September 27, 2011
by Graham
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Political language

The newspapers and news and current affairs programmes this week are full of Labour “apologising” for the mistakes they made during their period of office between 1997 and 2010. I do not remember politicians ever apologising for their own actions … Continue reading

September 13, 2011
by Graham
9 Comments

A “new” word

They say (whoever ‘they’ are) that travel broadens the mind. In my case it’s just broadened my vocabulary. I’ve come back from a fortnight’s holiday in Germany with a new word in my armoury – cater-cornered. I had never come … Continue reading

August 4, 2011
by Graham
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Nordic languages

The Germanic group of Indo-European languages split into three sub-groups – East, West and North Germanic. East Germanic, now extinct, included Gothic, in which the earliest  example of a Germanic language in writing – the extracts from the Bible translated … Continue reading

July 24, 2011
by Graham
3 Comments

Utøya

The tragic and shocking news from Norway in the last days has brought the name of this formerly insignificant island in a lake not far from Oslo to the world’s attention. The name means “the outer island”, illustrating the Scandinavian … Continue reading

July 7, 2011
by Graham
10 Comments

Phonetic twaddle

I’ve just come across this, entitled “Learning Pronunciation with Dictionary IPA” and was appalled. Macquarie University is quite rightly acclaimed as the home of the standard Dictionary for Australian English, which you would think would entitle users of the language … Continue reading