Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois and Penn State have discovered that texting may influence tweens to use poor grammar in everyday writing. The word count limit on most mobile phones restricts the use of proper spelling and grammar, leading users to type shortcuts, acronyms and remove “non-essential” words.
The study involved testing tweens on their grammar. This was based on a standard ninth grade grammar test. The researchers then asked the tweens to complete a questionnaire about their texting habits, which included questions about their opinions on texting, and how frequently they text.
The researchers concluded that tweens who tended to adapt and shorten words and phrases via text scored lower on the tests than the tweens who did not.
“There is no question that technology is allowing more self-expression, as well as different forms of expression. Cultures built around new technology can also lead to compromises of expression and these restrictions can become the norm,” said S. Shyam Sundar, a co-author of the research paper.
The entire study can be found at the website of journal New Media and Society.
Two German businessmen have launched a new hotline service for angry people to vent their frustrations. Schimpf-los, (Swear Away) has operators available seven days a week to listen to people scream and swear – and they’ll even give as good as they get, provoking customers into getting all their rage out.
“We don’t judge people who are angry,” said Ralf Schulte, who set up the hotline with his business partner Alexander Brandenburger. ”It happens. It’s natural. With us you can blow off steam no strings attached,” he told Reuters.
The entrepreneurs found inspiration to set up the hotline from their own busy lives. Shulte and Brandenburger feel that they are providing a service which gives people an outlet for getting their anger out, without taking out frustrations on their loved ones and people around them.
I think I’d find it much more satisfying to let the actual person who’d angered me hear it, but can also see the benefits of a hotline like this… I feel sorry for the poor operators though!
You may be familiar with cut and paste kings Cassetteboy. I discovered their latest creation today, and it’s just too good not to share with you. The victim of this video is London mayor Boris Johnson.
On their YouTube page, Cassetteboy introduce the compilation of Borisism’s particularly well.
“Fluff-headed loon Boris Johnson welcomes the world to the London Olympics.”
Watch here before it gets taken down!
Dictionary publishers Collins are inviting the public to submit suggestions for inclusion in the dictionary for the first time.
The word selection process is usually closed, and Collins hope that including everyone in the process will make the way the language is recorded more democratic. All submissions will by reviewed by Collins dictionary editors, and approved words will be included in the online edition of the dictionary with the submitter’s name credit published underneath.
Words must prove themselves worthy of inclusion, as the editors look for objective evidence to decide which words deserve to be included, using a 4.5-billion-word database of language called the Collins Corpus. The words in the Corpus are taken from a range of sources of spoken and written English, including newspapers, radio and social media. The more widely used the word, the more chance it has of being published in the dictionary.
Words submitted so far include amazeballs and photobombing. I think we can do better than that! To submit your word and be in with a chance of winning a prize, click here. Let us know in the comments section which word you think should be included!
A team of Ukrainian students have designed a pair of gloves which are capable of converting sign language into speech. The battery operated gloves contain a complex system of 15 sensors which translate hand gestures, using a smartphone app via bluetooth technology, into soundwaves. They then utilise Microsoft Speech and Bing API to translate the soundwaves into speech.
The creation, which is called Enable Talk, recently won first prize in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, a technology design competition open to students all over the world. The team of four students; Valery Yasakov, Anton Pasternikov, Anton Stepanov, and Maxim Osika from Computer Academy Step in Donetsk, who call themselves Quadsquad; won the prize for best software design.
The prize money is equal to £16,500, and is more than half of what the team need to start pre-production on the line of gloves, which are currently in the prototype stages.
Quadsquad team member Maxim Osika said:
“We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else.”
The US team have been busy making a series of videos ahead of the upcoming Games. The first two concentrate on the Americans trying their hands at a little Cockney rhyming slang. The first phrase they learned is: “If you win a medal, you can go chicken oriental.” Chicken oriental is slang for “mental” or crazy, and isn’t used widely in London! The second video shows the athletes working on saying “Now I’ll stick on the Hansel and Gretel, and make us a nice cup of Rosie Lee.“ The only rhyming slang we use here is Rosie Lee (tea).
Although none of the team have the accent correct at all, it’s nice to see them have a laugh with it and have fun! The videos are a very nice gesture, although I don’t think they’ll need to use either of these phrases whilst here in London!
You can see their channel, ThankYouBritain, on YouTube. More videos will be uploaded as it gets closer to the start of the Games.
Like history? Love languages? You may be interested in the Polish historical equivalent to Monopoly.
Kolejka (Queue) has been dubbed “the world’s more boring board game,” as it involves collecting items on your shopping list, mirroring the experiences of queuing for rations in Communist eras and during and after the War. Although it was initially launched in Polish, a multi language version has just been released. You can now play in English, German, Japanese, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. There are rules in each language available to download here.
The games maker’s have stated that they want to show young people how life was like under Communist rule. Karol Madaj, the creator of the game, says that it is best played with people of various generations, as it evokes memories from older people who can then recall and teach younger generations of their experiences.
There is a download, print and play version of the game available at the Institute of National Remembrance’s website.
The Language Show Live will be exhibiting again this year at the Olympia in Kensington. The show, which runs from Friday 19 – Sunday 21 October, is free to enter, but you must register your attendance first to obtain tickets.
This year’s show will feature a new addition to the line up – an interactive language technology area where you will be able to try new software and apps. Also new for this year is the inclusion of a Cultural Arena where you can learn and experience different cultures with workshops and performances. A full schedule for this is still to be announced.
There will be free half hour long taster lessons for some languages; these will be free to attend, but tickets will be issued on the day on a first come first served basis!
You can register to attend here.
This week I’ve learned a new trick to help with spelling and memorising whole sentences in Spanish. This will work with whichever language you’re learning, obviously you don’t have to be learning the same language as me to use it!
Write down a sentence you want to learn, maybe a line from a book you’re reading, and put it somewhere away from where you’re working. Pin it on the back of the front door, for example. (Probably best not on the fridge!) Read it over a couple of times and memorise it.
Then go back to where you were working and write it down. Compare it to the original version. If it’s not right, you’ll have to do it again. Trust me, a couple of times of walking back and forth is more than enough motivation to try your best!
This little trick not only fine tunes your spelling but is also a memory improvement technique. Good times all round!