English

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Teacher Can't Speak Spanish, Doesn't Get Spanish Gig, Sues

Florida teacher says she's 'otherwise fully qualified' for the job

(Newser) - A Florida schoolteacher has filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit against her employer for turning her down for a job teaching Spanish—even though she doesn't speak Spanish, the News & Observer reports. Tracy Rosner, who teaches third grade at Coral Reef Elementary in Palmetto Bay, alleges in her federal... More »

New Worry: More Militants Speaking English

Officials fear Western militants could bring extremism back with them

(Newser) - The new terrorism worry: English-speaking militants. Reuters takes a look at the reported rise of just such extremists, pointing to European intelligence sources who say dozens of British men are believed to be in Syria, many possibly fighting with a rebel group with ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Reuters also... More »

Arizona Woman, Blocked From City Council, Runs for VP

Was disqualified for not speaking English

(Newser) - When Alejandrina Cabrera tried to run for San Luis City Council, she was kicked off the ballot because she couldn't speak, read, or write English fluently. So now she's running for a slightly higher office: vice president of the United States. Cabrera has signed on with Utopian Party... More »

Groom Gets 6 Years for Starting Fire at Own Wedding

Max Kay lit curtains on fire after being refused more booze

(Newser) - A British groom will be enjoying a six-year honeymoon by himself, in prison. Real estate developer Max Kay, 37, started a fire at his own wedding party after hotel staff refused to let him extend a bar tab, reports SkyNews . Kay waited until the early morning hours after the squabble... More »

Mount Everest's Mystery: Should We Solve It?

Two British adventurers may have climbed it first

(Newser) - A long-frozen roll of film may solve one of Mount Everest's most enduring mysteries. England has long been caught in the romance of two British adventurers who scaled the mountain with a team in 1924 and were last seen a few hundred yards from the peak. Did George Mallory... More »

High School English: A Waste of Time?

No one wants to teach grammar because it's not fun: Kim Brooks

(Newser) - Sometimes, while Kim Brooks is grading essays by her college composition students, she cries. "Not real tears, exactly—more a spontaneous, guttural sob, often loud and unpleasant enough to startle my husband or children," she writes in Salon . Why? Because many of these students "simply ... cannot write.... More »

Restaurant Adds Mandatory Tip for Non-English Speakers

Hawaii's Civil Rights Commission is reviewing the legality

(Newser) - A restaurant in Hawaii is under review by the state's Civil Right Commission because of its policy of adding a 15% gratuity to the bills of patrons who don't speak English. The Waikiki eatery says the policy isn't xenophobic—it's just that many customers come from abroad where tipping isn't... More »

Guess the Most Annoying Word. Ever.

'Whatever' is worst; 'like' also highly irritating

(Newser) - “Whatever” is, like, the most annoying word in the English language, a poll finds—for the second year in a row, notes Reuters. The Marist survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that almost 39% think “whatever” is the most annoying English word or phrase; runners up... More »

Many English Speakers Don't Understand English

Study discovers shocking grammar deficiencies

(Newser) - Loads of native English speakers lack even a basic understanding of the language, according to a surprising new study from Northumbria University. The researchers gathered a group of adults, some of whom were postgraduates students, and some who had dropped out of school at age 16, and tested them on... More »

New York Times Banishes the Word 'Tweet'

Standards editor calls it 'jargon'

(Newser) - The cool kids may call their Twitter posts “tweets,” but no one ever accused the New York Times of being a cool kid. Phil Corbett, the Times’ new standards editor, has sent out a proclamation banning the use of the word “outside of ornithological contexts,” reports... More »

Let's Rethink How We Teach English

Kids can't write, and it's getting worse

(Newser) - Take it from a first-year college instructor: The writing skills of young adults are a joke. "They have either forgotten the rules of writing, or they never learned them in the first place," writes Kara Miller of Babson College. And while the media focuses on the need for... More »

States May Get National Standards for Math, English

Most governors are on board, but some complain about federal role

(Newser) - Math and English instruction in the United States moved a step closer to uniform—and more rigorous—standards today, as draft national guidelines were released. Supporters of the project led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers hope the lists of things kids should... More »

You're 'Me,' Not 'Myself,' and Other Grammar Peeves

Sad kids do not 'literally tear' the heart out of a mall Santa, and other mistakes

(Newser) - Some common grammar mistakes are also inexcusable, Johnny Truant writes for Copyblogger. Too many of the following, and your readers may decide "that you’re actually a chimpanzee—and not one of the smart ones, either."
  • It's "me," not "myself:" People often "think
... More »

Seattle Times Readers ID Globetrotting Amnesiac

(Newser) - Three weeks ago, a well-dressed man carrying $600 in his sock wandered out of a Seattle park with no idea who he was or how he got there. His identity was a mystery until today, when the Seattle Times ran a story on its front page with his picture and... More »

Jargon Not a Best Practice, Brit Bureaucrats Told

Confusing phrases are keeping people from using services: agency

(Newser) - This recession requires the British government to drop its jargon and get consensually transparent, er, clear. A government agency frets that people are missing out on services because they don't understand bureaucratic lingo like the following phrases, per Reuters:
  1. Slippage: Why not just admit the delay?
  2. A menu of options
... More »

Discomgollifusticated? Check This Dictionary of Vernacular

(Newser) - The Dictionary of American Regional English, a 40-year lexicographical labor of love, will be competed next year, Good reports—with compilers finally making it to Z. The tome, which revels in local disparities, has been a boon not only to word lovers; it helped bring down the Unabomber through his... More »

Oldest English Words Include 'Two,' 'Three'—But Not 'Four'

(Newser) - "I," "we," "two," and "three" have existed for tens of thousands of years, making them among the oldest words in the English language, new research reveals. Computer analysis of Indo-European languages helped isolate "the ways we think words change and their... More »

Obama Speeches Help Japanese Learn English

Students use his speeches to learn language

(Newser) - Barack Obama is fast becoming a popular English teacher—in Japan. His speeches have become a hit for people learning the language there, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama's slow and careful enunciation make him a particularly good model, teachers say. One book of speeches, complete with a dictionary for... More »

Obama Speeches Teach English, Hope to Japanese

Dem's speeches good for language-learners, more inspiring than local pols'

(Newser) - The Japanese version of Amazon.com features an unlikely bestseller: the collected speeches of Barack Obama, with Japanese translation and accompanying CD, Reuters reports. Obama’s inspiring but straightforward rhetoric is perfect for teaching English in a country that hankers to learn the language. He “uses words such as... More »

English Language Nears 1M Words

Foreign words help language reach milestone

(Newser) - If your New Year’s resolution is never to use the words “change,” “bailout,” and “Phelpsian” again, you’ll get some help on or about April 29, when the English language will acquire its millionth word—or so says a Texas-based group that tracks such... More »

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