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September 16th, 2009 - 12:22 pm § in language learning

Why is English so popular?

Why do so many people learn English as a second language? Is it easy? No. English is one of the most complex languages to learn. It’s not a very logical language. Our spelling system is crazy and so is our (very irregular) grammar. It’s not considered the most beautiful language, either.[...]

September 15th, 2009 - 12:21 pm § in etymology, names, word formation, word origins

Our Personal Names

We all feel very attached to and protective of our names. I hate it when someone misspells or mispronounces mine. It’s MY name! And I’ve been called by that name (and various nicknames) for 23 years exactly (it’s my birthday). In English we usually have 3 names – the first na[...]

September 14th, 2009 - 12:08 pm § in eponyms, etymology, word formation, word origins

Eponymous Words

Eponymous means named after a particular person. For example, the Harry Potter series and Reaganomics are both eponyms. This is another way that words are added to a language. Eponyms are actually all over our language. Did you know the Pavlova (a meringue dessert) was named after the Russian baller[...]

September 11th, 2009 - 12:24 pm § in etymology, lexicon, vocabulary, word origins, words of the day

Words of the Day (9/11)

Check out all my¬†Words of the Day posts HERE. Etymologies (thanks to Clare’s questions): lexicon – Lexicon comes from the Greek word lexis, which means… word. Lexus – Lexus (like the car) is the short form of Alexus, which is a variant of the name Alexis. Alexis comes from G[...]

September 10th, 2009 - 1:42 pm § in lexicon, vocabulary

How Many Words Do You Know?

How many words (lexemes) do you think the average person knows? How many lexemes are there in the entire English language? Neither of these questions have a real answer. An individual’s lexicon (the number of words he knows) will vary considerably depending on his career(s), hobbies, reading h[...]