Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

Is Polish the most difficult language to learn?

How ethical is it to start working in a country where you don’t speak the local language? Before I started teaching English in Poland, this question didn’t trouble me in the slightest. When I taught in Sardinia, I spoke enough Italian to get by; and nobody in Cambodia expected foreign teachers to speak any Khmer […]

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An Arnold Palmer is a refreshing, summery drink made by mixing equal parts iced tea and lemonade and named for the American professional golfer Arnold Palmer.

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘Arnold Palmer’?

Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]

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Finnish: an origin story

Finnish: an origin story

Despite being a Nordic country (Scandinavia consist only of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) and sharing Europe’s longest border with Russia, the Finnish language is the tall blond stranger in this company. On the origin of Finns As many of you will know, the origins of a language are not necessarily the same as the origins […]

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corpus misspellings

Top ten misspelled words in our corpus

For many students of English, and some native speakers as well, English spelling can be confusing given all the idiosyncrasies and apparent inconsistencies that make up the written language. As Ian Brookes has argued in a previous blog post, the difficulties partly arise from the fact that the spellings of English words reflect their origins […]

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While there are some similarities in dialect from town to town in Yorkshire, there are a few differences to be heard ‘an all’.

What I’ve learned since moving to Yorkshire

On the occasion that you offer someone a free – and perfectly fresh – slice of cake (it doesn’t happen very often, let me tell you), you half expect your hand to be very much snapped off. Or at the very least, an ‘It looks lovely ta, but I’m dieting’, accompanied with a sorry pat […]

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What is your least favourite English word? With our #OneWordMap you can now let the whole world know.

#OneWordMap: mapping the world’s least favourite words

Update: We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website. What if everybody in the world could answer the same question with a single word? It could be almost any question, so long as it could be answered with one word – revealing trends and […]

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The Battenberg Cake was given its current name to celebrate the 1884 marriage of Prince Louis of Battenberg to a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, also called Victoria.

5 elaborate cakes with equally elaborate names

Readers with a sweet tooth will be interested to note that at the end of July each year, dessert-lovers around the world celebrate Cheesecake Day. As well as being the perfect excuse to indulge, Cheesecake Day honours a cake thought to have its origins in Ancient Greece, which just goes to show that not much […]

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To date, region-specific pronunciations for words from 10 varieties of English have been added to the OED, namely Scottish, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysian, and Philippine English.

Shibboleth, Sibboleth: pronouncing international Englishes

‘Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right’ says Judges 12:6 of the King James Bible. The word Shibboleth was adopted more broadly to refer to language which can be used to identify those who belong (or rather, do not belong) to […]

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