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Listed under:  Language  >  Pronunciation
Interactive

Languages online: Indonesian section 23: favourite pastimes and pets

This set of five interactive activities from the Languages online resource introduces students to the ways to express simple invitations in relation to favourite pastimes, such as 'What shall we do …?'. In addition, students practise known words while talking about their favourite pets, colours and sports. Pronunciation ...

Interactive

Languages online: Indonesian section 10: ordinal numbers 1st to 10th

This set of interactive activities from the Languages online resource introduces Indonesian ordinal numbers from first to tenth. Student activities include a pronunciation drill, a caption-matching exercise with timer, completing simple sentences and labelling the finishing order of a car race to produce an animation. Also ...

Video

Devon, Polony, Stras or Fritz?

How much is your use of the English language influenced by where you live? Would it be possible to work out where in Australia somebody comes from just by listening to them speak? In this clip from a 1975 episode of Four Corners, find out how words and expressions we use every day might be revealing more about us than we realise.

Video

Plum puddings, yelks to yolks and elfs to elves

Why are Christmas puddings called 'plum puddings' when they have no plums in them? How did the egg yolk get its name and why are the plurals for 'hoof' and 'roof' are spelt differently? Find out how Professor Kate Burridge answers these questions that the audience of 'Wise Words' send in for her.

Video

I speak, you guess

Listen to the voices of a small selection of students from around Australia to see if you can guess where they live. Is place the most important thing that shapes their language, or are there other factors that influence how people speak?

Video

Pronunciation wars

How much attention must broadcasters pay to the pronunciation of words? Watch language experts and ABC staff discussing the preferred pronunciation of 'Don Quixote', a fictional Spaniard who appears in the novel bearing his name and in several significant artistic works. This clip reveals the importance placed upon the ...

Video

The 'H' wars

How do you pronounce the letter ‘h'? Why do you think there is more than one way to pronounce this letter? Watch this video to find out why some people may pronounce the letter ‘h' as 'aitch' as opposed to 'haitch'. If you'd like to learn more on this topic, visit this site.

Video

How many versions of the English language are there?

Did you know that in Australia the way we use, pronounce and spell some words is different from the way they are used, pronounced and spelt in America? Can you list all the countries in the world where English is used? See if you can think of countries not mentioned in this clip.  

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 ...

Video

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'.

Video

Pretty polly: how politicians speak

If politicians are the 'voice of the people', does their way of speaking resemble that of the people? In this clip from 1975, listen to Professor John S Gunn describe what he sees as a uniquely Australian rhythm of speech. Then see how many similarities and differences you can find as you listen to some brilliant imitations ...

Video

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'.

Video

'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.

Video

Core speech with extras, thanks

A national survey in the 1960s indicated that the use of spoken English was surprisingly similar throughout Australia. This challenged the notion of 'regionalism', which suggested that people from different places would use language in different ways. In this clip, two leading academics discuss regionalism and suggest that ...

Video

Efficient speech: the process of language change

Wassup, bro?Well 'pparently I ain't speakin' right.Will thou ha' the truth on't?We often think that only young people speak in abbreviated forms, but the truth is people have been doing this since Anglo-Saxon times! In this clip discover with Professor Kate Burridge some words that belong to the 'zero plurals' group, why ...

Video

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' ...

Video

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.

Video

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''.

Video

Dude: American words and pronunciations

Where does the word 'dude' come from? Why do speakers of English often pronounce words differently depending on their country of origin - not only because of their accent? Find out with Professor Kate Burridge when she takes on these questions from viewers.

Video

Got or gotten? What a nightmare!

Words have a history. Knowing their history helps us to understand what they mean and why some people use them in different ways. Professor Kate Burridge explains how the use of the past tense of the verb 'get' (gotten) has changed, but is still in use by many people. She also discusses the history of the word 'nightmare'.