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  1. probus

    British nickname Gal

    In that superb movie, Sexy Beast, starring Ben Kingsley, one of the gangsters is called Gal. What forename is that short for?
  2. probus

    English etymology

    Those interested in etymology may be amused by this:
  3. probus

    [Idiom] Some fun current slang, both British and American
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    Chewing the fat

    In Canada, when people are relaxing and chatting amiably, we say they are chewing the fat. I believe this comes from the culture of our northern native people (formerly called Eskimos, but now known as Inuit), and therefore would not be recognized by speakers of other varieties. Am I right?
  5. probus

    English is the world's most widely spoken language
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    I heard the word daren't today for the first time in fifty years. I think it has largely died out in AmE. Is it still common in BrE?
  7. probus

    Another important tutorial for learners This is hard, admittedly. But if your goal is to perfectly understand casual AmE speech, it is one small thing you must master.
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    As much or more than?

    I'd like to know how my fellow teachers feel about this fragment from Wikipedia: the dowry, which often costs as much or more than an entire house. I think it should be "as much as or more than ..." but maybe I'm just being an old fussbudget.
  9. probus

    How to speak properly during the pandemic
  10. probus

    Another tutorial, this one on the word "sh*t"

    Learners should avoid this rude word like the plague. Nevertheless learners may see or hear it, and it has a wide range of possible meanings in AmE. "You are sh*t", "You ain't sh*t" and "You are a sh*t" are all insults. But "You are not sh*t" is a reassurance. And "You are not the sh*t" is...
  11. probus

    Silent letters (usually)

    Well, Yankee, maybe we should start a new thread and call it the horrible offences of American broadcasters. The one the drives me mad is their insistence on pronouncing silent "l"s as in calm and palm.
  12. probus

    Honking on Bobo

    It definitely does NOT mean smoking a cigarette. I am too shy to tell you what it does mean, but perhaps one of the other teachers will be less prudish.
  13. probus

    My apologies for posting this here.

    Yesterday I got a new Android phone. I can log in as probus, but the only part of the forum I can see is Ask a Teacher, and then only the posts up to yesterday. Could I please get some tech support red5. Thank you.
  14. probus

    Give back: which is more natural?

    I had occasion to write, "If she decides to do something else, please give her the key back." Then it occurred to me that "please give her back the key" might be more natural for some native speakers. Which do we prefer, teachers?
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    The American effort to standardize English pronunciation and spelling

    I think learners should be aware of this poorly organized but persistent movement to standardize and simplify the spelling and pronunciation of English. I have read that it began fifty or sixty years ago as a direct result of Americans' refusal to pay their teachers adequate salaries. According...
  16. probus

    At this point vs at that point

    We are selling some real estate, and received a puzzling communication from our agent. She mentioned some contingencies that might or might not occur, and continued "At this point we have to do such and so." I"m afraid I replied rather indignantly that there is nothing at all we have to do...
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    [Vocabulary] Latin derivatives

    What do you mean when you say that the Latin stems finis and annus do not exist?
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    The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for...
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    Fun is a noun, dammit!

    It looks as if mrghd may be getting near the end of his project of translating Pimp into Hungarian. We haven't had any new questions for a while now. I've had to resort to The Times crossword, much less fun. :cry: But I've found a bit of fun in running mrghd's passages through the Advanced...
  20. probus

    on cloud nine

    Is it heard where you live? What does it mean?