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Negated Intensifiers: Not Super Duper Complicated

They’re the grammatical form to use when you want people to know you’re not really keen on something. Tias Allard looks into a common English form that sometimes slips under the radar.

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Out with the newspaper, in with the gender-neutral title!

A newspaper closes its doors but a linguistic window opens! Allie Severin thinks the shutdown of mX could mean good things for Australian English.

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Skol! scull! scoll! … erm … skål?

Did you hear the news!? Tony Abbott downed a beer! Quickly! A politician! The Prime Minister! Beer! Quickly! Beer! The story of Abbott’s recent drink-em-up isn’t, in the Grand Scheme of Things, really that remarkable. But there’s something about its coverage that caught our eyes at Fully (Sic) HQ: the spelling of what those around [...]

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Swedes and Australians say yes to gender neutrality

As society becomes more focussed on equality, some languages are evolving to include gender-neutral pronouns. Allie Severin and Hedvig Skirgård discuss how this is playing out in Swedish and Australian English.

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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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Jessica Mitford and a star-spangled language

In 1939, writer and activist Jessica Mitford learned that in America, “if someone pays you a compliment—you’re looking well, what a pretty dress, and so forth—you are supposed to say ‘Thank you,’ instead of just mumbling inaudibly.” Piers Kelly observes that in 70 years, certain differences between U.S. and British styles of communication have stood the test of time.

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Magic pudding economics

The Magic Pudding metaphor has become a mainstay of economic discourse in Australia. The idea of an ever-replenishing resource is too tempting a motif to pass up. But how recent is it? Piers Kelly looks back through the annals of Australian political discourse to find its earliest use, and finds some surprising sub-plots.

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Popularity of “Canberra bashing” lands it in the dictionary

Although the city of Canberra is coming of age and celebrating its centenary this year, Canberra bashing remains a popular national pastime. So much so that the Australian National Dictionary Centre is adding it to the Oxford’s Australian National Dictionary. Oxford University Press reveals the story behind the latest addition.

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Phantom vibration syndrome: Word of the Year

The votes are in and phantom vibration syndrome has taken out Macquarie Dictionary’s 2012 Word of the Year. So what is PVS? Long-term sufferer Aidan Wilson explains.

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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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