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Word of the year?

It’s been a helluva year so far. Three prime ministers, devastating bushfires, Clive Palmer. The Australian National Dictionary Centre wants help from the public to decide on a Word of the Year for 2013. It doesn’t need to have been coined in Australia and it doesn’t even need to be new. What they’re looking for [...]

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Redefining the refugee

Fairfax media reports that Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has sent a list of appropriate terminology for referring to refugee boat arrivals, including referring to the people as ‘illegal arrivals’ and ‘detainees’. How does changing terminology change how we think about something?

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PM Gillard’s Linguistic Exemplar

It seems that Julia Gillard has been listening to the advice of the Language and Culture Network of Australian Universities (LCNAU) and Fully(sic) and has started leading by example when it comes to languages. William Steed ponders her motivation… It was only recently that I commented on LCNAU’s call for Australia’s leaders to lead by [...]

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Commenting or commentating on the polls

The prime minister doesn’t ‘commentate’ on opinions polls. Or should that be ‘comment’? Piers Kelly investigates the history of these distinct meanings.

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Up-goer Five

Big words and jargon confound and conceal – it’s a common claim. James McElvenny looks at the recent Up-goer Five craze of explaining complex topics using only the 1,000 most common words.

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Ingrid Piller scoops Talkley Award

A belated congratulations to Ingrid Piller, winner of the 2012 Talkley Award for an individual who has done the most to increase public knowledge about language. Ingrid is a very worthy recipient of this new prize due to her outstanding work as a blogger, her regular media appearances, her promotion of bilingual education and her [...]

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Improvising in Spanish

Recently spotted on Lamebook:  

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Lingua Franca

Piers Kelly writes: I’m on Lingua Franca this Saturday talking about Fully (sic) and why it’s … fully sick (and reading this post). I’m afraid that under pressure I revert to a monotone, like cornered prey trying to blend in with in with the sound of the circling wasps. For best results, I suggest you [...]

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Dialects in the mist

ABC’s Jane Cowan ran into some accent issues in Alabama, USA. She also discovered the joy of discussing language differences in a new place. Discussing and laughing together over different words and pronunciations is a great way to break the ice in a new place. Everyone can find something that’s distinctive about how they speak where they’re from – a word, a particular way of saying something or odd sayings.

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‘Kind of butthole’

James McElvenny writes… I always thought of Archie as a nice boy, but now I see that he is in fact a very rude young man, possibly due to the strain of being a teenager for the last seventy years or so. But even early on in his perpetual adolescence, back in 1947, he used [...]

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