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August 17, 2009

Playing With Words - Vocabulary, Anagrams & Inventing Our Own Words

As we have all noticed, English, and presumably every living language, shifts continually.

My students speak in fear of "Old English" but what they don't realize is that English as they know and use it is VERY different from even that of their parents and certainly....

...their grandparents.

A global economy, individual travel, emerging technologies and pop culture are only a few of the influences on this shifting linguistic landscape we all share and use every day.

Wordsmith.org has a great site that allows all language learners a manageable yet productive way to increase vocabulary. Check out http://wordsmith.org/awad/index.html.

They have a word a day feature. Each new word has the meaning and word history. There are also archives to look through.

Never let your students forget that even a word or two a day adds up quickly. Three words a day is about a hundred new words a month. We can all do this!

Here's a timely quote from the AWAD site - it certainly applies to language learning!

"You can't just go on being a good egg. You must either hatch or go bad!" -C.S. Lewis

If you have invented a word, send it tohttp://wordsmith.org/awad/invitation.html. Who knows? There just might be a need for a word that we haven't seen seen in print yet. Just consider how many new words came from the Harry Potter books!

Wouldn't it be fun to see a word you came up with in a dictionary!

And then there are anagrams....

Anagrams are formed when the letters of a word (or phrase) are rearranged. I encourage you to type in a name, word or phrase here - http://

I, Rearrangement Servant OR Internet Anagram Server

Consider these:

ASTRONOMER:
MOON STARER

DESPERATION:
A ROPE ENDS IT

THE EYES:
THEY SEE

THE MORSE CODE:
HERE COME DOTS

DORMITORY:
DIRTY ROOM

SLOT MACHINES:
CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY:
IS NO AMITY

ELECTION RESULTS:
LIES - LET'S RECOUNT

SNOOZE ALARMS:
ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S

A DECIMAL POINT:
I'M A DOT IN PLACE

THE EARTHQUAKES:
THAT QUEER SHAKE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO:
TWELVE PLUS ONE

AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE:

MOTHER-IN-LAW:
WOMAN HITLER

It is good to remember that we are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together. We can learn as much from the past as from the present.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.


Posted by mmorf at August 17, 2009 12:21 PM

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