Tag Archives: English

The US Dollar’s Name Origin and Associated Common Slang

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Money talks and nobody walks, and that is just the way it is. In a consumer-based society, money is at the top of our conversational pyramid. How often when hanging with friends, having dinner with family or chatting with colleagues at work does someone ask: “How much was that?” Even between strangers waiting for a(…)


How Far Can You Get in the World Only Speaking English?

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There are plenty of people who travel and live abroad, yet somehow manage to get by with only knowing English. The falling rate of people learning languages in the U.K. and U.S. perhaps points to a sort of English-speaker arrogance—because English is considered such a global language, we tend to assume that everywhere we go(…)


5 Myths About Teaching English in Asia, Busted

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Thinking about leaving your comfort zone for a crack at teaching English in Asia? Not so fast. Before you even think about purchasing an airfare, for heaven’s sake, do your homework. Here are five of the more predominant myths about teaching English in Asia, busted: 1. Anybody can do it Residency requirements vary from country(…)


Monolingualism in the United States

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Pub quiz time: what is the official language of the United States? We’ll wait. Because whilst English is perceived as the language of the United States, there is no official language of the United States. It is only an official language in 27 states, and we say, only, because if movements such as English Only(…)


Why Is Hard-Learned Language So Easily Forgotten?

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Coming to the end of a two-month stay in my hometown of New York, away from my home in Thailand, I overheard three young Thai women on holiday walking along the West Side Promenade talking about the city. It was a normal enough discussion of the buildings, the river, the lack of public toilets, all(…)


The Most Hated Words in English

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Is there a word that prickles your skin, raises the short hairs on the back of your neck, or just in general makes you feel sick? Did you even know about this phenomenon? That a simple word with no political or hateful connotations can make normal person uncomfortable. Well, it’s a thing, and it seems(…)


Giving Life to Language: How New Words Are Created

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Not yet halfway through the year and already Webster’s has added a 1,000 new words to their dictionary. Though the old man Noah Webster himself might have been stymied by words like humblebrag, photobomb and listicle, the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster are encouraging the unstoppable language revolution. It’s true that none of these words are necessarily(…)


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(…)