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  • Language and words in the news – 31st October, 2014

    Posted by on October 31, 2014

    © Ioannis Kounadeas / Fotolia.comThis post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular.

    Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include, or just add a comment to the post, with the link(s) you’d like to share.

    Language change and slang

    American Political Jargon
    Every subculture has its lingo, but few add secret code faster than the American political class.

    Why there are too many women doctors, women MPs, and women bosses
    Is it ever OK to use ‘woman’ as an adjective? This writer thinks not.

    Women in The Guardian
    This writer disagrees. ‘The fact is that woman has been used adjectivally since the Middle English period. The earliest citation in the OED of woman as adjective is from a Wycliffite translation of the Bible from before 1382.’

    From a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years. – See more at: http://www.cjr.org/language_corner/language_corner_063014.php?utm_content=buffer811d0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.WQopCEDs.dpufFrom a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years.From a language point of view, what’s happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been common for many years..

    Improve your English

    Word of the Week
    The Globe theatre in London has a Shakespeare-inspired Word of the Week. This week’s is ‘tarry’, meaning delay, which I initially misread as ‘tarry’ (=covered in or similar to tar).

    Language teaching and resources

    Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos
    Cute monkeys, even cuter hamsters. A viral-video-based lesson from All at C.

    Books, dictionaries, technology, words and language

    What Exactly Is “Cerise”? The Complicated History of Color Definitions
    Kory Stamper revels in the glories of the colour definitions in Webster’s Third Edition.

    Two Dictionaries
    More on American dictionaries, and in particular the fallout from the storm provoked by the publication in 1961 of Webster’s Third.

    Gypsy ‘cheat’ entry in Spanish dictionary sparks outrage
    An entry in Spain’s top dictionary has outraged one of the country’s oldest minorities by defining “gypsy” as synonymous with lying and cheating.

    The 10 Tech Terms You’re Mixing Up
    Don’t know your front end from your back end? This may help.

    Tesco cash machine promises free erections
    Or what happens when you don’t get your translations checked properly.

    Radio

    Dylan Thomas centenary
    Dylan Thomas was born one hundred years ago last Monday. If you have access to BBC radio you can hear archive recordings of conversations with his friends and family here, and a production of his radio play Under Milk Wood here. The play was recorded in 2003 but features a remixed Richard Burton from 1963 as First Voice.

    Spooky fun

    The Scary Language of Halloween
    The word Halloween, a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening,” did not appear until 1556, but the holiday has a plethora of words associated with it. (49 minutes)

     

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  • Language tip of the week: school

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc. This week’s language tip helps with the differences in usage in American and British English of the word […]

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  • New pragmatics lesson plan: ways of warning people

    Have you seen our latest lesson plan by author Jonathan Marks? This new resource is part of the ‘expressing yourself’ series and helps learners review and consolidate ways of warning people. What’s included? Worksheets for students, tips for teachers, as well as an answer key and suggested follow-up activities. All pragmatics lesson plans – including […]

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  • Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens

    Misheard song lyrics have been in my head again. Kerry Maxwell’s BuzzWord article on creep as a combining form reminded me of the memorably rude example ‘I drove all night, crapped in your room’ – instead of crept. Then a Twitter friend mentioned ‘Poppadum Creek’, a surreal misanalysis of Madonna’s lyric ‘Papa Don’t Preach’, and […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 24th October, 2014

    This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link […]

    Read the full article
  • Language tip of the week: conversation

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this new series of  language tips we will be looking at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about conversation: A conversation or discussion […]

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  • Real Grammar Quiz, Question 2: Would or Should?

    Real Grammar isn’t about the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people try to make us follow. As we said in the introduction to this new series from Macmillan Dictionary, Real Grammar is based on the evidence of language in use. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you blog posts and videos that give […]

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  • Life skills tip of the week: emphasis

    As part of this year’s pragmatics series, we bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself. The previous language tip looked at ways of persuading someone to do something. This week’s tip looks at just a few of the very many ways of adding emphasis to what you say and […]

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  • Word roots and routes: pair

    Next in a series of posts exploring some of the ‘roots’ and ‘routes’ of English vocabulary. Pair (noun and verb) has made its way to us from Latin pār, meaning ‘equal’. As well as describing a set of two identical or near-identical items – e.g. a pair of shoes, a pair of eyes – it […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 17th October, 2014

    This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link […]

    Read the full article
  • Language tip of the week: public school

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc. This week’s language tip helps with the differences in usage in American and British English of the term […]

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  • Life skills tip of the week: ways of warning someone

    Learning about pragmatics and how to express yourself successfully is a useful life skill, said Michael Rundell in January when he introduced the new pragmatics series on Macmillan Dictionary. The series is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign, offering free resources for English language students and teachers each month. As part of the series, we’ll bring more useful content and […]

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  • Enthusing about freedom of usage

    Writing about back-formation earlier this year, I said that enthuse – a verb back-formed from enthusiasm – occupied a grey area of acceptability. This area is worth mapping in more detail, since much of what people say about enthuse applies to other words and usages, and offers insights into what Macmillan Dictionary calls real grammar. […]

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Recent Comments

Recent Comments
  • Posted by Andrew Delahunty to Language and words in the news – 31st October, 2014 on October 31, 2014 I've just been reading Kory Stamper's entertaining piece on colour definitions in Webster's Third. What a joyous celebration of both colour and language it is. It reminded me of a dictionary workshop I ran at a primary school a few years ago. Among other activities, I asked the children to have a go at writing definitions for different types of word, including colours. One girl came up with this wonderful definition for 'red': 'red is the...

  • Posted by Stan to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on October 29, 2014 That's true, Jonathan, and it's a useful way to subdivide them. Jimi Hendrix's line is in the same subcategory.

  • Posted by Jonathan Marks to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on October 29, 2014 'The cross-eyed bear / the cross I'd bear' is in a special subcategory because the intended version and the misheard version are phonetically identical - they're phrasal homophones, in fact - unlike 'Poppadum Creek' / 'Papa don't preach' etc.

  • Posted by Stan to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on October 29, 2014 Liz: I'm sure it did! It reminds me a little of Flann O'Brien, who would go to extravagant lengths for the sake of a pun or piece of bilingual wordplay.

  • Posted by Liz to Mildew all around me, and other mondegreens on October 29, 2014 Many years ago there was a programme on BBC Radio 4 with Denis Norden and Frank Muir in which the panellists had to supply a shaggy dog story that culminated in a mangled but coherent version of a well-known saying. One that has stuck in my mind is 'a rose is a rose is a rose', rendered by Norden as 'arrows-sees Harrow-Ciceros'. It made perfect sense at the time.