English Grammar Day 2024

I went last week to an event called English Grammar Day 2024 at the British Library. This event has been held for the last 10 years, but I went for the first time in 2023. The event is sponsored by UCL (the official short name of University College London), the University of Oxford and the…… Continue reading English Grammar Day 2024

ISOs on translation

In February 2024, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published ISO 5060 Translation services, Evaluation of translation output—General guidance. It gives guidance on evaluating human translation output, post-edited machine translation output, and unedited machine translation output. I searched the ISOs online store for other ISOs dealing with translation. I have prepared summaries below from the…… Continue reading ISOs on translation

British sign language will be a GCSE subject

Schoolchildren will soon be able to study British Sign Language (BSL) as a GCSE. The target is for schools to be able to teach it from September 2025.   As part of the GCSE, students will be taught at least 750 signs and how to use them to communicate effectively with other signers in work, social…… Continue reading British sign language will be a GCSE subject

Sign Language for trial for more trains

A UK train operator, Northern announced in September 2023, that it would interpret its announcements into British Sign Language (BSL) on some of its services.  Passengers will first see the new BSL visuals on trains between Manchester Victoria and Leeds. The visuals will interpret information such as station announcements. The train operator aims to have…… Continue reading Sign Language for trial for more trains

English Grammar Day

I went along yesterday to an event at University College London (UCL) called English Grammar Day. This was the first time I have been, though it has been held for the last 10 years. The event seems to be aimed mainly at school teachers and academics. I give below summaries of the 6 talks, which…… Continue reading English Grammar Day

Collective and distributive readings of ‘their’

I want to use the following sentence: ‘each of the UK’s last 5 Prime Ministers was worse than their predecessor’.  That sentence could have 2 readings: A distributive reading: each Prime Minster was worse than that Prime Minister’s predecessor. A collective reading:  each Prime Minster was worse than the predecessor of the 1st in that…… Continue reading Collective and distributive readings of ‘their’

Do swear words contain some sounds more often?

A recent study suggests that approximants—sounds such as /l/; /r/; /w/; and /y/—appear less often in swear words than they do in other words. The paper is The sound of swearing: Are there universal patterns in profanity?, by Shiri Lev-Ari and Ryan McKay (2022) published online in December 2022 by the experimental psychology journal Psychonomic…… Continue reading Do swear words contain some sounds more often?

Status of British Sign Language in Britain

A recent announcement by rail company led me to a bigger piece of news that I’d missed. Small news The UK train operator TransPennine Express announced in December 2022 that it would start providing departure boards in British Sign Language (BSL). TransPennine Express launches British Sign Language departure boards – Rail UK In that announcement…… Continue reading Status of British Sign Language in Britain

Stressing Pelé

Since the Brazilian footballer Pelé died last month, we have been treated to many TV clips of this uniquely brilliant player. One thing that struck me is how British football commentators have changed the way they pronounce his name over the last 60 years. Change in stress pattern In commentary from the 1958, 1962 or…… Continue reading Stressing Pelé

Accents and Social Mobility in Britain

A recent report shows that accent bias still exists in the UK and is a barrier to social mobility. The report is Speaking Up: Accents and Social Mobility, issued by the Sutton Trust in November 2022. https://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Accents-and-social-mobility.pdf Accent bias is rating people less favourably just because they speak with an accent that is not ‘standard’…… Continue reading Accents and Social Mobility in Britain