Archive for February, 2012

  • And twenty-nine in each leap year

    Posted by on February 29, 2012

    Today is 29th February, a date in the Gregorian calendar which comes around only once every four years. As the old rhyme learned by schoolchildren in order to fix the varying  lengths of the months in their heads goes: Thirty days hath September, April, June and November; All the rest have thirty-one, Except for February […]

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  • Speaking in others’ tongues

    Posted by on February 28, 2012

    Stop and think: when was the last time you chose to pronounce a word or sentence, or carry on a conversation, in an accent that was not your normal one? What accent or manner of speech were you imitating, and what was your reason for doing this? The choice to add a linguistic twist to […]

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  • Austerity is here to stay

    Posted by on February 27, 2012

    The 1948 Summer Olympics, held in a London that still bore the scars of World War II, came to be known as the Austerity Games. No special accommodation was built for the athletes, who were housed in RAF barracks and university halls of residence. They were, however, allowed much bigger food rations than the general […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 24th February, 2012

    Posted by on February 24, 2012

    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 […]

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  • Quote unquote

    Posted by on February 23, 2012

    Readers of this blog who have absorbed Stan Carey’s peek into the future of apostrophe use should prepare themselves for another possible future shock: quotation marks (which Brits, but never Americans, like to call inverted commas) have a career that is also not entirely secure, owing to their erratic and unpredictable behavior. Quotation marks are […]

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  • Open Dictionary word of the week: cerulean

    Posted by on February 22, 2012

    cerulean (adjective) deep blue; sky blue The clouds were scattered across a great cerulean sky. (Submitted by: Ev from United States) There must be a number of fascinating books on the subject of colour names, but for those in need of instant gratification, there’s always Wikipedia.  Where you’ll find this: The first recorded use of […]

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  • Life skills and language learning

    Posted by on February 21, 2012

    This month and next, our Live English blog is going to be looking at Life Skills. Here to introduce the topic is Steve Taylore-Knowles, a Lancashire-based ELT expert who has written many successful courses for Macmillan, most recently openMind and masterMind for the online Mind series.     In the future every educational endeavour will […]

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  • Helmer at the helm

    Posted by on February 20, 2012

    “I stood at her helm, and for long hours silently guided the way of this fire-ship on the sea.” The old nautical word helm is likely to evoke a salty sea image such as one from Herman Melville’s mighty Moby-Dick – that is, of a wheel or similar gear used to steer a boat or […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 17th February, 2012

    Posted by on February 17, 2012

    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 […]

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  • Why use English when French says it better? An introduction to Pragmatics

    Posted by on February 16, 2012

    There are certain situations in which English speakers switch to using French. We will say, admiringly, that something has ‘a certain je ne sais quoi’, or we might wish someone bon voyage when they set off on a journey. There is a variety of reasons for preferring a French way of saying things, and one […]

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