Archive for March, 2011

  • Saved by the bell!

    Posted by on March 31, 2011

    It would be unfortunate to drop the ball and not have a post on sporting idioms during our sporting English month. I am down to the wire however, with only a few days until metaphor month begins! I can already hear you sighing. You think I am going to try bowl you over with a […]

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  • They think it’s all over…

    Posted by on March 30, 2011

    ‘What’s your English? 2011’ will be moving on this week, from sport to metaphor and figurative language. But – as many of our sports-related posts demonstrate – there’s a strong link between the two themes. Stan Carey’s piece this week celebrates the wonderfully original similes dreamed up by sports commentator Ray Hudson. Meanwhile, Andrew Delahunty […]

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  • Blunt as a bag of wet mice

    Posted by on March 29, 2011

    At the start of this month, in a post about sporting clichés and commentating, I wrote that the most effective commentators are fans as well as experts, people who love the sport passionately and have “idiosyncratic ways of communicating their insights and enthusiasm”. This describes to a T someone I heard about after writing the […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 25th March, 2011

    Posted by on March 25, 2011

    This post contains a selection of links related to recent 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 […]

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  • Optical illusions

    Posted by on March 25, 2011

    As a recent article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper noted, wars always give rise to new words, and the current conflict in Libya is no exception. The fashionable term of the moment is optics. Military experts and armchair generals come on the air to talk about the optics of the situation – by which they mean […]

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  • RIP

    Posted by on March 24, 2011

    On Wednesday news hit the headlines that Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor had passed away at the age of 79. On Twitter, the hashtag ‘RIP Elizabeth Taylor’ (#ripelizabethtaylor) has been trending ever since. But what does RIP mean and where does it come from? RIP (also spelled R.I.P) is an abbreviation for ‘rest in peace’, or […]

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  • In a league of our own

    Posted by on March 23, 2011

    It’s still sporting English month here on the blog, but it’s not long till metaphor month kicks off in April, so now seems an appropriate time to think about the figurative uses of the word league. Last year, Red Bull won the Hungarian Grand Prix just a week after Ferrari had dominated the German Grand […]

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  • In a word

    Posted by on March 23, 2011

    “Can I have a word with you?” “What’s the word on the street?” “I’ve had no word from them all week.” “You have my word.” “What does this word mean?” It’s no surprise that a word as old and familiar as word should have so many distinct but related meanings. In the paragraph above, you […]

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  • Sleeps

    Posted by on March 23, 2011

    Only … 25 more sleeps … until we celebrate onestopenglish’s 10th anniversary at the annual IATEFL conference in Brighton, UK. That made me think: do other languages have the same use of sleep as English? And if not, how is that sort of excitement expressed in those languages? This unusual countable use of sleep in […]

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  • A tsunami of metaphors

    Posted by on March 22, 2011

    With the awful news coming out of Japan, it’s not surprising that there has been a spike in lookups of earthquake-related vocabulary in Macmillan Dictionary. Like many words for natural phenomena, earthquake and tsunami are often used metaphorically. Tsunami functions very much like wave, both literally and figuratively – it’s just much bigger and more […]

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