Results tagged “dictionaries”

Lingro- a translation tool

By Tdol on Nov 20, 2007 | | 4 Comments

Lingro is a site that offers a useful translation tool. Enter the URL of a site or page, then choose the language you want to translate words into and you can click on the words you don't know and bring up a pop-up box with a translation.

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Can Google Concordance Language?

By Tdol on Apr 24, 2006 | | 2 Comments

In language discussions, results taken from search engines are often quoted as examples to show whether something is used as a form or to compare forms to see which is more common, etc. GoogleBlogoscoped has run 27,000 words from a dictionary through Google for popularity- the full results of the study can be downloaded here. The table below shows the top thirty words from the 2006 and 2003 surveys, together with the top thirty words from the British National Corpus (BNC).
The method used in the Google study does not count multiple occurrences in a single page, so the presence of a copyright message at the foot of a page will count for the same as all the times that the occurs, which accounts for the presence of copyright, contact, site, home, etc. However, the other entries suggest that the contents of the Google databases, and therefore any other reputable search engine, are likely to give a fairly accurate reflection for terms that are not related directly to the language of the layout of a webpage. As a rough and ready tool for checking, it seems that search engines can be used as basic concordancing tools.

Poll: Can Google concordance language?

Authentic English

By Tdol on Jan 13, 2006 | | 0 Comments

In an interview on ELTNews on a recent visit to Japan, Professor Henry Widdowson says that the most obvious example of a conceptually flawed theory in ESL teaching is "the current precept that English teachers must only use real or authentic English in their teaching ­ that is to say the English that naturally occurs in the contexts of native speaker use. This directive comes from corpus linguistics and as such has no necessary pedagogic validity whatever."

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Small steps, quantum leaps

By Tdol on Jul 12, 2005 | | 8 Comments

A student contacted me about the phrase 'quantum leap', which she had seen in a text she was reading at work. Her sense told her it meant a big step, but her dictionary only told her that quantum was the smallest discrete quantity of a physical property. She had run into a dreaded contranym.

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Potato heads

By Tdol on Jun 23, 2005 | | 2 Comments

The British Potato Council has a campaign to remove the expression couch potato from the Oxford English dictionary on the grounds that does a healthy and nutritious vegetable a disservice. They are also ignoring the fact that the term 'vegetable' is used for a person in a coma. 'Banana' comes in for real disresepect as it means 'mad' and also is used in banana republic. If they want one vegetable to have a positive image, shouldn't they extend their 'campaign' to all fruit and vegetables in the name of consistency?

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Learning a language the old-fashioned way

By Tdol on Jan 26, 2005 | | 3 Comments

I am taking lessons in Khmer. Twice a week I go for my classes in a classroom that is literally in the shadow of the Toul Sleng genocide museum, also known as S-21, the school turned into a notorious prison where thousands were tortured before being executed in Choeung Ek, the Killing Fields of the Democratic Kampuchea regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

Learning to be illiterate

By Tdol on Dec 9, 2004 | | 1 Comments

I am currently enjoying an extended stay in Cambodia; long enough to try to learn some of the language, but not long enough to get to grips with the writing. Because I will be leaving for Japan in a while, where another language and a highly complex writing system awaits me, I have decided to remain illiterate in Khmer and focus only on the spoken language.

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Protagonist

By Tdol on Jul 4, 2004 | | 0 Comments

I recently read a criticism of the use of protagonist in the plural because it is derived from the Greek for first actor. It is commonly used in contemporary English in the plural for the main people involved in something, whether actors or not. The person making the criticism asked if there could ever be more than one first actor, which makes me wonder who would be the first actor in a Laurel and Hardy film.

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Meretricious

By Tdol on Mar 6, 2004 | | 1 Comments

On the radio today, someone used the word meretricious with the intended meaning of 'deserving' or 'worthy'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary says that it means 'showily but falsely attractive' or 'of or befitting a prostitute'. I wonder what the speaker would think if he actually knew this.

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