Wednesday, 19 October 2016

US Election Vocabulary: Electoral college? Battleground states?

US presidential elections are not decided by the popular vote (counting the number of votes obtained nationally for each candidate). Each voter  votes for a state representative to allocate a vote for the president and vice president in what is called an electoral college.

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Monday, 17 October 2016

What is the Hobson-Jobson dictionary?

In 1872 two men began work on a lexicon of words of Asian origin used by the British in India. Since its publication the 1,000-page dictionary has never been out of print

The size and scale of the Hobson-Jobson Dictionary gives an indication of the impact of words from Indian languages in English. Often they are accompanied by fascinating insights into the relationship between the two cultures. A good example is revealed in the history of the word shampoo - see here.

A podcast on Hobson-Jobson from the FT is here

English FAQ Teaching Pack   only £1.99!
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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

What is a curveball?

In American English a curveball is a deceptive or unexpected action which poses a new challenge e.g. He threw a curveball by threatening to walk out of the meeting.  

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Where does the word baseball come from?

The earliest reference to baseball comes in a diary entry of a Surrey solicitor, William Bray.
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Saturday, 1 October 2016

What is a rookie? Where does the word come from?

Ryder Cup rookies 2014
A rookie is someone recently promoted to a higher level of competition or responsibility 

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

What is Globish?

Globish is a term invented by a French business man, Jean-Paul Nerriere. It has gained academic respectability, with leading linguist Robert McCrum devoting a book to it.
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