Book review: Does Spelling Matter? by Simon Horobin

Book review: Does Spelling Matter? by Simon Horobin

Oxford professor Simon Horobin argues against spelling reform on the grounds that the complex and inconsistent detail of English spelling is "testimony to the richness of our linguistic heritage and a connection with our literary past".

Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 3:40pm

Study finds Europe, Asia shared common language 15,000 years ago

Languages spoken by billions of people across Europe and Asia are descended from an ancient tongue uttered in southern Europe at the end of the last ice age, according to research. The claim, by scientists in Britain, points to a common origin for vocabularies as varied as English and Urdu, Japanese and Itelmen, a language spoken along the northeastern edge of Russia.

8 May 2013 - 4:04am

Linguist discovers new papal pickle

John Whelpton teaches one of his Latin students, Ashley Chan. Photo: Dickson Lee

When scholar John Whelpton and his small band of Latin linguists sit down at their next meeting on Friday in Kowloon Tong, it won't exactly be a papal conclave, but it will examine a very thorny question: did the first pope to stand down in 600 years get his resignation speech grammatically correct?

10 Mar 2013 - 5:52am 2 comments

500,000 entries for expanded Chinese dictionary

China’s “most inclusive” dictionary is set to expand by nearly a third to nearly half a million entries across 25 volumes, state media reported on Tuesday.

It will take seven years to fully revise the Hanyu Da Cidian, first published in 1986, for its second edition, the state news agency Xinhua said, with the first volume due to be released in 2015.

11 Dec 2012 - 12:20pm

Colloquial web jargon in People's Daily raises eyebrows

People's Daily's Beijing office. Photo: Reuters

Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily raised eyebrows this month when it used web jargon in commentaries to reflect the challenging social problems facing China, ahead of the 18th party congress.

15 Nov 2012 - 4:49am

Class Action: Don't make spelling a painful subject

A little praise goes a long way when youngsters are learning to spell. Photo: Corbis

My daughter enjoys writing but her spelling is terrible. I try to help her by spelling the words but lately she seems not to write as much. Sometimes I correct the words and let her copy them over. Is this helpful?

21 Oct 2012 - 11:31am 1 comment

Keeping Chinese language free from outside influence an impossible goal

Nations with a proud history and culture are also likely to be jealously protective of their language. For a country fast on the rise like China, that is guaranteed to be doubly so.

3 Sep 2012 - 1:44am

Academics want Chinese dictionary to remove English abbreviations

A group of Chinese academics are calling for everyday English-language abbreviations to be struck from the country's top dictionary - claiming they are the biggest threat to the Chinese language in a century.

30 Aug 2012 - 4:11am


New Releases

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (IIA) (English, Arabic and Putonghua)

See review on this page.

The Raid - Redemption (III) (Bahasa Indonesia)

See review on this page.

Double Trouble (IIA) (Putonghua)

14 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Chinglish is truly 'geilivable'

Mangled English words or strange new ones made up by mainlanders are popular on the internet. An online dictionary of 'Chinglish' features such idioms as 'people hill people sea' and 'no money no talk'.

11 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

If you could add a single word to the English language, what would it be?

Zareen Chiba, 18, Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong

8 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Make my day!

'Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better'

Emile Coue (1857-1926) French psychologist

The big day

A day is the 24 hours between one midnight and the next. Here are some useful nouns and phrases that use the little word.

What is ...?

1 an open day

a. a day when shops close early

23 May 2012 - 12:00am

Teachers can easily dispense with textbooks in language classes

In recent weeks, a debate has been raging on the price of textbooks.

The government is urging publishers to lower prices, but publishers are unwilling to succumb.

Critics have stated that the only way to get prices down is for 'teachers to write the teaching materials' ('Textbook prices up despite pressure', May 12).

20 May 2012 - 12:00am

Stress on writing hinders reading

Kindergartens put too much emphasis on writing when they teach Chinese characters, leading to mediocre results in the more important skill of reading, a study has found.

University of Hong Kong researchers said children should learn to recognise characters before they learned to write them, which would help them with their reading at an earlier stage.

3 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

A foolproof guide to raising intelligent little monsters

I have been searching for decades for a comprehensive guide that can provide parents with the tools to raise intelligent little beings.

I had pretty much given up any hope of finding one that was well-researched and reputable.

1 Apr 2012 - 12:00am