Archive for April, 2009

  • Two short legs and a silly point: learn (about) English through cricket. Part 3: terminology

    Posted by on April 29, 2009

    Which is the more difficult word: take or encephalomyelitis? Most people would pick the second one – but a lexicographer wouldn’t. For dictionary-writers, words like encephalomyelitis are easy because they only have one meaning, and it can be defined with complete accuracy. The really difficult words are go, take, get, and similar high-frequency items which […]

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  • Beyond the usual

    Posted by on April 27, 2009

    That somebody might find raising funds difficult in these problematic financial times is certainly not beyond belief. That they might say, describing their plight, that ‘Getting the financing was beyond difficult’ may be more surprising. We’re used to things being beyond recognition, beyond a doubt/beyond reasonable doubt, beyond a joke, beyond expectations or beyond our […]

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  • Week in review

    Posted by on April 24, 2009

    This post contains a weekly selection of links related to English language today. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting related websites. A new weekly review post will be posted every Friday. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. News Email language […]

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  • Sorry I bought it up!

    Posted by on April 22, 2009

    I was recently visiting a primary school and had the great pleasure of sitting in on an assembly that was to be a celebration of some of the children’s fantastic work. It was also a chance for the pupils to bring in things to show to their peers as well. In a nice clear voice, […]

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  • Webby for Wordle?

    Posted by on April 20, 2009

    The countdown for the annual Webby Awards, aka the Oscars for the Web, has started: there are ten more days left to cast your vote. (Voting stops at the end of April.) This year, one of the more interesting nominees, in the category of ‘Best typography’, is Wordle. Wordle has been created by Jonathan Feinberg, […]

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  • Week in review

    Posted by on April 17, 2009

    This post contains a weekly selection of links related to English language today. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting related websites. A new weekly review post will be posted every Friday. Please contact us if you would like to submit a link for us to include. News An Amazon […]

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  • Miss! Here! Correction: Mishear

    Posted by on April 15, 2009

    If you’re like me, you’ll have spent many years labouring under the misapprehension that Jimi Hendrix sang ’Scuse me while I kiss this guy in his 1967 hit, Purple Haze. But in fact he didn’t – what he actually sang was ’Scuse me while I kiss the sky. There’s a word for this sort of […]

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  • The (poor) language of journalism – a lot less bad?

    Posted by on April 08, 2009

    Why is it that journalists seem to think that they are allowed the greatest licence when using the English language? Why do they not feel bound by the same linguistic restraints as the rest of us? Often they make up brand new words to describe something in a way they feel that no existing word […]

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  • Two short legs and a silly point: learn (about) English through cricket. Part 2: Origins

    Posted by on April 02, 2009

    First, a little history to set the scene. We think of cricket as a very ‘English’ game, and nowadays it’s mainly played in parts of the former British empire: Australasia, the Indian subcontinent, South Africa, and the Caribbean. But its history is more complex. In a recent novel, Netherland, the protagonist is a Wall Street […]

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