Saturday, August 9, 2008

New English Words for ESL Students


In an earlier ESL post, I had talked about how new words were constantly being added to the dictionary through their popular usage. I mentioned how it kept the language ever evolving and colorful. The other day while driving , I was listening to NPR as is my habit. I often recommend NPR to my students to listen to , for practicing listening skills and for learning new words. A very interesting topic came on regarding the ever-changing English language. My ears pricked up and I kept the station on that channel.
Essentially the show was interviewing a language consultant, Jeremy Butterfield , and he was talking about some odd words that he had come across as well as an electronic database of more than 2 billion words. This database is called the Oxford English Corpus, words that are mainly collected from the World Wide Web.
Some of the words he mentioned were:

Damp squid - meaning something that is disappointing. The phrase actually is a mutation of the word "damp squib" meaning a damp firework that won't go off, therefore causing disappointment.
404 - a failure (as in the 404 error message you get when a website is not available)
high dudgeon - a feeling of intense anger and indignation.

Listen to the interview in full by following the link and learn about the changing nature of the English Language.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98982345&ft=1&f=1032

Another great story to listen to is on the BBC website , and they talk about other new words that have been included in the dictionary.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/newsenglish/witn/2009/01/090102_new_words.shtml


If you need help with the ever-changing English language, I am a qualified ESL Tutor. You can reach me by: