Archive for November, 2011

  • Pass the serviettes: dictionaries and class

    Posted by on November 30, 2011

    My colleague Finn Kirkland has mentioned his problems with the word serviette. I have a battered copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary dating back to the 1920s, which includes this entry: serviette n. (vulg.) table-napkin Note the ‘vulg.’ label (short for ‘vulgar’). The dictionary’s Introduction explains: “This qualification implies that the use of the word […]

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  • Language tip of the week: spend

    Posted by on November 29, 2011

    In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. This week’s language tip helps with the verb spend. When you use spend with another verb, to talk about […]

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  • Avoid flaunting your confusion

    Posted by on November 29, 2011

    Sometimes nature reports come from unexpected sources. The Twitter account of Iarnród Éireann, Ireland’s national railway system, recently posted a picture of a visitor to their tracks, accompanied by the description: “Another prosecution as Frog flaunts trespassing laws!” The company is to be applauded for sharing wildlife photos with light-hearted humour, but its word choice […]

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  • Getting lippy for Thanksgiving

    Posted by on November 28, 2011

    It was Thanksgiving last Thursday, and traffic from the US to the dictionary site was down by 50% on Thursday of the week before.  So I wasn’t expecting the US to be entering the greatest number of searches that day. As it happened, the two most searched for items on Thanksgiving were lip plumper and […]

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  • Your class English words

    Posted by on November 28, 2011

    Here is the third (following the first and second) in our monthly instalment of a question answered by our wonderful and ever-growing group of guest bloggers. The question we’ve asked this month was: What word in English is loaded with the most ‘class’ content for you? This was a bit of a difficult one to […]

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  • The Bard and medicine

    Posted by on November 25, 2011

    This week’s ‘language in new media’ post is a short radio interview (2:31 min) and news article about Shakespeare and how doctors can learn from his plays. A retired doctor, Dr Kenneth Heaton, argues that reading the Bard’s works could help physicians with finding the links between emotion and illness: Shakespeare ‘could help doctors become […]

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

    Posted by on November 25, 2011

    After a short break, the weekly round-up post returns with 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 […]

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  • Open Dictionary word of the day: gisting

    Posted by on November 24, 2011

    gisting (noun) looking for the main idea or most important point in a written or spoken text Although the translations were served quickly and in all the language pairs that Google Translate offers, some of the formatting and page layout got lost. But if your purpose is gisting, this feature appears to be ideal. (Submitted […]

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  • High-speed tech jargon

    Posted by on November 24, 2011

    In its most familiar sense, jargon means specialised, often technical vocabulary associated with a particular type of work or area of activity. For example, there’s scientific jargon, medical jargon, airlinese, and business speak (the last of which I’ve written about before). Jargon is part of a sublanguage, and is subject to forces of change just […]

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  • The rise of the r-ful

    Posted by on November 22, 2011

    The discussion of class and language continues with a guest post by John Wells, Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London, and author of Accents of English, English Intonation, and the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. He writes a daily blog on phonetics at phonetic-blog.blogspot.com. ___________ It was interesting to read Ben Trawick-Smith’s discussion of the […]

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