talking orange

World Kindness Day

This Friday, 13 November is World Kindness Day, an awareness day launched in 1998 with the aim of encouraging benevolent acts by individuals, organizations, and countries. Coming at a time of international crisis, when demonstrations of kindness – from the never-ceasing selflessness of frontline… Read More
Indian Traditional Antique Gold Necklace with Peacock Design

Spanish word of the week: collar

This week’s Spanish word of the week is el collar NOUN necklace; collar Collar covers two different English concepts: necklace and collar (There are lots of words in Spanish which similarly cover more than one English concept): Llevaba un collar de rubíes imponente. She was… Read More
research yellow

What a coronacoaster of a year!

Over the last several months, when factories, offices, restaurants and other places of social gathering have been (intermittently) shut, people’s creativity has taken all sorts of unexpected directions. Anything goes in the quest to overcome that feeling of blursday, one uneventful day following another so that… Read More
talking red

Pass the sanny, Bruce: Oz has its own lingo for the pando

The coronavirus pandemic is a global phenomenon, but different countries have adopted different responses to it according to their local circumstances and traditions. This is true not only in terms of public-health measures, but also in terms of the language used to describe the disease and… Read More
lockdown word of the year 2020

The year of lockdown

It’s no surprise that quite a few of the words on Collins Word of the Year 2020 shortlist have one big thing in common: the pandemic. Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly – leaving no country or continent untouched – was bound to have a… Read More
recipe card and some vegetables

Spanish word of the week: receta

This week’s Spanish word of the week is la receta NOUN recipe; prescription The ‘false friend’ that we will be looking at today is receta. In English it means either recipe or prescription. Here are some examples to help you use it… Read More

7 US political terms to baffle Brits

The United States holds its presidential election on November 3rd after a long and sometimes rancorous campaign. While observers in Europe will have become accustomed by now to some of the terminology of the American political scene, with its caucuses, conventions, superdelegates, and running mates, some more arcane American political… Read More
image of little girl praying on peach background

Spanish word of the week: ojalá

ojalá EXCLAMATION I hope; if only This is one of the many Spanish words which originate from Arabic (O Allah!). Originally it might have been used in fervent prayer, but now it means little more than I hope or the slightly more emotional if only. Don’t forget… Read More
graphic of person on a boat

Months of awareness

Last month, this month and the next two are great for practising Latin numerals, as you do: septem, octo, novem, decem (7, 8, 9, 10). But hang on a moment. Decem means ‘ten’, but December isn’t the tenth month. Or is it? Well, it was once, in the original Roman… Read More