There are 7 posts.
In the second half of our vowel quiz, we think about the ‘other’ 10 contrastive vowels of British English. Our dictionary pronunciations use special symbols to represent these, because the spelling often doesn’t tell us what vowel sound to make and can even be totally misleading! In the quiz below we’ve grouped together words based […]more
The English alphabet has just 5 vowels, but British English has around 20 contrasting vowel sounds. Our dictionary pronunciations use special symbols to represent these, because the spelling often doesn’t tell us what vowel sound to make and can even be totally misleading! In the quiz below we’ve grouped together words based on Oxford English […]more
The English alphabet has 21 consonants, but there are 24 meaningfully different consonant sounds (25 if you count the one at the end of the Scottish pronunciation of loch, though speakers of several varieties use a ‘k’ sound). Yet English does not make use of every possible combination of consonant and vowel sounds. There is […]more
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important” – Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). There is considerable fascination – quite rightly so – with the longest words in the English language. But an equally curious feature is that of the […]more
To celebrate the launch of our new Oxford Arabic Dictionary (in print and online), the Chief Editor, Tressy Arts, explains why she decided to become an Arabist… When I tell people I’m an Arabist, they often look at me like they’re waiting for the punchline. Some confuse it with aerobics and look at me dubiously […]more
It’s probably safe to say that most of us don’t give much thought to how plural nouns are formed in English. In fact, add –s or –es, whatever a word’s origin or meaning, might be one of the easiest grammatical rules in the language. So we have book / books, church / churches, hula / […]more