Tag Archives: English language

Diwali: English words from Indian languages

Happy Diwali everyone! I hope you enjoyed the festival of lights, even though I’m a little late in posting about it. I saw this post over at Wordnik on English words that have their roots in Indian languages and thought it was interesting. I was particularly intrigued to find the word ‘thug’ in their list […]


Is texting ruining the English language?

Do you know your LOL from your TMI or OMG? Are these acronyms creeping in to your everyday English – outside of texting? This interesting infographic shows some staggering stats about texting, including that 8 TRILLION texts were sent in 2011. It also asks the questions “is texting ruining the English language?” and “is texting […]


Mariah Carey’s words

Mariah Carey’s been around for a long time. She’s apparently one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. She’s also known for writing her own lyrics, and Gawker has pointed out that she has a somewhat peculiar word choice at times. Here are some examples: Acquiescent – […]


Is crowdsourcing a dictionary a good idea?

We’ve mentioned a few different dictionaries here over the years, including recently the news that Collins are taking a crowdsourced approach to adding new words. In an interesting article, Deborah Cameron discusses the advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourced dictionaries. An extract: One objection to this might be that what results from it in practice is […]


Are you a geek?

A friend of mine identifies as a geek; he even worked for the Geek Squad for a while. But some seem the term as derogatory – particularly if going by dictionary definitions. Google’s dictionary defines a geek as “an unfashionable or socially inept person” with a secondary meaning of “a person with an eccentric devotion […]


Language of the future

What language will people speak in the future? That’s the subject of a chapter from new book “The Language Wars: A History of Proper English” by Farrar, Straus and Girous, extracted at Salon.com. English currently continues to dominate as the lingua franca of business and popular culture and it’s widely used in other industries. It’s […]


People who became nouns

Have you ever wondered why the skin-tight one piece mostly seen on gymnasts is called a leotard? Or why a bathtub with massage jets is called a Jacuzzi? Then this slideshow from Slate is for you! Jacuzzi is the name of the Italian immigrant brothers who first invented a particular type of hot tub. The […]


Language lessons at the Laundromat

A multimedia artist in New York City is planning to teach English – at a Laundromat. Hector Canonge will teach two one-hour English classes a week, as part of his public art project, The Inwood Laundromat Language Institute. What was the inspiration behind the project? “There are a lot of newcomers [to the United States] […]


Um, I think this will be er, useful

An article on Slate.com comes out in praise of ‘verbal stumbles’ – the “uhs”, “ums” and “ers” we all use to fill in gaps in our speech. Apparently there is an organisation called Toastmasters International who charge every time one of these fillers is used. And conventional wisdom says using fillers rather than staying silent […]