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Listed under:  Language  >  Language conventions  >  Word meanings
Audio

Different meanings for the same word

<span style="line-height: 1.4;">You've heard people speaking English with different accents, but have you noticed that the differences in accent come down to the way words are pronounced? Listen to this interview with linguist David Crystal and find out about accents and why the same word can mean something different or ...

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Naming words: significant social effects

The names we give people and places hold great significance for us. But have you ever thought about how this simple act can impact on others? Naming is a powerful tool. Watch this clip as Professor Kate Burridge explains the ways that language can have significant social effects.

Video

My Place - Episode 3: 1988: Lily, The Bicentenary

Lily and her friends are painting the school sign for the Bicentenary when she tells her cousin, Phoung, a false story about how convicts were treated in early Australia. Phoung repeats this story to the class as part of a report on the First Fleet.

Interactive resource

Aussie English for the beginner

This interactive resource allows students to explore the origins and meanings of common Australian words and idioms and to test their knowledge of Australian English. The definitions are provided by the Australian National Dictionary Centre and the cartoons are by David Pope.

Video

'Mary and Max', 2009

These two clips come from the Australian claymation feature film 'Mary and Max' about the friendship between two different but lonely people. Max and Mary become penpals and live across two continents, Mary in Australia and Max in New York. The first clip focuses on the misfortune that meets Max when his airconditioner ...

Interactive Resource

BBC Skillswise: words to watch out for - homophones

This is a word game in which students recognise common homophones and pair them by turning over counters to reveal them one by one. There are three levels to the game. In level one, students match six pairs of homophones; in level two, they match eight and in level three, ten. Each word is read aloud and accompanied by ...

Interactive Resource

Homophones 'principle' and 'principal'

This is an interactive spelling and vocabulary list of two homophones - 'principle' and 'principal'. Both words are supported by learning activities. Mouseover allows the user to hear and see each word and its spelling letter by letter, and hear its use in a sentence. The 'Flash Cards' button links to onscreen and printable ...

Interactive Resource

Words ending in '-quent'

This is an interactive spelling and vocabulary list of five words containing 'u' after 'q' in the letter pattern '-quent'. All the words are supported by learning activities. Mouseover allows the user to hear and see each word in the list and its spelling letter by letter, and hear its use in a sentence. The 'Flash Cards' ...

Interactive Resource

Adding the prefix 'ir-'

This is an interactive spelling and vocabulary list of ten words illustrating how the spelling of a base word beginning with 'r' stays the same when the prefix 'ir-' is added to give the opposite meaning. All the words are supported by learning activities. Mouseover allows the user to hear and see each word in the list ...

Interactive Resource

Homophones with the diphthong digraph 'ai'

This is an interactive spelling and vocabulary list of ten words that assists students to use sentence context to distinguish between homophones that contain the diphthong digraph 'ai', such as 'male' and 'mail'. All the words are supported by learning activities. Mouseover allows the user to hear and see each word in the ...

Interactive Resource

Opposites ending in '-ive'

This is an interactive spelling and vocabulary list of five pairs of opposites ending in '-ive'. The opposites are formed by adding the prefix 'in-'. All the words are supported by learning activities. Mouseover allows the user to hear and see each word in the list and its spelling letter by letter, and hear its use in ...

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The Aussie Accent: whaddya reckon, mate?

Imagine a world where everybody sounded exactly the same when they spoke. What might that be like? Are there 'good' and 'bad' ways to speak? In this clip, listen to the opinions of many people about whether Australians have a bad accent.

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Word histories: how extraordinary!

Words can change over time and so can their meanings. The word 'extra' broke away from other words to become a word on its own. Professor Kate Burridge explains how this impacts on words like 'extraordinary'. She also explains the origins and meanings of the words 'hearse' and 'rehearse''.

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Conquest: the process of language change

When the Normans conquered England in 1066, they brought a lot more than fancy clothes and castles; they also brought the French language. Discover the impact that this momentous event continues to have today.

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Challenging grammar rules, darlings and crowbars

Find out that what appears to be a straightforward grammar rule behind the use of the words 'fewer' and 'less' may not be as straightforward as it seems! Professor Kate Burridge explains that this grammar rule has been under challenge for centuries. She also explains the origins of the word 'darling' and why the 'crow' ...

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Why do we say the words the way we do?

What kinds of things might influence the way we pronounce words in English? Professor Kate Burridge explains why knowing when 'kilometre' came into English helps us to understand why it is pronounced differently from similar words such as 'kilogram' and 'centimetre'. She also explains what it means to 'barrack' for a team.

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Words and sayings over time

Have you ever wondered where sayings like 'hanging by the skin of your teeth' come from? Professor Kate Burridge explains the origin and meaning of this saying. She also explains the opposite word (antonym) to 'misogynist' (someone who hates or has a long and deep prejudice against women) and the origins of the word 'goodbye'.

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From possessive apostrophes to discombobulation!

People often worry about the use of apostrophes. See how Professor Kate Burridge answers a question about how to use the apostrophes after certain names, telling us how the rule has changed over time. She also explains the origins of the word 'discombobulate' and why the plural of house is not 'hice'.

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'Bought' or 'brought' and radio code

Changes in the use, pronunciation, and meaning of common everyday English words happen all the time. Professor Kate Burridge explains that we can see this in the way people increasingly switch the past tense of the verbs 'buy' and 'bring'. She also answers a viewer's question about why 'Roger' is used on two-way and CB radios.

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Borrowed words: the processes of language change

Do you know any words from another language? Chances are, you know more than you think you do! English is a polyglot language; one that borrows words from other languages. In this Professor Kate Burridge discusses the origins of the phrases 'short-shrift' and 'lily-livered'.