Monthly Archives: November, 2011


Samosapedia is probably one of my favourite websites right now. It’s billed as “the definitive guide to South Asian lingo” and welcomes contributions from users. The site has a great blog (The Daily Chutney) giving context to the words it features. It also gives related words, the root of the word and what region it(…)

What Middletown Read

It may be because I’m a librarian-in-training, but I find the “What Middletown Read” project absolutely fascinating. The database and search engine are built upon the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from November 5, 1891 to December 3, 1902. Apart from a gap from May 28, 1892 to November 5, 1894, it(…)

You’re welcome

I often struggle with what to say after someone has thanked me. Sometimes I just smile and nod. Other times it’s “no worries” (a hangover from living in Australia). Occasionally I say “no problem”. And then there’s “you’re welcome”. Whenever I catch myself saying “you’re welcome”, I reflect that it makes me sound very American.(…)

Word of the Year 2011

The US and UK have agreed on something – the Word of the Year 2011! So what’s the word? Squeezed middle. Americans may be unfamiliar with this term, used by the British Labour Party’s leader Ed Miliband. It describes “those seen as bearing the brunt of government tax burdens while having the least with which(…)

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 English currently continues to dominate as the lingua franca of business and popular culture and it’s widely used in other industries. It’s(…)

Is language essential to understanding emotion?

A new study has looked into the question of whether our perception of emotions depends on the language we speak. The researchers concluded that “you don’t need to have words for emotions to understand them”, a conclusion that supports the view of emotions being biological mechanisms. Both anthropological and psycholinguistic researchers were involved in the(…)


Over at the Economist’s Johnson blog, they’ve been running a highly unscientific but incredibly interesting survey asking British people what Americanisms they use. Having lived and worked in the States, as well as worked for an American boss in the UK, I can attest to the fact it’s easier to acclimate than hold on to(…)