Archive for October, 2012

  • Google’s Ngram Viewer 2.0 – a new bag of tricks

    Posted by on October 30, 2012

    Early last year I wrote about Google’s Ngram Viewer, a tool based on its books corpus that allows you to graph the use of words and phrases over time. For example, you can see at a glance how references to Plato and Aristotle compare over the last few centuries. (I get the impression they’re often […]

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  • Google the ecosystem: what is a word worth?

    Posted by on October 29, 2012

    In his TV documentary The Deep, David Attenborough relates how his team found a recently-dead whale at the bottom of the sea. The vast beast is food for millions. The hagfish find the corpse, and start scraping away at the skin with two rows of horny teeth. Seven-meter-long sweeper sharks dig deep holes into the […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 26th October 2012

    Posted by on October 26, 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 a link […]

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  • Language tip of the week: every

    Posted by on October 25, 2012

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about using the pronoun every: The pronoun every is usually used with a singular noun: […]

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  • Miscreant word behavior

    Posted by on October 23, 2012

    If you type “dictionary australia” into the Google News search box it will deliver up a cartload of stories—nearly 1500 of them when I tried it. There is shocking news that the most respected Australian dictionary, Macquarie, has updated its definition of misogyny in response to a parliamentary speech that prime minister Julia Gillard gave […]

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  • Is there a case for ‘publically’ (or ‘economicly’)? Part 2

    Posted by on October 22, 2012

    According to Wikipedia, publically is an example of morphemic pleonasm. A pleonasm is normally understood as an utterance that contains one or more redundant elements that do not contribute to the meaning. (There, I just did one!) Common examples are true fact, Great Britain, or choose deliberately. A morpheme is part of a word that […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 19th October 2012

    Posted by on October 19, 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 a link […]

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  • Language tip of the week: economic and economical

    Posted by on October 18, 2012

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about the adjectives economic and economical: People often confuse economic and economical. Use economical to […]

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  • Lesser spotted portmanteau words

    Posted by on October 16, 2012

    A portmanteau word, also known as a blend, is “a word that combines the sound and meaning of two words” – such as brunch (breakfast + lunch), guesstimate (guess + estimate), banoffee (banana + toffee) and Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia). The combining words have to blend: if they remain intact, as in keyboard or skydive, […]

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  • Is there a case for ‘publically’? Part 1

    Posted by on October 15, 2012

    Recently, while proofreading an internal document, I was taken to task by a colleague for correcting the spelling of ‘publically’ to ‘publicly’: Speaking radicly for the moment, but probably both logicly and statisticly soundly (though tragicly for traditionalists, I know), I think publically is a better spelling. In a sense, we each had a point. […]

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