In the news … (Aug 12)

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Spot the spelling mistake in this Gap ad …

TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky. And it’s been a while, so we have a number of lingo and language news items from the last few weeks to share today. But before we go any further, can you spot the rather awkward spelling mistake in the Gap ad above? The first person to identify it in the comments section below gets serious Glosso respect. Meanwhile, in the news this month: how commentators in Rio are being accused of turning nouns into verbs; an analysis of the monstrous period at the end of texts; is the word “bitch” still that offensive?; Latin abbreviations removed from a government’s web sites; a task-force cleaning up menu translations in South Korea; and a teacher’s fears about kids’ creativity being crushed by punctuation police. 

“Social media users, many from Great Britain, are having a fit over the habit of Olympic commentators to use nouns in place of proper verbs. They take particular exception with the improper use of ‘medal’.” A Tweet from Charlie Thomas captures the flavor of the Huffington Post story: “‘It appears that “final” is the latest #neologism verb at #Rio2016. Clearly “medalling” is old hat, people are now expected to final.'”

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“Linguistics Explains Why Ending a Text With a Period Makes You Seem Like a Monster. If you must, do it with the knowledge that you’re likely coming off as angry and insincere, a perception long held by most of your fellow texters and finally backed up by research earlier this year.” New York magazine has the story.

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“Donald Trump fans have been condemned for calling her one, while some of her supporters have urged her to be more of one. So why is Hillary Clinton so often associated with the word “bitch” – and how offensive is it? … Some experts argue the taboo around the word has changed.” Has it? BBC News magazine helps answer that question.

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In Great Britain, according to the Daily Mail, “common Latin abbreviations will be removed from all government websites, in a move to help non-English speakers. Terms including eg, ie and etc will no longer appear on Gov.UK sites, as there are ‘better, clearer ways’ of communicating the same meanings, while also helping those who ‘didn’t grow up speaking English’.”

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“South Korea has set up a government task force aimed at ridding menus of confusing or embarrassing translations of Korean dishes. Officials from two ministries will team up with language and food experts in order to agree on standardised descriptions for the country’s cuisine in English, Chinese and Japanese.” The BBC’s “News from elsewhere” picked up this story from the Korea Times.

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“Children should be dreaming up quirky characters and gripping cliffhangers. Instead they are worrying about semi-colons and the passive voice.” In its series of blogs by an anonymous insider lifting the lid on teaching, The Guardian‘s “Secret Teacher” describes how “my pupils’ creativity is being crushed by the punctuation police.”

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