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It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it!

It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it!

Some strange folks believe the world is flat and that aliens abduct earthlings on a regular basis.  But there are equally bizarre convictions lurking far closer to home in the self-help section of your local bookshop. A surprising number of guides to public speaking...

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It is what it is!

It is what it is!

Do you like a bit of tautology?  Most of us do, either consciously or not, or so it seems by the amount of repetition or redundant words that we use in the course of our daily lives.  How many times have you said, “It is what it is”, or talked about “over...

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Fulsome is as fulsome does!

Fulsome is as fulsome does!

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't…” (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll) In a ‘post-truth’ world, like Alice in Wonderland, we might all be forgiven for occasionally...

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Does grammar matter?

Does grammar matter?

As a pronunciation coach, I’m often approached by native speakers who are convinced that they need to ‘lose’ their regional accent because it’s holding them back either socially or vocationally. This presents me with a bit of quandary and shines a light on our...

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What about the ‘unknown-knowns’?

What about the ‘unknown-knowns’?

  It’s always nice to discover that we’re more intelligent than we give ourselves credit for, isn’t it?  And amongst those many unknown knowns that you have mastered without realising it, is the unique ability to rank adjectives in a specific order when...

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Divided by a common language?

Divided by a common language?

Whether George Bernard Shaw actually uttered this much quoted phrase or not is of little importance.  What is indisputable is that there are some profound differences between British English and that spoken by our cousins across the Pond, that go far deeper than the...

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Semantic loss or how ‘shit’ turned into ‘stuff’

Semantic loss or how ‘shit’ turned into ‘stuff’

Another great article by the phonologist and Guardian writer, David Shariatmadari1, gave an introduction to the fascinating phenomena of semantic bleaching and grammaticalisation. The former relates to the process whereby a word’s original meaning is reduced or lost...

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Why ‘reading the air’ is essential in Japan

Why ‘reading the air’ is essential in Japan

In Japan the expression ‘kuuki yomenai’ (literally, someone unable to read the air) was added to the national lexicon a few years ago, perhaps in response to the influx of international company executives who were singularly unable to do so. Reading the air means to...

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Careless talk costs time.  Who’s in control?

Careless talk costs time. Who’s in control?

Is the preference for texting over talking causing a decrease in interpersonal communication skills on the phone and face-to-face? What has happened to the art of conversation? A recent article by BBC Technology1 features the concerns of several experts who warn that...

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