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Articles about English words and language from around the world!

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Mothering Sunday cards are using 'Mom' instead of 'Mum' as a language expert warns of Americanisation ..
11 March 2018

By Nicola Harley and Katie Morley, consumer affairs editor - Daily Telegraph, UK

Mothering Sunday cards are using 'Mom' instead of 'Mum' as a language expert warns of the Americanisation of Britain.

Dating back to the 16th century, it was once a religious day to spend with ones family but now the British celebration is turning American.

For the first time Paperchase is selling 'Mom' cards alongside its traditional mother and mum selections.

Almost 10 per cent of its range this year feature the word 'Mom', a study by the Telegraph found.

It is the first UK card retailer to make the move and language experts believe it is due to the popularity of American children's shows influencing the way youngsters speak.

Professor Paul Baker, an expert in linguistics from Lancaster University, conducted a study into the use of American words in the English language and is "surprised" at the move.

"In Britain the word mother is more frequently used. Generally British people are not using the word mom. It is usually mum or mam in the north," he said.

"Mom is a popular American word and it is very interesting that the card company has decided to adopt it. 

"It goes against the grain as most of the language changes which are adopted in Britain are related to grammar and are more subtle. In terms of words over the last 100 years we have seen words such as cop and boss being used.

"But the word mom is a surprise to me, it suggests something quite interesting. My nephews watch American cartoons and use words from them. It could be linked to children's exposure to American television programmes and hearing the word 'Mom' is seeing them using it more."

The term 'Mom' is often associated with the American language but it is also a term used in the Midlands.

Birmingham language expert Professor Carl Chinn says he has evidence of 'Mom' being used prior to the First World War.

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Man Hopes to Define Every English Word with a Limerick..
06 March 2018

There are many different methods for studying languages and learning new words.

One man has come up with his own unusual way to define the meanings of words - through rhyming. He uses words that end with the same sound or a similar sound.

Chris Strolin, an American from Belleville, Illinois, is working on an English language reference guide completely made up of limericks. A limerick is a humorous five-line poem with an orderly structure of rhymes.

A limerick follows a set of rules. The last words in lines one, two and five must sound alike. The last words in lines three and four must rhyme with each other. Lines one, two and five must have nine sounds or parts, while lines three and four must have six syllables.

Strolin says the idea for his dictionary started out as a joke when he suggested it to some of his language-loving friends. His joke centered on the Oxford English Dictionary, a highly-respected publication produced in Britain. It defines 600,000 words. Strolin told his friends that while the Oxford dictionary was good, it could be improved. His not-so-serious suggestion was to use limericks.

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Word in the news: Mastermind..
28 March 2016

by Charlotte Buxton, OUP Blog, Oxford, UK

In a speech made after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama criticized the media’s use of the word mastermind to describe Abdelhamid Abaaoud. “He’s not a mastermind,” he stated. “He found a few other vicious people, got hands on some fairly conventional weapons, and sadly, it turns out that if you’re willing to die you can kill a lot of people.”

Why did Obama single out this particular word? What in its history and current use make it a problematic term?

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