Category: Time and Space

Stereotyping Africa

15 Reasons Why… Why Your Image of Africa is Wrong How to Write About Africa Class Activity: Preconceptions Before you read the text Christmas in the Kalahari, ask yourself and each other the following questions. Then ask, how does the text throw light on the ethnocentrism and preconceptions […]

The Future of English

Approximately 350 million people speak English as a first or native language. Another 400 million (estimates vary from this number to a billion!) more people have English as a strong second language or other language. English is the language of over half of the internet. English circulates through […]

Transforming Technologies

“As far as I know, I am not dyslexic, mentally lazy, or illiterate. But I text.” David Crystal, The Gr8 Db8 Linguistic Economy can be defined as being economical with words/characters/phonemes. It basically means that you can convey meaning using fewer words, so why not do it?! Linguistic economy has become […]

The Birth and Death of Languages

“Every language is a temple in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.” Oliver Wendell Holmes An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. In 1992 a prominent US linguist stunned […]

Proper English?

“Language changes over time, but some changes are made in ignorance and are incorrect.” (Jokingly) Attributed to The Queen From the first time we step into an English class, we’re told that the rules matter, that they must be followed, that we must know when it’s appropriate to […]

Varieties of English

“A language is a dialect with an army and navy” Aphorism, unknown (first published by Max Weinreich) The previous two sections have dealt mostly with English spreading and changing over time. Now we will explore how changes of space, place and regional variations have created amazing linguistic diversity […]

The Spread of English

Of all the languages in the world, why has English become the world’s lingua franca? Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase ‘global village’ in the 1960s to refer to the way people were reaching out to connect with one another – but he could not have known at the time […]