What's the meaning of 'what's up'?

 Taken from & An apparently simple question can cause great confusion. An American colleague of mine used to greet me every morning with question 'what's up?' to which I would reply 'Nothing' or 'I'm fine.' After the third time it occurred that for her the question was an all purpose greeting whereas to British ears it meant 'what is the problem?' or 'is something wrong?'. The American usage is gradually taking over but the confusion remains - more interesting thoughts on this  here Use offer code CQDWKF0 to download English FAQ Teaching Pack  for only £1.99

Did The Beatles change the English language?

The Beatles first flew into New York in February 1964. Part of their appeal was what to American ears was a charmingly fresh approach to the  English language.  Interestingly, this came across more in their spoken interviews than their song lyrics - the early ones followed the established 'American' style ('I want to hold your hand'). But success gave them the confidence to draw on cultural and linguistic references that were incomprehensible to American ears -  the  National Health Service  (from ‘Dr Robert’) or the  News of the World  (‘Polythene Pam’), and British English vocabulary like ‘ ring  my friend’ (‘Dr Robert’ again: Americans would say  call ), ‘time for  tea ’ (‘Good Morning, Good Morning’: see sense 3  here ), and  dressing gown  (‘She’s Leaving Home’ – it’s a  bathrobe  in American English). Not to mention those  plasticine  porters in ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ – the American equivalent  Play-Doh  doesn’t quite work here. ( source) The Beat

What is a debt default? And the debt ceiling?

To default on a debt is to fail to make a scheduled payment on a loan.  A sovereign debt default is when a country defaults on money it owes - as happened to Argentina in the early 1990s, for example. What is the 'debt ceiling'? The above video describes the political dimension of the debt ceiling. The US debt now stands at $21 trillion - see debt clock here .  Some economists argue that this debt level is unsustainable in the long term. The key question  Democrats and Republicans battle over is what to do about this.

Ten Key Tech Terms for teachers?

Confusing Tech Terms?   What is a MOOC?   What is BYOD?

Who invented the word chortle?

Louis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass' (1872). To chortle is to a laugh at something which amuses or pleases you. It suggests a combination of the sound of chuckling (with amusement) and snorting (with derision). Other Louis Caroll words and phrases in common use include: jaberwocky and galumping  but, perhaps surprisingly, not mad as a  hatter . English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack     -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0

When do we give a 'heads up' to someone? Why?

When we wish to inform someone about the details of a particular theme, topic, item or person - I'll give you the heads up about the new policy. The idiom   appears to have a military origin -  a heads up indicating that an important announcement was pending. An early citation for the contemporary use of 'heads up from 1977 Early use in the late 1970s stressed the importance of the information supplied: "In a message characterized as a 'heads up alert', intelligence officials warned ... that Arab diplomats had suggested that Ambassador Andrew Young meet with a Palestine Liberation Organization official."  The Washington Post , August 1979 In recent years, however, 'to give a heads-up' has become synonymous with the less glamorous 'inform' English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack     -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0