What’s it all about?

Colin_McIntosh cropby Colin McIntosh

Some of you will have been reading my blog posts for Cambridge over the past year or so. Now that I’ve branched out on my own, I hope you’ll stay with me.

I’ll be looking at some of the interesting developments in English taking place at the moment, including new words, changing pronunciation and grammar, and evolving varieties of the language. Some of the background themes will include globalization and World English, the influence of technology, and changing fashions as reflected in language. It should be of interest to students and teachers of English, but also anyone who’s keen to find out and discuss what’s happening to the English language in the 21st century. Some of the developments may date back further (is anything really new?), but I’ll be focusing on words in the news, words in fashion, and, yes, words that are trending on social media.

Those of you who know me or my work will know I’m a descriptivist, not a prescriptivist – so I won’t be complaining about declining standards or unacceptable punctuation. Instead I hope to enthuse you with all the richness and variety of language, which I still find endlessly fascinating after over thirty years of teaching, writing, and publishing. Also, I won’t be jumping on any bandwagons or bringing you the latest inconsequential one-off blends (also called portmanteau words: those words formed by bolting together parts of words, like guyliner) that will disappear without trace a week from now. What you will find is a document of the real trends and changes that I’m noticing, presented in a way I hope you’ll find both serious and entertaining.

Really, a blog is the ideal medium for what I want to say here – I don’t know why I didn’t try it sooner! I’m also working on a website that will bring together lots of useful material that will be informative and useful to you in your teaching and learning; and I’ll be making space for reviews of new books and digital products in the areas of English Language Teaching, English as a Foreign/Second Language, dictionaries, and language in general. I’ll keep you posted – literally.

In the meantime, enjoy the blog. I’m looking forward to reading all your comments! I’ve reblogged some of my posts for Cambridge below, so you can see what to expect, and also follow the links back and see what else they’ve got there. Click on any of the words in blue to find out more about them. For now, most of these link to the online Cambridge Dictionary, which I know very well, having edited and published the Fourth Edition of the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, but in future posts I’ll be using a variety of sources.

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One comment

  1. Chris Gray · September 1, 2016

    I like your comment regarding not complaining about declining standards or unacceptable punctuation as this kind of preoccupation so often distracts us from ‘the richness and variety of language’. Particularly looking forward to a dynamic view of language and ‘World English’ perspectives in your blogs!