Language Lovers

Omicron: What is it?

Alpha, Beta, Gamma…it’s all Greek to us. Quite literally, it’s the Greek alphabet. If you’ve watched the news or spent any time online lately, you might have heard the word omicron and wondered where it came from. In May 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that COVID-19 variants would… Read More

Sue Atkins – pioneering lexicographer and linguist

Beryl T. Atkins, one of the founding editors of the Collins Robert French Dictionary, died in September 2021 at the age of 90. Always known to friends and colleagues as Sue Atkins, she first joined Collins Dictionaries as a freelance compiler in the mid-1960s. Over the next twenty years, working… Read More

Get your crypto at the ready: NFTs are big in 2021

The digital revolution continues apace, changing our culture, relationships and the way we do business. Facebook recently announced it would change its trading name to Meta to better reflect its interest in the metaverse, a concept that has been described “a dream for the future of… Read More

Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember, the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. On the night of 4 November 1605 Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, was discovered in an undercroft of the House of Lords guarding a hoard of gunpowder intended to explode the following day at the state opening of Parliament Read More

COP26

November brings a momentous gathering to Glasgow, Scotland, namely COP26. It’s the twenty-sixth and latest in a series of UN-led annual conferences to agree measures to combat climate change. Why the name ‘COP’? The initials stand for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The parties are the 197 countries now signed up… Read More

Words matter: thoughts on language and Black History Month

The work of historians is increasingly emphasising something that many in the Black community have known for a long time: the profound influence of Africa and the Caribbean on British culture. Last month, I began a PhD and my research is focused on mahogany in English country houses. Chippendale cabinets… Read More
talking red

Celebrate National Poetry Day

This year’s annual National Poetry Day, the thirty-eighth, falls on Thursday 7 October. National Poetry Day (NPD) was founded in 1994 by an arts charity – the Forward Arts Foundation – and has gone from strength to strength, boosting, inter alia, sales of poetry: the graph… Read More