The THES diary

July 30, 1999

Old verbs gotta go

We seem to be losing something of our sense of obligation, according to research on changes in grammar since 1961. A database being compiled at Lancaster University shows striking changes in the use of modal verbs over the past 30 years. While "can" and "will" remain popular, it notes the demise of the words "shall", "should", "must", "may" and "ought to". Instead, "new verb idioms" are arising such as "have (got) to" and "be going to" - also known as "gotta" and "gonna".

MA on the fairway

The Open Golf Championship losers who dubbed the demanding Carnoustie course "Carnasty" may find a revolution in course design across the world. The school of landscape architecture within Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University will next year offer a masters degree in golf course architecture, the first of its kind in Europe. A commissioned study has identified potential worldwide demand, with primary markets in Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, China, South East Asia, South America and the United States. School head Catharine Ward Thompson said there would be a strong ecological approach, working in harmony with the landscape.

Books and bowlers

Cardigans and bad hair havebeen part of the traditional stereotype of the librarian, according to the Library Association. But not any more. A recent survey carried out by the association suggests workplace librarians are more likely to be "indistinguishable" from the City professionals, one of their major client groups. The librarians' salaries are also "well over" the national average with more than 50 per cent in the Pounds 20,000-plus bracket. Not quite up to City professionals' standards yet, then.

Meeting a material girl

No wonder there is a brain drain when there are things the United States can offer that Britain never could. Presenting an honorary degree from Reading University to Olwen Hufton, Leverhulme professor of history at Oxford, Anne Curry, head of Reading's history department, recalled Professor Hufton's time at "big and stimulating" Harvard, and one guest speaker there in particular - Madonna.

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