Did you watch the “English 3.0” video examining the question: is the Internet having a detrimental effect on English and on “standards”? Here are my thoughts on the question. Social media = online conversation Much of the “bad writing” we see online is really just a form of conversation. People writing on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites are […]

…the phrase means: A person suited for one job may not be suited for another job. The practice of choosing the best person for a particular job. Once again, the Wikipedia family (in this case Wiktionary) refers to the translation profession to illustrate usage: The term is widely used in the foreign-language translation industry, where […]

Just enough time for one more gift idea for book lovers: “Spell It Out –The Singular Story of English Spelling”, by David Crystal. In the words of the publishers, Profile Books: Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out, our foremost linguistics expert David […]

“An object-lesson in how not to contract out a public service”. That’s how the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, described the centralised system for supplying interpreters to the justice system. (See also my previous post on Ministry of Justice language services). Headlines have included: “Court interpreter farce halts murder trial” […]

I became an “empty-nester” when my daughter moved away in September to attend Leeds College of Music. Harry, our son, had left two years earlier. So lots of changes — emotional changes and practical ones too (for example, loading up the washing machine far less often and struggling to get to 30 items to qualify for […]

It’s been a while since I wrote about my (and your) favourite or least favourite words. But at Glasgow’s State of the City Economy Conference last week (9 Nov), some of the buzzwords and -phrases used by the speakers set my teeth on edge. And then I read a Macmillan Dictionary blog post on nouning and verbing, so […]

Merriam-Webster’s “Trend Watch” reported a spike in lookups of the word “hunker” in the run-up to Hurricane (Superstorm?) Sandy. They give this CNN headline as an example: “From Maine to South Carolina, states hunker down for storm.” Here’s the definition of hunker, from the Online Etymology Dictionary: hunker (v.) “to squat, crouch,” 1720, Scottish, of uncertain […]

Do you ever find that a certain word or phrase keeps cropping up in your work? In your source material, I mean, not your end-product. For me right now it’s “credibility” (or credibilità, to be precise). That’s because I do a lot of translation and editing for Italian government organisations and Italy is focused on […]

The organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games are making a big effort to ensure that the whole of the United Kingdom feels included in the event. There was a great fuss on the BBC news yesterday (18 May) about the arrival and planned relay — covering the length and breadth of the UK, with a […]