Posts

What is quantitative easing?

Image
Quantitative easing is when a government pumps 'new' money directly into the economy. It  does this is by buying assets - usually financial assets such as government and corporate bonds.  The financial institutions selling those assets (e.g banks) can then boost the economy by lending this new money to businesses. Why is QE unusual? The normal way a government stimulates economic growth is by a) reducing the cost of borrowing  b) lowering taxes, particularly on business investment. The problem in the current financial crisis has been that interest rates are already at historic lows. As a result some governments (notably the US and to a lesser extent the UK) have attempted to inject money directly into the economy.  The European  Central Bank has resisted QE until recently. Some would argue that this has been a factor in the weakness of the European economic recovery English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack   -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0

Dude! Where does the word dude come from?

Image
with thanks to Taking English One Thumb at a Time ( dūd, dyūd )  n. Informal . An Easterner or city person who vacations on a ranch in the West. Informal . A man who is very fancy or sharp in dress and demeanor. Slang . A man; a fellow. dudes  Persons of either sex. tr.v. ,  dud·ed ,  dud·ing ,  dudes . Slang . To dress elaborately or flamboyantly:  got all duded up for the show. interj.   Slang Used to express approval, satisfaction, or congratulations. Source The  origins of the word dude are disputed but certainly predate  Dude, Where’s my Car? (2000). According to the American Heritage Dictionary:  Originally it was applied to fancy-dressed city folk who went out west on vacation. In this usage it first appears in the 1870s. A New York newspaper declared one Evan Berry (left) the ‘King of the Dudes’ in 1888. 'Dude' makes an appearance  in Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). The word also pops-up in the letters of an

What does stalwart mean? Where does the word come from?

Image
Atticus Finch:the stalwart hero of To Kill a Mockingbird  A stalwart person is reliable, dependable, resolute (or inflexible depending on your perspective.) The word is probably a  14th Century Scottish variant on a old English term: stælwierðe "good, serviceable," In the US the term acquired a political dimension with a section of the Republican Party  that refused to abandon its Civil War hostility to the south. They became known as the 'Stalwart Party', a label that stuck. A version of this post is included in the  English FAQ Teaching Pack   Download for only £1.99 with offer code CQDWKF0

Where does the word robot come from?

Image
A rare example of a Czech word ('robota') entering English: robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves, though they seem happy to serve. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited and the consequences of their treatment. source Kathleen Richardson points out in this BBC broadcast that our notions about robots are fanciful - they are generally clumsy, ineffective machines. Audio: Where does the word robot come from?’  So robots are not going to rule the world any time soon. But are they going to challenging for the Marathon Gold Medal at the next Olympics? On this evidence, perhaps not: A version of this post is included in the  English FAQ Te

What is mission creep? Where does the phrase come from?

Image
Mission creep is when an original plan or objective is progressively widened by events on the ground. Significantly the phrase has military origin Originating in Somalia in 1993, the modern term “mission creep” became part of official U.S. Army vocabulary a decade late r. Field Manual 3-07,  Stability Operations and Support Operations  (February 2003) acknowledges two types of mission creep. The first occurs when “the unit receives shifting guidance or a change in mission for which the unit is not properly configured or resourced.”  Lewis and Clark In other words limited objective you start with expands to the point where it is no longer clear.  Mission creep has also been used to describe non-military matters - financial regulation  for example . The Dictionary of Military Terms English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack     -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0

What is the origin of the word feminist?

Image
The feminists (excuse this neologism) say .... all the evil rises from the fact that we will not allow that woman is the equal of man.   Alexandre Dumas (fils) 1873 The author of The Three Musketeers  is credited with coining the word in French, with a translation of his work by G Vandenhoff introducing the English version. Interestingly, Dumas was not a sympathiser with the emerging campaign for women's rights. Even by the standards of his time he had a particularly patrician view of life "as a battle between the woman and the man."   He was very censorius about prostitution, for example, blaming the prevalence of prostitutes in Paris for the fall of the city to the Prussians in 1870. This did not prevent him from calling on their services from time to time - presumably in the interests of research