The earliest surviving English-language recipes came from the kitchens of kings and their great nobles. Richard II’s Master Cooks boasted that their Forme of Cury contained only the ‘best and royallest viand of all Christian Kings’, and, what’s more, had been approved by the king’s physicians and philosophers. Healthy eating issues and celebrity endorsements are […]
Travelling around Britain, as I’ve been doing this week, I have been struck, as anyone would be, by the profusion of national flags. Not only are they to be found draped on cars and pinned in bedroom windows this year, the British flag is also being displayed on civic flagpoles, high-street lamp-posts, and pub-signs, and […]
Quidditch is a sport created by Rowling in the Harry Potter series of novels, which have now sold over 450 million copies and have been translated into 67 languages. The global popularity of the books has led to worldwide exposure for Quidditch, and even to this fictional sport being adapted for the Muggle (or non-wizard) […]
How much do you really know about where your vocabulary comes from? Do you know your Latin roots from your Greek ones? How about Japanese from Cantonese? Hebrew from Hawaiian? Test your knowledge in our interactive etymology quiz and find out if you are a student, an amateur or an expert etymologist. You can find […]
English spelling is full of apparent idiosyncrasies – native speakers and learners alike grapple with doubling consonants, how to form plurals, ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’’, and have to dodge umpteen other potential pitfalls. Another rich source of mistakes is the fact that English contains pairs of similar-sounding words (homophones). These words have different […]
Many sports fans will be familiar with the verb tonk, which is widely used to describe the action of giving a ball a good firm hit. Less familiar, but common enough, is the noun tonk describing the same action. Both are of course in the Oxford English Dictionary, with histories traced back to the early […]
Word of the Day: perfin - a postage stamp perforated with company initials...... ow.ly/trga501Z8Gh
A noun and a verb sit at a bar. Verb: ‘Hey, wanna go back to my place and conjugate?’ Noun: ‘I decline.’ Tweet us your #languagejokes!