Video: is a jellyfish a fish?

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Did you know that ‘potato’ can be a verb? Discover the language of this versatile veggie in Courtney Shove’s guest blog post.

One potato, two potatoes: the linguistic and nutritional value of spuds

Plump, dirty, and riddled with dimples, the humble potato rarely gets the attention it deserves — unless, of course, Peru and Chile are arguing over who produced them first. I think potatoes should fill us with a sense of awe. Hear me out. Not only can they be scalloped, mashed, and French fried, but potatoes […]

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Why English is so hard to learn: adjective order

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Join guest blogger Natalie King on a linguistic trip to the not-yet-gentrified parts of London to explore the city's urban slang.

Urban London slang: an introduction for hipsters

In 1969 Ralph McTell sang ‘let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London…’ Well, reader, permit me to do the same. We’re going on a linguistic journey to urban London. You can leave your Lonely Planet guide to the city behind. And you can forget the name of […]

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BFG Dahl dictionary

Why Gobblefunk is not gobbledegook

As Roald Dahl fans around the globe gear up for the author’s centenary this month, which also sees some of his invented words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary, many will be brushing up on their gobblefunk: that unmistakably Dahlesque language full of gloriumptiously jumpsquiffling and wondercrump words. But although the name gobblefunk sounds […]

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lots-of-books

One hundred years of Roald Dahl: an Oxford English Dictionary update

It’s time for another quarterly update to the OED, and we have more than 1,000 revised and updated entries including 1,200 new senses for you to explore, as well as an anniversary to celebrate. This month marks the centenary of the birth of author, screenwriter (and sometime fighter pilot) Roald Dahl, and to mark this […]

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Next to reading Jane Austen's novels, we love watching adaptations of them - but how historically accurate has the dialogue been over the past few years?

Love and language in Jane Austen adaptions

Jane Austen achieved some success as an author during her own lifetime. Her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility (1811), was reviewed well and sold out of copies after about a year. Her second, Pride and Prejudice also sold well as did Mansfield Park, followed by Emma. She completed six novels in all, but the […]

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The West Wing once claimed that there were only three English words beginning with 'dw'. We disagree!

Quiz: words beginning with ‘dw’

“There are three words in the English language, and three words only, that begin with the letters ‘dw’,” claims President Bartlet in The West Wing. The three that the show proceeds to list – dwindle, dwarf, and dwell – are certainly the most common. Each of these has related forms (e.g. dwarfling), but there are […]

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