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Facebook adAccording to scientists, social media tools can help prevent the distinction of endangered languages. There are about 6,000 languages spoken worldwide, and it is thought that approximately half of them will be extinct within the next 100 years. One of the causes for their extinction is seen in globalisation, as it encourages speakers of rare languages to assimilate, to “abandon” their mother tongue and switch to more common, spoken languages.

However, some elements of today’s globalised world are said to work against this trend and could actually save these endangered languages. How? Speakers of rare languages use social media, like YouTube and Facebook “to expand their voice and expand their presence,” explained K David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and a National Geographic Fellow. This is said to help speakers of less spoken languages to pass their language on to younger generations and as consequence to prevent the language’s extinction.

See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17081573.

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language_books

 

After reading that the word ‘hey-ho’ is set to make a comeback and is to be added to the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary I got thinking about the origins of this word.

 

 

It famously appears in Walt Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, ‘hey-ho, hey-ho, it’s off to work we go…!’ And can also be heard in many other well known songs (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Ramones etc). According to the BBC the word dates back to the 16th century and is of nautical origin. The meaning of this word has developed with the changing times and will appear in the newest edition of the Collins dictionary with its definition reading: “an exclamation of weariness, disappointment, surprise, or happiness”.

 

It would seem that the influx of social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook and Bebo) and chatting online have had a huge impact upon the everyday language used by teenagers. Other words which have become offiicial and have made their way into the Collins Dictionary this year include:

 

Meh – the sound of this word is meant to denote disappointment.

Mwah – the actual sound of kissing

Twitter (verb) – posting messages on Twitter (noun)

 

These words will remain in the dictionary as long as people keep using them as part of everyday language.

 

 

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