Category: English in use

cricket

Playing with a straight bat: the language of cricket

The Cricket World Cup is in full swing, so it seems like a good time to turn attention to the language of cricket. With its long history and central place in English sporting culture, it is hardly surprising that cricketing idioms have been widely adopted into colloquial speech. The traditional association of cricket with fair […]

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Words in the news: revenge porn

Last week, an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 made the sharing of what has become known as ‘revenge porn’ illegal in England and Wales. We’ve heard a great deal over the last three or four years about the growing problem of disgruntled former partners distributing revealing or sexually explicit photographs or […]

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Book quiz: Go Set a Watchman and other Biblical titles

The news that a second novel by Harper Lee is to be published this year has caused excitement around the world. Her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird has long been considered a modern classic, and soon readers will be able to read about Scout as an adult…

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two solitudes

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Light, bright, and sparkling: the language of light

The UN has declared 2015 to be the ‘International Year of Light’, so we thought that was a good opportunity to look at the language of light. Unsurprisingly, light is a very old word. It appears at the beginning of one of the oldest texts in English – Aelfric’s translation of Genesis – in the […]

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chopsticks fork

Fresh Off the Boat and the language of the Asian-American experience

Fresh Off the Boat, the newest addition to the American TV channel ABC’s primetime lineup, has garnered more than its share of attention in the lead-up to its recent debut. Based on restaurateur Eddie Huang’s critically-acclaimed memoir, it’s the first sitcom in 20 years since Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl to feature an Asian-American family at […]

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Language fit for a queen

British queens – whether monarchs in their own right or married to a king – have had an impact on English language, as befits royalty. Perhaps most obvious is the use of their names to refer to historical periods (such as the Victorian or Elizabethan eras), but that is far from their only legacy to […]

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Exploring the language of longitude

Words can be difficult and scary. Everyone has words that they can’t spell or can’t pronounce. I always say rhetoric wrong, and inevitably still get the ‘i’ and ‘e’ in receive the wrong way around. But words also scare us when they come with memories of difficult school lessons, or signify something that we only […]

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