The English language was first spoken in early medieval England around 1400 years ago. This gradually gave rise to today's 'Modern English' which became the dominant form by the 1550s. Today I discovered some of the earliest English words that are still in common usage today.
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For some of us, grade-school grammar lessons haven't stuck. I managed fairly well with my trusty Elements of Style until pretty recently, but the ongoing assault on grammar that is the Internet occasionally shakes my confidence.
(Every time I want to type rein, rain, or reign, for example, I need to close my eyes and meditate for a moment.)
The English language is constantly evolving, with new words and phrases spreading among us like an infection - we hear things, then we say those things. The problem is that we don't always bother to wonder if we should. Because of that, the original meaning of some demeaning and hateful expressions get lost in time. Here are some widely used examples.
The other day I overheard a conversation that began with, "I'm not racist but..."
It followed with a bog-standard conversation about how people who move to this country should drop everything and dedicate all of their time and energy into learning to speak English. IMMEDIATELY.
Sure, learn to speak English. But here's a newsflash people: English is insanely hard and it makes no goddamn sense, like at all.
If you dream of travelling to far flung places to teach English, then becoming qualified is the first step. Globally, CELTA is the highest regarded qualification for teaching English as a foreign language. Because it’s internationally respected, it’s a very intensive course and is a steep learning curve. I’ll admit it was exhausting at times and I became a coffee addict while training for my certificate. I loved it prior to starting the course, but it soon became more than love, it became a necessity.
Last week, a 32-year-old man in the US was nearly electrocuted after falling asleep with his iPhone charging in bed. The key word here is "nearly" - a point of difference many journalists failed to make.
As any English teacher or medical student will tell you, electrocution is not the same thing as an electric shock. While the latter can cause serious injury, only the former results in instantaneous death.
Have you ever wondered why Americans and British/Aussies spell English differently? How are colour and colour the same word? Centre and center? What's up with that? It's all thanks to Noah Webster (yeah, the Webster of Merriam-Webster). When America gained independence, Webster wanted to simplify unreasonable spellings that were handed down from the British.