Archive for April, 2010

I wrote the other day about scent, as one of my favourite words (serendipity’s another). Scent isn’t a word you’d normally associate with the war in Afghanistan. But it cropped up in a Radio Scotland programme, Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War in Their Own Words, recounting life in the Afghan war zones. The account takes […]

We’ve been nominated as one of the Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 competition organised by LexioPhiles. As you can imagine, we’re well chuffed! Nominations are open until 11 May (23:59 hours German time). Voting will then take place from 12-24 May 2010. If you’d like to nominate Words to good effect (and we hope you […]

The British Council’s 75th anniversary poll of its students’ English language preferences also surveyed their least favoured words. The 10 most disliked English words were: Cancer Racism Corruption Terrorism Slavery Flatulence Killing Study Herringbone Fail Pretty understandable choices, although flatulence seems a far lesser evil compared with others on the list. But you can’t help […]

My last post was about words we don’t like. This one’s about words we do. To celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2009, the British Council conducted a poll to find out its students’ favourite English words. The top ten were: Love God Peace Awesome Hello Freedom Gorgeous Sunshine Health Happiness In another poll, carried out […]

I had a Twitter conversation recently with Ashleigh Grange of Plush Text Communications and Janine Libbey of P & L Translations about words we dislike. Ashleigh’s language bugbear of the day was incentivise, Janine’s prioritise and mine diarise. My current handbag-book for the train and doctors’/dentists’ waiting rooms is “The English Language” by David Crystal. I was surprised to find […]

In a survey by the Travelodge hotel group, 5000 Brits voted the Geordie accent (Newcastle and the north-east) the nation’s sexiest. They clearly don’t appreciate the finer tones in life: “Bahookie”, by the way, is a Scottish word for your bottom, behind, backside, or “rearward contours”. One look at the Glaswegians thronging the city streets […]

The best way to make your web site welcoming to visitors isn’t a big “Welcome” mat on the home page. The trick is to put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and make your site easy and enjoyable to use. Simplicity, ease of navigation and consistency are the key words here. I recently visited the Herald Scotland […]

A test conducted by compared ink consumption for different fonts. Century Gothic was found to use 30% less ink than Arial, used as a benchmark, and less even than Ecofont, designed with low consumption in mind. I use Century Gothic a lot as I like fonts with open “a” counters. For my old logo, my designer chose […]

I knew this would happen – the minute I blog about spelling, I make a spelling mistake on Twitter. The tweet was about creative and tech-savvy CV ideas, as featured in the Huffington Post. An area, I commented, where Elle Woods of Legally Blond Blonde led the way with her Harvard application on video. That’ll […]

I work with language, so it goes without saying (I hope) that I care about spelling. That said, I don’t think texting heralds the death of the English language and I don’t fall from my chair with horror if an email or text arrives with minor spelling mistakes. Indeed, I think texting and Twitterese are new […]