Archive for December, 2012

Alternative Words of 2012

Posted on December 29th, 2012 by Jake in Uncategorized | No Comments »

At the end of every year, newspapers look back at the words that were either coined or gained prominence during the year and compile a ‘words of the year’ list. These lists are usually a fascinating exercise in recalling thrilling achievements and recording historical events.  This year the words ‘YOLO’ and ‘Gangnam style’ appeared on most of these lists. This either means we achieved very little this year or the people that write these lists are actually reporters for tabloid magazines. Luckily Charlie Brooker has offered up his own version of a ‘words of 2012′ list, coining words at a rate that Shakespeare and Dante would be envious of. Below are a few of my favourites:

Chadult Movies (chah-dult moo-veez) noun. Big-budget motion pictures featuring children’s characters and infantile themes that are nevertheless popular with adults on account of either their quasi-ironic appeal (Marvel Avengers) or dark and pretentious stylings (The Dark Knight Rises).

Freedom of Screech (freedumb ov screech) noun. The democratic right of any internet user to say whatever they like, as obnoxiously as they possibly can, to absolutely anyone at any time, without the slightest reproach or recrimination.

Yoloneliness (yolo-nl-ee-ness) noun. 1. The powerful sense of isolation a bewildered 21st century idiot attempts to stave off by bragging about his or her witless exploits on social networks, accompanying each boast with a modish hashtag. 2. Angst experienced after losing all of one’s friends following a protracted bout of online braggadocio, often enhanced by the grim, slowly-dawning realisation that the maxim “you only live once” works equally well as a warning against such hubristic carelessness, so maybe you should’ve frigging well heeded it eh #yolo.

This year I much prefer Charlie’s word list.

[via: The Guardian]

Hungarian In Ukraine

Posted on December 22nd, 2012 by Jake in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Vynohradivsky district in the Zakarpattia region of Ukraine has granted the Hungarian language, regional language status.

Two Hungarian parties – the Party of Hungarians of Ukraine and the Democratic Party of Hungarians of Ukraine – initiated the consideration of the issue. Only one deputy voted against the proposal. Members of the Yedyny Tsentr Party, which earlier opposed the language law, unanimously supported the draft instruction.

In Ukraine if over 10% of the population speak a different language it can apply to be an official regional language. As Hungarian has now been made a regional language in the Vynohradivsky district, street signs in the region will now be translated into Hungarian. Russian is classed as a regional language in many parts of Ukraine with Moldovan being declared a regional language in Tarasivtsi in the Chernivtsi region and Romanian in the Village of Bila Tserkva.

With the constant bickering in the U.K. press about scrapping translation services because ‘everyone should know English’, it is nice to see that Ukraine has such a progressive and inclusive policy when it comes to accommodating different languages.

[via: Kyiv Post]

The Languages of Britain

Posted on December 14th, 2012 by Jake in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Although the British census can be irritating and newspaper scare stories are rife around the time you have to fill one in, when the statistics hit the headlines, everyone is interested. The latest census tells us that there are more atheists in Britain than ever before, around a quarter of the population ticking the ‘no religion’ box. British people have fallen out of love with marriage and 44 out of 5 Brits view themselves as being in good health. From the perspective of language it is interesting to note that almost one in 8 people living in Britain were not born in Britain.

India accounts for the largest foreign-born population, overtaking Ireland, followed by Poland with an increase of 500,000 people coming to England and Wales in the last decade, spurred by its accession to the European Union in 2004. About half of the foreign-born residents arrived between 2001 and 2011.

The largest increase in the foreign-born population was in London, where more than a third of residents were born abroad – almost a quarter were not British nationals.

With so many people in Britain not being British nationals, this is having an effect on the languages being spoken within Britain today.

The status of English as the main language is also changing – 1.2m households now include no adults for whom English is their main language. The census found 31,000 households in Birmingham and more than 21,000 each in Manchester and Leicester had no one resident for whom English was the main language.

With so many languages within the melting pot of Britain it’s likely that language skills will become even more important in the future.

[via: The Guardian]

Very Unique

Posted on December 7th, 2012 by Jake in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The English language is forever changing but are all of these changes for the better? In a blog for Independent Voices ,Viv Groskop highlights some absurd additions to the English language with the help of David Foster Wallace. Some words critiqued within the article are merely in the line of fire for their aesthetic value. Pulchritude is disliked for being paradoxical, in that it means beauty but is in fact a rather hideous looking word. Other words are lambasted because of the company they keep. For example unique:

already means one-of-a-kind. So the… phrase ‘very unique’ is at best redundant and at worst stupid, like ‘audible to the ear’ or ‘rectangular in shape’”.

The media is often to blame for redundant or mutated language. I remember a linguistics teacher of mine complaining because the media frequently uses the word impacted. Although the word is in the dictionary it’s correct usage (according to my linguistics teacher anyhow) relates to teeth. If not in this context impact as a verb, though not incorrect, can disrupt the flow of a sentence (and rile certain linguistics teachers).

[via: The Independent]