Category Archives: Language

Swearing – a sign of wit and intelligence?

It might seem counterintuitive but scientists have found that swearing fluency is actually a sign of more intelligence and greater vocabulary rather than less. As Richard Stevens, writing in The Conversation says: … swearing appears to be a feature of … Continue reading

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Language loss in dementia: you have to laugh

  I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.  Dr Seuss My mother has a … Continue reading

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Cracking wise – the art of the hard-boiled sentence

Writing hard-boiled crime fiction isn’t as easy as it may seem. Although it appears to have a consistent structure, and a heavy emphasis on style, putting the elements together to create truly memorable lines takes skill. The prose of writers … Continue reading

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Humanist celebrants celebrate humanity

At the beginning of 2016 I was accepted onto a British Humanist Association (BHA) training programme to become a humanist wedding celebrant. It’s been a fascinating experience and I’m looking forward to working with couples to help them shape meaningful … Continue reading

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Decoding the Russian alphabet

A recent trip to St Petersburg in Russia was a delight. I was there at the end of June, during the period of the White Nights, when the sun doesn’t set. It’s a magical time to visit this gorgeous city … Continue reading

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Bett Slapper: welcome to the world of spoonerisms

Last week’s arrest in Zurich of seven members of FIFA (football’s world governing body) threw an intense spotlight on the subsequent re-election of FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter. But amid all the column inches written and all the media and internet … Continue reading

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Buffing up on Buffy speak…

I missed the now cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer first time around but I’m currently watching my way through the third series with my teenage daughter. Created by writer-director Joss Whedon, Buffy is an American TV series which originally … Continue reading

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The joy of slang

Love it or loathe it, slang (or non-standard English) is all around us. Language purists try in vain to impose rules that would keep language constrained to what they would define as ‘proper’ usage but the joy of English (and … Continue reading

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The History of English – in 10 minutes

Back in 2011, The Open University produced a fun series of short videos called The History of English in 10 minutes. Produced by the Open Learn section of The Open University, these videos are a fantastic free resource to anyone … Continue reading

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Inspector Montalbano: the world of Italian hand gestures

With the nights drawing in and temperatures beginning to drop here in the UK, what a tonic BBC4′s Italian police drama Inspector Montalbano is proving to be. I can swap grey, chilly London for the gorgeous sunlit laneways and Baroque … Continue reading

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