Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Use Your Words!: Language Usage Yesterday & Today

Language will never stop changing; it will continue to respond to the needs of the people who use it. So the next time you hear a new phrase that grates on your ears, remember that, like everything else in nature, the English language is a work in progress.
~Betty Birner, "Is English Changing?" from The Linguistic Society of America 

Language changes over time. The popularity of words, especially slang or words related to technology or trends, ebbs and flows. Some long-forgotten words, however, are worth resurrecting.
~from Grammarly, "Neat-O! Vintage Slang Words to Add to Your Modern Vocabulary

Language!  It's a useful tool, and sometimes a weapon, so it's good to know how to wield it properly. What better way to get to know your mother tongue than to study its history and usage?  Here are a smattering of recent items from the library catalog, mostly about English, to pique your interest in the history and usage of language.  You might be surprised by the twists and turns language has taken over time!

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon

Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War by Martin Pegler

How to Speak Brit: The Quintessential Guide to the King's English, Cockney Slang, and Other Flummoxing British Phrases by Christopher J. Moore 

Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr

Madre: Perilous Journeys With a Spanish Noun by Liza Bakewell

That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, And What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris  

Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives by Arthur Plotnik

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English by Henry Hitchings

Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time by Mignon Fogarty

Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language For Fun and Spite by June Casagrande

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage [DVD]

Looking for vocabulary and writing help, word games, and more?  Try our Brainfuse eResource - free access with your valid library card!

Fun Wordy Links

Grammarly Blog

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips



Free Rice

Vocabulary Games from PBS Kids

Word Games and Quizzes from Merriam-Webster

TED Talk Playlist: How language changes over time

The Truth About Language Change [PBS]

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