Archive for August, 2013

Today is apparently National Burger Day. For those of us more interested in words than in food (who am I kidding?), here’s the etymology of burger (and of hamburger), courtesy of the Online Etymology Dictionary. burger (n.) 1939, American English, shortened from hamburger (q.v.). hamburger (n.) 1610s, “native of Hamburg;” the meat product so called […]

Gary Muddyman of Conversis has written an interesting blog post – Is Britain becoming a nation of monoglots? – on the decline in language learning in UK schools. The post includes links for further reading (and viewing) on this worrying subject. Is there anything we, as people who love language and languages, can do to encourage […]

Yesterday, 16 August, was International Apostrophe Day, and the cue for lots of apostrophe articles and Twitter posts. The following quick guide to when and how to use an apostrophe was taken from an article in The Guardian by David Marsh: If you can’t use an apostrophe, you don’t know your shit. How to use an apostrophe […]

I love a good style guide. And I applaud anyone encouraging the use of clear English. But the GOV.UK style guide, produced by the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service (GDS) for the GOV.UK website (the new portal bringing together all, or most, of the UK’s government websites), is really bugging me. More specifically, the part on plain […]

One of the problems bilingual families face when choosing their babies’ names is finding something that’s easy to pronounce in both parents’ countries and languages and for both sets of relatives. We didn’t follow that rule when our first child, a boy, was born. We were living in Rome at the time but for me […]