Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Gobbledygook words

To round off this month of words of the year, banished words and annoying phrases, let’s take a look at a list of words that were once considered professional jargon, but are now in everyday use. The most interesting (for me) of a list that includes contact, antibody and reliable, is interview. 3. Interview While(…)


Banished words

On the flip side of words of the year, there are the obligatory words that should be banished. Lake Superior State University’s been issuing this list for 38 years now, although sadly it’s not had a great effect (people still say baby bump for example). What words and phrases have they deemed unworthy this year?(…)


Words of the year.. from other countries

Yep, it’s not just the Merriam-Webster people who get to decide on a word of the year – other countries have their own version. My favourite from this round-up by Mental Floss is: 8. Ogooglebar, Swedish Instead of picking one word of the year, the Swedes, in their egalitarian way, make a list of all(…)


Famous definitions of love

It’s still a few weeks until Valentine’s Day, but it’s never too early to brush up on your definitions of love. Brain Pickings is here to help, listing some famous definitions from 200 years of literary history. One of my favourites is this quote from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: Love is a temporary madness, it erupts(…)


Letters that didn’t make the alphabet

You know the alphabet. Twenty-six letters, from A-Z. Or do you? There’s a few letters you probably don’t know about, as they’ve been discarded from our language as it grew. My favourite is probably Ash, although the ampersand comes a close second: You’re probably familiar with this guy from old-fashioned Greek or Roman style text,(…)


Your most annoying phrase? Whatever.

Which word or phrase bugs you most? If it’s “whatever”, you’re in good company as Americans have voted it their most annoying word for the fourth consecutive year. The Marist Poll showed that 32% of Americans have this view, closely followed by “like”, at 21%. This figure is slightly down from last year though, when(…)


How to laugh online

If you’re starting to understand humour in a different language, you’re likely making pretty good progress with that language. When you’re chatting online, how do you show you’re laughing? In English we might say ‘hahahaha’ or ‘hah’ or ‘LOL’. Perhaps we’d even include a smiley face 🙂 Using ‘hahahaha’ as a starting point, a Reddit(…)


New Year: Smart Goals

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013: It’s time to set yourself some new language learning goals. These goals don’t have to be your typical New Year’s resolutions – let’s face it, those never last anyway. That’s because New Year’s resolutions tend to be fairly general (“I’m going to join the gym” or “I’m going to(…)