Tag Archives: English

Food Name Origins: ‘Why Hot Dog?’

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I enjoy stories of how foods travel and get named and then often re-named as they mutate to fit changing tastes. One of my favorite documentaries in recent years was The Search for General Tso which traces the origin of the famous dish while uncovering the history of Chinese immigration to the US in the process.(…)


Which English Do You Speak?

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Believe it or not, English still remains today’s lingua franca. Whether you are a native English speaker from the US, Canada, the UK, India, Australia, South Africa, or any of the other numerous English-speaking countries around the world, there’s always some kind of variation between dialects. Personally having surrounded myself with quite a few expatriated Brits while living(…)


English Words that Came From the Russian Revolution

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The amount of news stories referring to collusion or collaboration between the United States and Russia as of recent has done its fair share so as to inspire words like ‘disinformation’ and ‘propaganda’, both of which find their origins in Russian interestingly enough. Aside from the vast numbers of Serfs, Jews, and Slavs that fled Russia from(…)


The “Hotel California” Phenomenon in Thailand

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Hi, my name is John McMahon. I am an American who has lived in Thailand for over a decade and I need some help. Ten years ago I lived in a big house on a small side street with a little bar at the end. The owner of this bar also fancied himself a singer.(…)


Literally, Not Figuratively: When, How, and Why Did it Happen?

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One of the great things about the English language is that’s so expansive. As a kind of linguistic black hole, sucking words in from all over, it’s a rare occasion for a person with a good vocabulary in English to have to resort to idiom or explanation in order to refer to a singular object(…)


“Check-bin” Please and Other English Words in Thai

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Language doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We take it with us when we travel whether it be the slow migration of cultures moving from region to region or a backpacker hopping on a jet to explore the world for a year before settling down to life, language is our most essential baggage. English has become(…)


What Happened with Slang in 2016?

One of the great side effects of the massive breath of the English language is the slang to which it has given birth. As English has become the language of the world, the slang works its way into cultures and countries everywhere. Cool, kinky, crazy slang words of course. Hang out, chill out, freak out(…)


The Post-Election Political Power Shift

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The US election is over, and despite there still being the matter of the official electoral college vote of December 19th to make it a (dystopian) reality, it looks as though the world has got itself a new American president. We say the world, because despite the potential horrors American citizens are now facing in(…)


The Next Steps for Our Ever-Evolving English

Whilst this joke is so old that it isn’t at all relative anymore, the idea that the English language might subtly adopt changes until it looks like something entirely different isn’t a new one. Linguists and us regular folk have been bemoaning the encroachment of lols into our everyday language for just about as long(…)


British vs. American: The Battle of the Dialects

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Might you be from the UK or United States and ever wonder what the differences between American English and British English are? Well, aside from that whole accent thing and spelling, believe it or not verb usage and vocabulary vary quite a bit. As you know, with language variation, we’re here to break down some(…)