Keeping the Anzac flame alive

Keeping the Anzac flame alive
The Age, July 7, 2014
David Astle

Wi-Fi. Clean water. Semi-dried tomatoes. We lead such cushy lives compared with the Anzacs a century ago. In many ways we have our diggers to thank. Once for the peaceful democracy we take for granted – and twice for cushy, the word. Continue reading

Slang shows us how language is always changing

Slang shows us how language is always changing
Michael SkapinkerBy Michael Skapinker
Pop stars regularly mix up their ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ – and earn far more than those who know where the apostrophe goes

Language! 500 Years of the Vulgar Tongue, by Jonathon Green, Atlantic, RRP£25, 432 pages
Odd Job Man: Some Confessions of a Slang Lexicographer, by Jonathon Green, Jonathan Cape, RRP£17.99, 336 pages
Simply English: An A to Z of Avoidable Errors, by Simon Heffer, Random House, RRP£14.99 pages
Plain Words, by Rebecca Gowers and Ernest Gowers, Particular, RRP£14.99, 320 pages
Jonathan Swift believed English needed an academy to stem the use of words such as “sham”, “banter”, “mob”, “bully” and “bamboozle”. Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer, disliked “clever”, “fun” and “stingy”.

For centuries, English’s defenders have decried the language’s decline. Looking back, it is hard to understand why they created a fuss about words that are now part of polite speech. Sometimes the words that caused uproar, rather than being in general use, seem quaint and dated. Continue reading

Now the lexicon standoff

Negotiating the impasse between Congress and the White House, President Barack Obama could do no worse than thumb the new print edition of The Macquarie Dictionary.

The phrase fiscal cliff, business-speak for the national debt crisis, has made it into the dictionary for the first time, as has silo mentality, a derogatory term he could throw at his political opponents. Continue reading

Fair Dinkum pollies, enough with the slang

With the election running faster than a ‘roo on the hot desert’, the Australian slang and euphemisms have been coming thick and fast. For a politician it is clearly a calculated move: during the recent televised debate, Tony Abbott dropped the term ‘fair dinkum’ four times before Gillard started using it back in an ironic sense. Continue reading