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  • A Short History of the English Language
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    A Short History of the English Language

    Prior to c.450, the peoples of Britannia (Britons) spoke Celtic languages. Between 388 and 400, Romans occupied Britannia (modern England and Wales). Celtic-speaking Scots and Picts lived north of the Romanized Britons. In c.450, Germanic tribes including the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded Britannia. The language that developed was Old English. Just as there are […] More

  • Please Don't Lambast(e) Me
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    Please Don’t Lambast(e) Me

    I love all forms of word play. Before Easter, I heard a local news reporter pronounce the word <lambasted> “to criticize harshly, to assault violently” as /læmbeɪstɪd/, with the second syllable of the word pronounced like <baste> (rhymes with <waste>). I figured that he had had a slip of the tongue, which happens. No big […] More

  • English Language Vocabulary: Christmas
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    English Language Vocabulary: Christmas

    Christmas is the annual Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Celebrated on December 25, Christmas is both a religious and a secular holiday in the United States. English language learners who wish to participate fully in American culture must learn the vocabulary to talk about the holiday. The following sections provide the most […] More

  • English Language Vocabulary: Thanksgiving
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    English Language Vocabulary: Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. English language learners who wish to participate fully in American culture must learn the vocabulary to talk about the holiday. The following sections provide the most important vocabulary for talking about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Dinner Vocabulary Sharing dinner with […] More

  • English Language Vocabulary: Halloween
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    English Language Vocabulary: Halloween

    Halloween is a largely secular holiday celebrated every year on October 31 in the United States. Activities associated with the Halloween holiday include dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted houses, telling scary stories, watching horror films, and attending Halloween parties. Although the holiday is celebrated in other parts of the […] More

  • You Left Your Rs in the 1700s: Received Pronunciation Versus Extra-Insular Englishes
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    You Left Your Rs in the 1700s: Received Pronunciation Versus Extra-Insular Englishes

    When the Royal Society unsuccessfully attempted to establish a formal language academy in England in 1664, lexicographers and grammarians from the London area alternately formed a Grammarian Class with the aims to refine, fix, and ascertain the English language (Smith “Scientific”). From the language prescriptions and proscriptions imposed by the wealthy white English male hegemony […] More