5 New Words in the Oxford English Dictionary

Do you like words? Of course you do! If you are reading this, you are probably an English language student looking to improve your English. Well, you have definitely come to the right place! No language can be communicated without words! ‘But what about grammar?’ we hear you ask. Yes, grammar is extremely important and without some grammar it is difficult to understand the language you may be reading, listening to or even trying to use yourself. But without words, there is no grammar! How can you even produce a grammatically correct sentence if you don’t have the words to form it? So, what is one of the better ways to learn or check new vocabulary than to head to the Oxford Dictionary! Did you know that the Oxford Dictionary has 273,000 headwords? 171,476 of those words are currently used regularly. That is a lot of words! Did you know that the best thing about the Oxford Dictionary is that each year it is updated to include new words? So, what are 2020’s latest additions to the dictionary? Well, as you can probably imagine after this year, many of the new terms relate to COVID 19. Let’s take a closer look at 5 of the most important ones that you may need to use or understand. C-19 Contract Tracing Front Liner Physical distancing Zoom Simple definitions C-19 (n.) – A shortened version of COVID 19 Contract Tracing (n.) – Finding people who have been near someone who has an infectious disease. Contract tracing aims to tell these people that they should stay at home (self-isolate) for a period of time and not pass the disease on to other people. Front Liner (n.) – A person working closest to a difficult or dangerous situation. During the C-19 pandemic, doctors and nurses … Read more

The Language Instinct

Book Recommendation: If you are an advanced English learner, or English teacher, or just interested in language and where it comes from, I’d like to recommend the following book: Steven Pinker: The Language Instinct (Penguin Books, 2000) Basically investigating where language, and our linguistic ability comes from, it raises questions about why our languages are all so different, why English spelling is so confusing (there’s a very good reason for this!) and contains some fascinating facts about world languages.  Did you know…? – 84% of English words follow some kind of spelling ‘pattern’, so the spelling is not as random as it seems… – Every English verb has only 4 possible forms: walk, walks, walking, walked. In Spanish each verb has 50 forms. In Turkish each verb has 2,000,000 forms!!! So learners of English are quite lucky in this respect… – Despite what you may think, Eskimos do NOT have 200 words for snow. They have about 4. English, on the other hand, has over 10. How many can you think of? – Of the world’s 6000 languages, it is estimated that up to 3000 are dying, or already dead. Approximately 90% of languages will be extinct in the next 100 years. – My grandmother always used to say: “Never finish a sentence with a preposition!” How, then, could she explain the following sentence, which ends in 5 prepositions?? (father brings a book upstairs to read Johnny a bedtime story) Johnny: “Dad! Why did you bring that book that I don’t want to be read out of up for?” And here are some questions to think about: – Are we born with a natural language ability or do we have to learn it? – Why does it get harder to learn a language when you get older? – How many words … Read more