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The American Heritage® Dictionary Blog — The Language of Love. Explicit cookie consent. PLENTY of people think the English language is going to hell in a handcart.

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Many would even point to Johnson’s casual use of “hell” as proof; Christian swear words once packed a mighty punch, but now belong to the mild tier. Damn is fit for prime-time television, and though God damn is still too strong for American ears, “good God, Lemon!” Sound-familiar_823813. "Mother,” asks 10-year-old Johnny upon returning from school, “do I have a cliché on my face?”


Orin Hargraves “A cliché on your face? Whatever do you mean, Johnny?” Top 10 Happiest Languages. Human language is biased toward being happy, finds a new study that identifies 10 of the world’s most upbeat languages.

Top 10 Happiest Languages

The study, published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports the Pollyanna Hypothesis, which holds that there is a universal human tendency to use positive words more frequently than negative ones. Nevertheless, the findings determined that some languages tend to skew happier than others. Lead author Peter Sheridan Dodds of the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab and his team found the top 100,000 of the most frequently used words across 10 languages. The researchers then asked native speakers of the various languages to rate whether the words were “happy” or “sad” on a 1–9 scale. How the visual language of comics could have its roots in the ice age. Neil Cohn's love of comic strips began in his family's attic.

How the visual language of comics could have its roots in the ice age

Geordie, Brummie or Scouse: What are Britain's best accents? Darth Vader issued a warning to the young people of Bristol last week.

Geordie, Brummie or Scouse: What are Britain's best accents?

Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A textual analysis of Suzanne Collins’ novels, and Twilight and Harry Potter too. Photo by Murray Close/Lionsgate, Inc.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A textual analysis of Suzanne Collins’ novels, and Twilight and Harry Potter too.

This weekend, millions of preteens will flock to theaters to take in the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, just as millions of preteens flocked to each of the five Twilight movies. For the most part, however, these will not be the same people. Of the tens of millions who identify themselves on Facebook as fans of either of the two series, less than 20 percent are fans of both. Though both series are set in fantasy worlds and feature female leads, readers and moviegoers seem to ally themselves with either Team Stephenie or Team Suzanne, but not both. Is it wrong to jokily call someone 'mental'? 26 September 2013Last updated at 08:09 ET Magazine Monitor A collection of cultural artefacts Asda has apologised for selling a "mental patient fancy dress costume" but is the term mental - regularly used in a jokey fashion - offensive, asks Damon Rose of BBC Ouch.

Is it wrong to jokily call someone 'mental'?

"The crowd went mental", "don't mind me, I'm just mental", "she looks mental in that hat". Does Geography Influence How a Language Sounds? Languages spoken at high altitudes are more likely to contain a certain kind of sound made using short bursts of air, according to a new study.

Does Geography Influence How a Language Sounds?

The study, published online June 12 in the journal PLoS ONE, is the first to show that geography can influence how a language sounds. EastEnders turning Glaswegians Cockney says TV study. 9 September 2013Last updated at 19:08 ET Researchers looking at how television viewing can lead to accent changes have claimed Glaswegian fans of EastEnders are picking up Cockney dialect.

EastEnders turning Glaswegians Cockney says TV study

Linguists at Glasgow University said the study proved that actively watching TV could speed up language change. They said pronunciation, typically associated with London English, was being increasingly used by Glaswegians who regularly watched the soap. Their findings have been published in the American journal, Language. More than one in 5 Britons alter natural accent. Language and words in the news – 22nd February. This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news.

Language and words in the news – 22nd February

These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include, or just add a comment to the post, with the link(s) you’d like to share. Global English English teenagers ‘worst in Europe’ at languages British teenagers are trapped in a “vicious circle of monolingualism”, a report warned yesterday as figures showed English youngsters are among the worst in Europe at foreign languages.

8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks. Grinches, green eggs, and drawings of fantastic beasts: the language of Dr Seuss. This week it’s the birthday of Dr Seuss, the pen-name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. An American writer of hugely successful books for children, he was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1904. And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street (1937) introduced his iconic visual and verbal style, which was further extended in the ‘Beginner Book’ series, of which The Cat in the Hat (1957) was the first book.

Legend has it that Dr Seuss wrote the best-selling Green Eggs and Ham (1960) on a bet that he could not write a children’s book using only 50 different words. Perhaps paradoxically, his wild, fluid ‘nonsense’ rhymes and surreal cartoon-drawings are designed to help children learn the discipline of reading. Dr Seuss gets a few mentions in the Oxford English Dictionary, notably in the etymology for Grinch, meaning ‘a spoilsport or killjoy; (more generally) an ill-tempered, unpleasant person’, from his 1957 book The Grinch that Stole Christmas. Don't get your Alans in a twist. Among the hundreds of languages and dialects spoken in east London, there is one that should have a preservation order slapped on it.

Spoken by a small and dwindling minority, surely it must be eligible for some kind of EU funding to ensure its longevity and survival. I refer of course to Cockney Rhyming Slang. Originating in the East End in the mid-19th century and used primarily by stallholders, costermongers and the criminal classes, its usage spread throughout east London in the 20th century, giving the cockney dialect a unique richness, colour and playfulness; a linguistic tool bringing everyday speech to life. Language tip of the week: tell. In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English which learners often find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc. This week some advice about the verb tell: Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

Downton Soup: The Words of Downton Abbey, Season 3. If you’re like us, you’ve been closely following the trials and tribulations of the Granthams and those who serve them. Like last season, Ben Zimmer and Ben Schmidt have been busy catching the anachronisms. Zimmer recently noticed a doozy – steep learning curve – while Schmidt found such out-of-place terms as ritual humiliation and shenanigans. We’ve also been collecting words and phrases from the show, some perfectly ordinary, others more unusual, and all with interesting stories about how they came to be. Spoilers may follow. UPDATE: Two terms from the season finale have been included. R u tryin to b formal? Kentucky 'kicks ass': Taking pride in plain speaking. 4 February 2013Last updated at 19:16 ET By Jon Kelly BBC News Magazine, Washington DC. Keith Chen: language that forecasts weather — and behavior.

Letters of Note. The pun conundrum. 16 January 2013Last updated at 04:26 ET. Kapow! The language of comics. Same love; different lyrics. Lauren Laverne: ‘When it comes to expletives, context is everything’ To-help-language-skills-of-children-a-study-finds-text-their-parents-with-tips.html?hpw&rref=education&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT. Photo With research showing language gaps between the children of affluent parents and those from low-income families emerging at an early age, educators have puzzled over how best to reach parents and guide them to do things like read to their children and talk to them regularly. A new study shows that mobile technology may offer a cheap and effective solution.

The research, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research this month, found that preschoolers whose parents received text messages with brief tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.