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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.

Interactive resource

Stroke dig: level 2 [Chinese]

Restore stone tablets and character strokes from dig sites. Separate the tablets; notice that each has the faded outline of a Chinese character. Sort the strokes into stroke types according to their shape. Rebuild the characters by using the sorted strokes in the right order. Discover the meaning and sound of the characters. ...

Interactive resource

Stroke dig: level 3 [Chinese]

Restore stone tablets and character strokes from dig sites. Separate the tablets; notice that each has the faded outline of a Chinese character. Sort the strokes into stroke types according to their shape. Rebuild the characters by using the sorted strokes in the right order. Discover the meaning and sound of the characters. ...

Interactive resource

Stroke dig: level 1 [Chinese]

Restore stone tablets and character strokes from a dig site. Separate the tablets; notice that each has the faded outline of a Chinese character. Sort the strokes into stroke types according to their shape. Rebuild the characters by using the sorted strokes in the right order. Discover the meaning and sound of the characters. ...

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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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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'.

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A song about kangaroos

This is a song about an Australian animal, the kangaroo. Don Spencer sings lyrics about how people from all over the world come to see the kangaroo. Listen to the rhythm. It is like the hopping of a kangaroo.

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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.

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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'.

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Changing letter sounds and butterflies

Have you ever wondered why you can't just add a prefix such as 'in-' to the beginning of a word to make its opposite? Professor Kate Burridge explains how a prefix is influenced by the sound of the letters that come after it. She also gives two explanations about the origins of the word 'butterfly'.

Audio

Evolving English: the impact of television

Imagine if the English language never evolved. What would we be speaking? Possibly Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxon tribes, a language written down using runes known as the 'futhorc'. English continues to evolve, but it takes the media to bring new words into common usage. So which form of media is responsible ...

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A song about the Kookaburra's call

Have you heard a Kookaburra's call? Watch this clip and listen to the lyrics of the song performed by Don Spencer that captures in sounds and words the magical call of the kookaburra.

Audio

When is wrong grammar right?

Do adults or teachers ever correct how you say something? Do they tell you your grammar is wrong? Even when everybody you know says it that way? Find out who is wrong and who is right with language expert Professor Roly Sussex.

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Race of the navigators

Discover why two explorers during the early 1800s raced each other to the other side of the world. This clip explains why explorers Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders raced across the world to investigate 'New Holland', now known as Australia.

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Meeting of the expeditions

Have you ever been surprised to see someone you know in a place far from home? Rival explorers, Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, are sailing in opposite directions along the coast of 'New Holland'. Imagine their surprise when they spot each other's ship. Watch this clip to find out what happens when they meet at sea.

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Julia Gillard: responding to tricky questions

Imagine this situation: someone is asking you difficult questions or interrogating you about your actions. How will you respond? Many people become flustered and inarticulate when under this kind of pressure. In this clip, learn a few tips from Australia's first female prime minister about 'keeping your cool'.

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Preserving 'Norf'k Laengwij'

Imagine living on a tiny island thousands of kilometres from the Australian mainland. Would you feel like you were part of Australia? This is the dilemma for people living on Norfolk Island, an Australian territory in the Pacific Ocean. In the past, Norfolk Islanders were expected to learn English - but, as this clip from ...

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The going down of the sun

The Last Post is played during Anzac Day ceremonies and at military funerals. Watch this clip to find out what this bugle call means, especially for someone who has lost a family member in war.

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'The great Gatsby' and all that jazz

'The great Gatsby' is considered a classic of modern literature, so what makes people value books like this one over others? In this audio clip, explore a range of responses to F Scott Fitzgerald's enduring novel and consider the qualities people value in literature. This clip from 'Books and arts daily' on Radio National ...