Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Evolution of Language: Thanks to Social Media

We live in a time of change and this is even apparent in the way the English language has evolved in the last few years.

Thanks to the use of social media, such as texting, the Internet and various sites, especially Twitter, the English language has taken a life of its own.

The power of pop culture

Pop culture has certainly changed the verbal landscape, with slang words in conversation or in songs that have become more mainstream. We have abbreviated words like LOL (laugh out loud) or LMAO (laughing my ass off) that have become acceptable not only in texting but also emails and even in conversations.

Television has also helped disseminate the use of many words and phrases that were unheard of in the last few decades. People now have come up with new words to describe how they feel, what they do and things they want.

The more extensive or popular the use of new words, the more acceptable they become. This is even if it isn’t a real word to begin with, but something that has been unusually conjugated or simply invented.

Friday, July 27, 2012

SUMMER OLYMPICS 2012: A Multilingual World Unites In London

London Olympics 2012 Official Logo

It is that time of the year again when the whole world becomes alive as everybody gives way to the Summer Olympics, which is currently being held in London. Participants from all over the world are all geared up, ready to make their country proud as the grand opening ceremony, which is called the “Isle of Wonder,” has now been officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Cultural Awareness
The Flame arrives at City Hall
Amber Charles stands underneath the giant Olympic Rings on the edge of the River Thames outside
City Hall during Day 70 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

With 204 countries competing, the Olympic Games can certainly increase and heighten everyone’s awareness regarding their respective cultures. After all, nobody thinks about their culture not until you find someone to compare it to. That is why these seasonable games are special. It can make us proud of who we are, where we come from, and what we can offer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Understanding the Language of Feng Shui

Yin Yang. Bagua. Chi. Geomancer.

These are just some of the words and things that arise when talking about feng shui. Even animals may be mentioned, such as tigers and dragons. Listening to some of the words being tossed around when talking about feng shui may seem bewildering or rather strange for some people, but for those who believe in the practice, it all makes sense.
Zentao symbol as evolution of the Tao (Yin Yang) and the Five Elements of Feng Shui
There are many things that have come out of ancient China, but one of the concepts that have taken hold of the western world is the ancient art of feng shui. This practice dates back to more than three thousand years and is as widely practiced today in China as it was in ancient times. In fact, today, feng shui has spread to various parts of the world so that the desire to balance a person’s surroundings has become a goal even for those belonging to other cultures. After all, the desire for happiness, wealth, good health, love, long life and prosperity are universal goals.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Giving Expressive English Words a Second Chance

At the beginning of each year, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) publishes its Banished Words List consisting of English words as well as phrases that have been deemed overused and abused and thus need to be banished from the current consciousness. LSSU began this Banished Words List in 1976 and it continues to this day. For the 2012 edition, some of the words that made it to the notorious list are amazing (which made the top of the list), baby bump, ginormous, man cave and occupy.

On the flip side, another American university has, this time, come to the defense of some English language words. Theirs is a list of words not for banishment but for revival. Wayne State University has come up with its own word list consisting of words that they believe should be once again, part of the communication process. Instead of banishing words to oblivion, WSU is all for reviving English language words and giving these words the chance to prove their worth and reason for being. A group within WSU called Word Warriors has made it their calling to give deserving words a chance for glory once again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Differences Between British English and American English

This year’s summer Olympics will be held in London so the British capital is sure to be flooded with tourists from all over the world who want to get a first hand look at the event.

One of the things that many visitors to London may notice, especially those coming from America, is that although English is spoken in the city, it may not necessarily sound familiar to other people. Other than the thick British accent that takes some time getting accustomed to, there are actually some words and phrases used in Britain that mean something entirely different in America.

British English and American English
In forms of writing, the two versions of English are quite similar. George Bernard Shaw once commented that Britain and America are “two countries divided by a common language”.

The formal English that we often see in newspapers is referred to as Standard English. Although both British and Americans speak English, there are many differences between the two languages, that sometimes, it may seem like an entirely different language is spoken.

British English refers to the form of English that is spoken in the United Kingdom, including all the English dialects in the country. It is also called “the Queen’s English,” as well as “Oxford English” or “BBC English”.

On the other hand, American English is the form of English that is spoken in the US. It was the British that introduced the English language to America, but the language has evolved into its own version in the United States.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Orangemen’s Day – Celebrating the Battle of the Boyne Day of Ireland

Though one of the most famous holidays in Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day, one of the most historically significant is Orangemen’s Day, which is commemorated on the 12th of July. Orangemen’s Day is celebrated in Northern Ireland each year to remember the glorious victory in the Battle of Boyne. 
King William III at the Battle of the Boyne, 1 July 1690

Brief history

The Battle of the Boyne dates back to the 17th century. On July 1, 1690, the Catholic King James fought against the Protestant King William across the River Boyne. This is located near Drogheda at Ireland’s eastern coast.

William won the battle, resulting in the Protestant rule in Ireland as well as in England. This is one of the most significant and most well-known battles in British-Irish history.

Outwardly, some say that it is a battle with its roots in religion since it was waged between two kings who belonged to two different churches. However, others see it as a sectarian and ethnic conflict.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Borboryg-what?! Little Known Words and More

Have you ever been embarrassed by borborygmus? Chances are you have at least once in your lifetime. But a borborygmus is nothing to be red-faced about. Everyone experiences a borborygmus. It is part of being human. Even animals can experience it. What is a borborygmus? It is the sound you hear coming from your abdomen caused by gas. Sometimes, a borborygmus can be so loud that it causes embarrassment. There's no need to use a stethoscope to hear these rumbling and gurgling sounds. Winnie the Pooh knows how to best describe borborygmi (plural of borborygmus). When he is hungry, he would often say, "There's a rumbly in my tumbly."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July – Happy Birthday, America!

Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square, Philadelphia
a depiction of the celebrations of July 4th 1819, by John Lewis Krimmel)
The Fourth of July is a national holiday in the United States of America, annually observed to commemorate a very important occasion, the claiming of the country’s independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. With the inception of democracy across the nation, the Fourth of July later became popularly known as the birthday of America. It has since become a tradition to mark this celebration with pompous events such as parades, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, athletic games, reunions and most of all, grandiose fireworks displays in many public areas in every state.