Archive for December, 2013

  • Stories behind Words: Boxing Day

    Posted by on December 25, 2013

    The day after Christmas Day, traditionally known as Boxing Day, is a public holiday in Britain and several other countries (if the 26th December falls on a weekend the holiday is moved to the first or second available weekday). But what does it have to do with boxing? Actually nothing, if by boxing you mean […]

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  • Check your privilege and know thy selfie

    Posted by on December 24, 2013

    As the year draws to a close it’s timely to consider what words and phrases stood out over the last twelve months. Some recurred in the news (surveillance, privacy, drone), while others rose rapidly in cultural or subcultural currency (selfie, chapulling, listicle, feels). Bitcoin made financial headlines, while twerk made waves in the entertainment pool. […]

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  • Language tip of the week: Christmas words – part 1

    Posted by on December 19, 2013

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc. This week, we look at some Christmas vocabulary. The word Christmas refers both to 25 December, celebrated by Christians […]

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  • The clock’s ticking! Love English Awards – update 2

    Posted by on December 19, 2013

    Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Sent your (e)cards to family and friends? Before you chuck out your ‘to do’ list for a well-deserved rest, make sure that your favourite blog/website about the English language receives your support by nominating it for the Macmillan Dictionary Love English Awards 2013! Here is a quick reminder […]

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  • Stories behind Words: Christmas, Noel and Yule

    Posted by on December 18, 2013

    More Christmassy words this week; in fact, three words that refer to the festival itself. The oldest of the three is Yule, from Old English geól, which meant Christmas Day or Christmastime, and corresponds to an Old Norse word jól, which was a pagan winter feast lasting twelve days. The earliest citation of this word […]

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  • Word roots and routes: fall and case

    Posted by on December 16, 2013

    Next in a series of posts exploring some of the ‘roots’ and ‘routes’ of English vocabulary. Like tell and count, fall and case are a Germanic/Latin pair which have followed similar parallel routes. Outside my window the wind’s howling, rainfall‘s turning to snowfall, nightfall‘s starting in mid-afternoon, and there’s a serious shortfall of sunshine. It’s […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 13th December, 2013

    Posted by on December 13, 2013

    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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  • Language tip of the week: well

    Posted by on December 12, 2013

    In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc. This week’s language tip helps with the interjection well: Well is used mainly in informal English, especially in conversation. […]

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  • Stories behind Words: carol

    Posted by on December 11, 2013

    There are some things about Christmas that I can take or leave, and others that I really love. One essential element of the festive season as far as I’m concerned is the Christmas carol. If I haven’t raised my voice to sing ‘Once in Royal David’s City‘ or ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear‘ at […]

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  • What is metonymy? Enquiring minds want to know

    Posted by on December 09, 2013

    Metonymy is a figure of speech which, though common, easily goes unnoticed. It’s when you replace the name of something with the name of another thing closely associated with it, or (defined more broadly) with the name of one of its parts or attributes. The word literally means ‘change of name’ – it has the […]

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