Author Archive

  • A woman’s touch

    Posted by on March 07, 2011

    Did you know, today is International Women’s Day? This is a day designed to draw attention to the issues facing women around the world, and the focus this year is on education and training. In celebration, I think I shall apply the feminine gender to all things educational, so welcome to La Macmillan Blog, we […]

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  • The weird and the wonderful
    battle it out…

    Posted by on February 24, 2011

    It’s that time of year again, when we’re all invited to decide which book over the past 12 months has been published with the strangest name. That’s right, voting is now open for the 2010 Bookseller / Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. Since 1978, the most weird and wonderful book titles have […]

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  • Electronic whistle blowers?

    Posted by on February 23, 2011

    I was watching a documentary about WikiLeaks the other day, and it made me wonder about the language we use to describe the act of revealing secrets. When we were young, it was telling tales, and in the corporate environment the person doing the telling has long been known as a whistle blower. But with […]

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  • Play the game

    Posted by on February 21, 2011

    I’ve been wondering about brand names, or rather, one specific brand name – Nintendo’s Wii. The Wii is, of course, a now well-established gaming system. Apparently, the name is supposed to indicate the inclusiveness of playing together and the fact that the system is designed for everyone. The two lower case ‘i‘s though, make it […]

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  • Me wanna watch…

    Posted by on February 18, 2011

    I was interested in this article about language in children’s television, featured in last week’s round-up post. I love that it reflects the diversity of modern society, but apparently there have been mixed reactions to the Rastamouse programme. I do understand parents’ fears that their children may accidentally sound racist simply by copying the phrases […]

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  • Word association

    Posted by on February 16, 2011

    I think my favourite new entry in the Open Dictionary this week has to be content farm, though it’s my favourite for all the wrong reasons. The phrase just seems to have an ‘icky‘ feel to it, like it’s referring to something rather unpleasant or unsavoury. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the term […]

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  • Words on your mind – outsourcing

    Posted by on February 14, 2011

    Oh dear. I’m slightly concerned to see that the word outsourcing has been getting a lot of attention in the Macmillan Dictionary lately. Outsourcing is the kind of word that tends to come up in the same context as downsizing, rationalizing and redundancy. Companies seeking to cut costs often downsize their workforce and then outsource […]

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  • A colourful question

    Posted by on February 11, 2011

    It’s interesting how the importance of colour varies from culture to culture, and the way that impacts on language. In Western countries, white is the colour of weddings, because it’s supposed to represent purity, while black is sombre and suited to sad occassions like funerals. Our language reflects that, with white representing ‘good’ and black […]

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  • A different kind of ghit…

    Posted by on February 09, 2011

    There’s a whole new meaning, and spelling, for the word git in the Open Dictionary this week – ghit. Of course, git is an insulting term for someone who’s annoying you, but ghit has an altogether different flavour. Like so many new terms these days, it has its roots in technology, and is actually a […]

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  • What day is it?

    Posted by on February 02, 2011

    What day do you consider to be the first day of the week? To me, it’s always seemed natural that it’s Monday (because that was the first day of the school week, I suppose), but for some people, it’s Sunday. This seems odd to me, given that Sunday is part of the weekend (note the […]

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