Beadazzled is the name of a shop in a small town in the UK. A church in a city in Australia encourages passersby to "Prevent Truth Decay – Brush up on you Bible." These signs create something linguists Rodrigue Landry and Richard Y. Bourhis defined as "the linguistic landscape of a given territory, region or urban agglomeration" and they are all useful tools in the teaching of English to non-native speakers. Continue reading...
How did a small middle school in Virginia earn a third place national finish in the 2014-2015 Vocab Bowl? One teacher's creative contest-making gave kids min-goals to aim for all year long. Continue reading...
We've redesigned the look and added some new features to Vocabulary Lists to make it easier to find and store the lists you most want to use. Continue reading...
It's NBA Finals time—a time I love. I've been watching the NBA since I was a wee lad, back in the mythical time of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and the Minotaur. (I think the Minotaur played for Portland, but let me fact-check that.) Continue reading...
Topics: Words Fun Language
In the last year, Hollywood has brought a whole lot of vocabulary learning to the silver screen, from the minions of Despicable Me 2 fame, to a host of mal- words brought to mind by Maleficent , and the vocabulary-heavy Divergent/Insurgent franchise. This weekend, those of us who go to movies hoping to get scared out of our seats are offered Insidious: Chapter 3. Continue reading...
Topics: Vocabulary Fun
I love everything about used bookstores—except their negative effect on my wallet. I recently found another wallet-drainer—and a gem of a word book—in Chicago's wonderful Myopic Books: Hash House Lingo: The Slang of Soda Jerks, Short-Order Cooks, Bartenders, Waitresses, Carhops and Other Denizens of Yesterday's Roadside. Continue reading...
Topics: Usage Words Fun
On the latest episode of the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I take a look at a classic Yiddishism: kibitz, which can mean "make unwanted comments (as a spectator at a card game)," or something more general like "chitchat." While it's a word with a rich history, its origins are ultimately mysterious. Continue reading...
Last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee saw the first tie since 1962, with co-champions hoisting the big trophy together. This year it was déjà vu all over again, as Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam battled to the finish, exhausting the championship word list and finishing as co-champs. Continue reading...