Posts

Where does 'catch a cold' come from?

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Lest the bargain should catch cold and starve. (Iachimo, Act 1 Scene 4)   Shakespeare introduces the phrase 'to catch cold' in Cymbeline (1610). This was his 'comeback'  play after theatres had been 'dark' (closed) for a long period due to a plague epidemic in London.  'Catch cold' is a euphemism here. Iachimo is thinking of something more serious than a blocked nose and a sore throat. The Common Cold: Vocabulary Worksheet

What is the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic?

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An epidemic is the rapid spread of an infectious disease, usually in a particular area over a short period of time. E pidemiologists look for these additional key features a high number of infections in relation to the expected number. Endemic diseases (like influenza) return every year but usually at a low and predictable rate. spread accelerated by person-to-person transmission a rapidly increasing morbidity rate (proportion of the population with disease)  a population that extends beyond shared accommodation (not a cruise ship, for example, where the world outbreak would be used.) For endemic diseases an epidemic can be clearly marked on a statistical chart - with a sudden rising curve .  Here the data from hospital visits in the US suggests a possible influenza epidemic in the winter of 2007/8  (credit: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from ' The language of epidemiology ') With a new pathogen, it is more difficult to identify the start

Where does the word Halloween come from?

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Photo by  freestocks.org  on  Unsplash Halloween or All-Hallows-Eve takes place on the night of 31 October.  

Where does the word baseball come from?

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

Who is Shashibiya?

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Few will be surprised to discover that Shakespeare (transcribed  Shashibiya)  never visited China. Nor was his work widely known there until comparatively recently.  The first confirmed appearance of the name Shashibiya in a Chinese language publication was a brief mention in a translation of Milner’s The History of England in 1857. But it was the publication of Lin Shu’s Tales from Shakespeare in 1904 that first brought the Bard to a wider Chinese audience.  Lin Shu remarketed Shashibiya for a Chinese readership. He promoted the plays as traditional ‘stories of gods and spirits’. One of these tales was used for the first professional production of Shakespeare in China: a staging of The Merchant of Venice in 1913. Sha Weng, or Old Man Sha, became an icon of modernity amongst Chinese intellectuals. Universities were a centre of protest against 'old China' and Shakespeare was seen as symbolic of what were perceived as progressive western ideas. He was still a cult

What is Bloomsday?

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On June 16, 1904 James Joyce met his future wife, Nora. He later memorialised the date as Bloomsday - the day of  Leopold Bloom 's  twenty-four hour mock-odyssey around Dublin in Ulysses (1922).  Ulysses  is renowned for the daunting challenge it poses readers ( see here for a brief beginner's guide). It also weighs in at at close to a thousand pages in the paperback edition.  What happens on Bloomsday? Joyce - whose self-importance  matched his monumental talent - believed Ulysses would provide scholars with 'a lifetime' of material. Doubtless, he would think it fitting that thousands now attend public readings of his work - most famously in Dublin where Bloomsday is a major tourist event.   What happens in Ulysses? English Language Teaching Pack   -  only £1.99