comma or a colon in a sentence. Grammar is not just an educational issue. The research arm of dating site OKCupid looked at 500,000 first contacts and concluded that "netspeak, bad grammar and bad spelling are huge turn-offs". On the other hand, correct use of apostrophes was appealing. Twist Phelan, an American writer who went on 100 online dates in 100 days and later married someone she met online, says grammar is a vital "filter system".
Continue reading the main story. Why Slang Is Good For You. Today's program puts special attention on language and identity — how they coincide and why those intersections matter.
Michael Adams is an associate Professor of English at Indiana University who studies one important intersection of language and identity: slang. He says slang keeps us sharp — and that there is creative value in the creation of new language among different social groups. "It's not just slang, but any language that's significantly different from what we expect exercises the brain and engages us," Adams says. "We've got lots of room in language to be creative, to twist a word around a little bit, or the form of a sentence around a little bit to be clever. " "We are engaged when we're using slang. Discourses and debates. A very concise dictionary of student slang. Armstrong and Miller - Pilot has Lost his Leg.