Tag: language

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus!

Language jokes for International Jokes Day

We love language and we love jokes, so it stands to reason that we love language jokes. We took to Twitter to try out some of our favourites, and asked the good people of the public to tweet us their own too. Below are our jokes, and a selection of the others that we liked […]

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“Language is fossil poetry.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson  (1803–1882)

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“An idea does not pass from one language to another without change.” - Miguel de Unamuno  (1864–1936)

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paper cut figures

Clarity about ‘the gay thing’

Sometimes, we say what we don’t really mean. ‘You look really tired’, for example, when we mean to be caring rather than disparaging of appearance. ‘I thought you were older than that!’ when we mean to applaud maturity rather than further disparage appearance. And so it is with the gay thing. The accidental difference between […]

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foreign life

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Is Polari its own language?

Is Polari its own language?

Nellyarda, zhoosh the riah, titivate, schlumph your Vera down, and palare that omee for the bevvies because I’ve nanti dinarli. (Translation: Listen, style your hair, make yourself look pretty, drink up your gin, and talk to that man to get a drink because I’m skint). The words you’ve just read are Polari words. Polari encompasses […]

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Language Hoax Quiz

Language quiz: does the world look the same in any language?

The Japanese language has a single word that encompasses both green and blue colors, whilst the Russian language has separate terms for different shades of blue. So does this mean that people who speak Russian and Japanese perceive these colors differently from English speakers? And even more questionably: are we only able to form concepts […]

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How have loanwords in English influenced the development of the language?

Loanwords in English

In Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English I examine how words borrowed from different languages have influenced English throughout its history. The above feature summarizes some of the main data from the book, focussing on the fourteen sources that have given the most words to English, as reflected by the new and revised […]

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