Tag Archives: Humour

Are you a serious word nerd? Here are 7 signs that give it away

13 May

BrainGain Magazine started this Word Nerd series in March 2016. Since then we’ve written about Americanisms, the secrets to writing a good sentence, to best way to insult someone, accents, and other oddities of this common language we speak. For this edition, we thought about the series itself, and its name. We thought too about […]

Word Nerd: 10 German loanwords that English is never giving back

11 Mar

When stepping out of your comfort zone to study abroad, learning a new language is often one of the major reasons. At least it was for me when I traveled westward from Germany as a foreign exchange student to spend a year at an American high-school. For me, learning a language in a classroom, online, […]

Word Nerd: 5 words banished from the Queen’s English in 2018

8 Jan

Every year since 1976, the Lake Superior State University publishes an annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness. Although the first list was inspired by the pet peeves of LSSU’s late public relations W.T. Rabe and his friends, the list is now culled from thousands of international […]

Word Nerd: German, the original hashtag language

4 Dec

You know how hashtags work. A hashtag is a hash sign followed by a word. Sometimes a phrase is compounded into a single word. People can intuitively understand its meaning from either the word itself or the context. Sometimes, though, it’s possible to take it #TooFar #BeyondAllReason #DoesItEvenMakeAnySenseAnyMore #ICantEven. Well, if you thought this was […]

Word Nerd: 5 words that are their own opposites

23 Oct

Even if you don’t know Hawaiian, you’ve probably heard the word ‘aloha’ and know it is used as both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. The Italian ‘ciao’ is similar. In Hindi, ‘kal’ can mean either yesterday or tomorrow, which probably goes a long way in explaining Indian attitudes towards deadlines. Such words with two opposite meanings are […]

Word Nerd: 5 Hinglish words that don’t travel well

18 Sep

If you’re an English-speaking Indian, there are bound to be some words that you fully believe are English. And with good reason: they can be found in an English dictionary. But to someone from another English-speaking country, their peculiarly Indian usage can be a head-scratcher. And that’s the best-case scenario – in the worst case, […]

Word Nerd: The silliest languages of the internet

21 Aug

In the beginning was the word, and the word was LOL, and from it, all memes were made. First came the cat jokes. They soon became so popular that even this €5.6 billion telecom company felt that this was a good way to impress people: The story goes back to 2006, when a Hawaii-based software […]

Word Nerd: Why is spam called spam?

17 Jul

At every stage of civilization, human beings have battled different scourges ranging from the plague to dandruff. One of the scourges of our digital age is spam. The word generally refers to intrusive advertising on the internet. If you have email and a mobile phone, you have probably received such messages from strangers urging you […]

Word Nerd: 8 weird definitions that you never thought belonged in a dictionary

3 Jul

Open any dictionary today – whether online or print, and look up a word. Even if you look at a word that’s funny, for instance a name you can call a person, the definition will be simple and precise. It’s easy to forget that these definitions have been written by real people with opinions and […]

Word Nerd: 5 hilarious Hinglish habits and how to drop them

26 Jun

Speaking and using more than one language is a great gift for our brain. But, it comes with its own (conquerable) set of challenges! For one, learning the grammar and vocabulary of a second language often seems easier than acquiring its syntax and idioms. Secondly, progressing from a listener to a reader/ writer and a […]