Travel

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Where we come from matters. Our origins form an important part of a distinctive personality, which can become a group identity when we share these origins. More often than not, our use of language, especially our dialect, is an expression of that distinctiveness. In addition to distinctive words and grammatical patterns, which may not follow the rules of Standard English, people have accents – many English language ones available to listen to here – related to their pronunciation when they speak which can articulate their identity.

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Next time you go to book a flight you might want to look at the early-morning options first. Getting out of bed to make that 6am might be a struggle, but Travel and Leisure suggests that you should exclusively fly in the early morning. The reason? You'll have a much better chance of getting to your destination.

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Come on! Let your colours burst and mae ‘em go “oh, oh, oh!” this New Year’s Eve by getting along to a fireworks display. Australia is stacked with explosions in the sky this December 31, so if you’re keen to see the boom, boom even brighter than the moon early in the night or as we tick over into 2018 – here’s where you can catch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in 2017.

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"Is Macca's open on Christmas and/or Boxing Day?" This is a question more Aussies ask themselves than you might think. The good news is that there will be plenty of McDonald's stores offering piping hot Big Macs on December 25 and 26 - you can find the nearest available outlet to your location here.

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If you've ever encountered a "phantom traffic jam" or traffic slowdown that doesn't seem to have an apparent cause, it was probably some jackwagon tailgating somebody. Researchers at MIT found that not only does tailgating not get you anywhere faster, it actually creates traffic jams that shouldn't exist.

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Hey, it's peak airport season! The time of year when you spend a lot of time in lines waiting to be barked at by airport security, and waiting to take off your shoes, and then ... sometimes waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. This is not exactly ideal when you don't have children, but for those of us with toddlers and little kids, it's a special stretch of total hell. So the prepared parent plans enough activities to keep little Corian and Toto engaged -- and most importantly not whining or screaming -- for up to, oh, 11 hours.

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Holidays are a time of high stress. Despite the delight of not having to work for several days or even weeks, holidays come with pressures. These can include catching up with family, giving gifts, consuming to keep the economy buoyant, and having enough fun to see us through to the next holiday.

Here are ten tips for enjoying things that little bit more without all the stress and after-effects.

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So, you want to learn to speak and write a new language, huh? Not just "hello" and "thank you," but really learn it well enough that you could live in the country of origin? Hope you're ready to commit. If you're a Native English Speaker, these are the languages that will take the most and least time to become proficient in.

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This week we're tackling the topic of urban cycling. Our guests include Eben Weiss, author of The Ultimate Bicycle Owner's Manual: The Universal Guide to Bikes, Riding, and Everything for Beginner and Seasoned Cyclists; Rosemary Bolich, the Director of Community Outreach at We Bike NYC; and Doug Gordon, better known as Brooklyn Spoke - a TV producer and outspoken cycling advocate. We'll find out what some people have against mandatory helmet laws, how cities can make their streets safer for cyclists, and why it isn't worth it to argue with a motorist (but it is worth it to quietly hate them).

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As a parent, you often don't remember how much easier life was pre-kids until you try to do something basic, such as stay in a hotel. Before being with child, you could walk into the room, plop your stuff down, climb into bed, and watch the Reese Witherspoon movie marathon on TV for hours while eating Flaming Hot Cheetos (or, you know, do the things you love). When you have a baby who sleeps on a very particular schedule, under very particular conditions (sunlight is evil!), hotel living can be an ordeal. (Note: If you have a baby who can snooze like a log at a monster truck show and believe it is parents who create delicate infant sleep habits, look, I'm... too tired to fight.)