Tag Archives: vocabulary

Word Nerd: 4 words from fantasy fiction that are now part of our real lives

29 Apr

In 1989, ‘hobbit’, a creature from from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It comes as no surprise that Tolkien, who is considered the godfather of fantasy writing thanks to his genre defining Lord of the Rings, had a word from his fictional universe recorded in the […]

Word Nerd: 5 English words that owe their cool factor to hip-hop

16 Mar

By Anandamayee Singh In 2018, rapper Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN. At 31, Lamar became the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer in a category normally overrun by classical composers. His win came fifty years after the explosion of hip-hop in the streets of Bronx, making it, more than […]

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, […]

7 posh French phrases that are now popular in English

8 Oct

Author: Pratibha Alagh What if we told you English belongs to same language family as Dutch – Germanic, but that it has more features in common with French, an offspring of the Romance languages? Strange, right? But, when it comes to languages, it’s not all about the roots. What is at play is another very […]

Word Nerd: 6 magical English words from Greco-Roman mythology

17 Jan

Since ancient times, mythology has helped form a bridge between abstraction and personification, between imagination and belief, and mind and speech. Myth is a feature of every culture. In fundamental ways, it helps explain the world to us. The means of that explanation is language. Naturally, myths are embedded in our vocabulary. Often, we use […]

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 Aztec words that you definitely know

6 Nov

Technically, the language spoken by the Aztecs is known as Nahuatl, and there are many variants of it. It’s the language Europeans heard in the 16th century, when they first arrived in the great city of Tenochtitlan (the site of today’s Mexico City). Nahuatl has been spoken for more than 1,000 years in Mexico, where […]

Word Nerd: 7 words of wisdom that India gifted to the English language

16 Oct

Language and history often go hand in hand. The words we use – or don’t use – often contain fascinating stories within them that carry a good deal of meaning beyond the dictionary definition. Here are a few – feel free to add some of your own in the comments! 1. Ahimsa This Sanskrit word […]

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, […]