David Crystal’s Txtng: the gr8 db8

Some people theorized that texting would dilute the spelling skills of the learners or the people in general. However, a study conducted in the University of Southeastern Philippines in 2006 revealed that the knowledge of short cut spelling of commonly used words in texting has no direct significance on spelling skills.

Yours Truly,

We can be more than certain that texting has evolved since David Crystal published his book on the subject in 2009, but “imho” Txtng: The gr8 db8 still deserves much credit and attention. In this riveting study, Crystal “sets the record straight” by offering a much-needed linguistic analysis on the phenomenon.  Why do people do it? Who texts? What do people text about? These are some of the questions Crystal explores, as well as looking at the fuss and hype over texting.

To quote him: “Some people dislike texting.  Some are bemused by it.  Some love it.  I am fascinated by it, for it is the latest manifestation of the human ability to be linguistically creative and to adapt language to suit the demands of diverse settings.  In texting we are seeing, in a small way, language in evolution.”


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Can a different choice of words help fight inequality?



Back ground:

Asbaab are the ways and means to reach a goal. They are not the goal itself just the methods used to reach it.

الْأَسْبَابَ ﴿٣٦

the ways and means- 40:36

Sabab is the rope by which one climbs the date tree to get dates. This has become a part of the Arabic and urdu language and thus now describes “all the means to reach something” and is called Asbaab.

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The CELTA Trainer’s Diary Part 9 – Functions and Spoken Discourse


Among the four language systems – Lexis, Grammar, Pronunciation, and Discourse, Discourse is often the one that is most neglected on the CELTA.  Some tutors might do an input session on functional language a la the functional syllabuses on the 1970s, but that is inevitably presented as formulaic lexis and nothing more.

Yet, spoken discourse governs the things we say and how appropriate they are in different circumstances. It explores how we assign significance to utterances and make sense of conversations. Without the study of discourse, lexis, grammar and pronunciation would remain stagnant concepts for it is through discourse that the other language systems interact with each other in a dynamic and fluid manner to create meaning.

Perhaps because it is so fluid and dynamic, many teachers and teacher trainers fear it, and do not know where to start teaching it.

On my CELTA, I give my trainees a taster…

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Are social media really social?

In memoriam Neville Alexander

Terminology Blog

by Anja DrameImage

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dr. Neville Alexander today.

He was one of the leading sociolinguists of South Africa and a great inspiration for my own work as a sociolinguist.

Dr. Alexander started his career as a political activist which saw him also spending 10 years of prison on the infamous Robben Island along with Nelson Mandela. Being an intellectual he became a scientist and teacher at the University of Cape Town and a proponent of linguistic rights of the South African languages.

As a leading member of the LANGTAG group that advised the then minister Ben Ngubane on matters of language planning and thus contributed significantly in the development of the country’s innovative linguistic policy which still belongs to the most tolerant and open of the world, he became famous beyond South Africa’s borders.

His views on language…

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Schleef publishes new papers


Two papers by Erik Schleef have appeared in print this summer.

One, co-authored with Miriam Meyerhoff, is on “Variation, contact and social indexicality in the acquisition of (ing) by teenage migrants”, and has appeared in the Journal of Sociolinguistics, DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2012.00535.x.

The other is single-authored and deals with language and gender in university discourse (“Sprache und Geschlecht im universitären Diskurs”) and can be found in Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, DOI:10.1515/zgl-2012-0002.

More on Erik’s exciting research projects can be found here!

Featured image: the logo for a recent project, from which the (ing) paper is a result.

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For the love of money

Sharing the Math

Nowadays, it is not uncommon at all to meet or know someone or even several people who ‘used to have money’ or were ‘well off’ and lost all their money or had their money almost “evaporate” before their eyes during the first part of the financial collapse these last 7-8 years and have no money at all now.  This happened to a lot of people who now find themselves with no way to support a home and/or family and no way produce any wealth or the money it represents (this used to be called an income).  They are desperate and frustrated and genuinely have no idea as to what to do, so chances are they will do nothing.

This is a truly horrific thing to see.  A person in this condition is almost at the point of breaking; ready to cut the link with reality.  The worst part seems…

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Phenomenology & Esoteric Buddhism

Thoughts On Language


Some days I feel completely fluent in Spanish, I’ll walk away from a conversation and think “Wow, I just said everything that came to mind and the other person got my drift.” Other days I sit at the kitchen table with my host family and can’t form a coherent sentence. It recently dawned on me that my Spanish skills can be compared to my high school tennis skills. How’s that for a comparison? If I were matched up against someone really good and I had to be quick, I played so much better. When I would play someone at my level or lower, I was terrible. For my Spanish, when I’m talking about something I really know about, I just say what comes to mind and the words just seem to flow (almost). But, small talk or explaining things in passing? I feel completely hopeless.

I spend a lot of…

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