English and Literacy teacher.

Volunteer LGBT Youth Worker.

Previously taught in Indonesia.

Currently working in the North West of England.

Interested in: YA fiction, EAL/ESL, raising literacy levels, promoting reading for pleasure, celebrating diversity, inspiring creativity and cups of tea.


Modeling: Present a shared text to students. Designate a few paragraphs to use for the first instance of Sketch to Stretch. After reading the first section, present to students statements that can be used to help determine if a word is worthy of investigation (Figure 6.1). Once a word is selected using these statements, model for students how you puzzle through your sketch of this word. Emphasize that students have only two to three minutes to do their sketch; no Picassos expected!
Nominating: Read through the next section of text with students. Stop and allow students to nominate a word for study, using the statements in Figure 6.1 to qualify their choices. Select a word, and invite students to sketch the meaning of the word in context for two to three minutes. Allow students to share their drawings with their neighbors, comparing their different approaches to the word.
Stopping to sketch: Ask students to finish reading the passage. Remind students to stop periodically throughout the text to sketch the meaning of important words (designate a number, or set up the page so that students are visually reminded to stop reading and select a word to sketch — see Figure 6.2).

Let’s set the scene. Your OH has left his brahs and decided it’s date night, and although he isn’t exactly ripped he’s made an effort with his new soul patch (lolz!) and he makes a hella delicious dirty martini.

Does that sound ridic, or even douchey?

Research from the Oxford Dictionaries team shows that these terms have made their way into common usage, hence their inclusion in the quarterly update of new words and meanings. Other additions inspired by contemporary culture include hot yoga, hosepipe ban, and e-cigarette.

Hella ridic new words to make you lolz: ODO August 2012 update


A British person who’s pissed is drunk, not angry (that’s pissed off). When an Australian describes someone as arsey, they mean “lucky,” but in Britain it means “uncooperative, difficult.” Cozzie means “swimming costume” in Australia, “police officer” in Britain. Fanny and fag mean “butt” and “male homosexual” in the U.S., “female genitals” and “cigarette” in the UK. Plenty of opportunity for miscommunication there!

I’ve never heard ‘cozzie’ mean police officer; I use it to mean swimming costume. A better example would be ‘thong’ In Britain it means an item of women’s underwear and in Australia it means ‘flip-flop’ sandals. As an Australian friend of mine found out when she stood in front of 30 British teenagers and said, “Make sure you’re wearing your thongs when we walk down to the beach.” Likewise, I know a Canadian who couldn’t understand why the British girls were so mad at him when he jokingly threatened to give them a slap on the fanny.

Offensive Line.

We have been looking at synonyms and how different mores with similar meanings can have different connotations and effects (Links with Writer’s Effect, Paper 2 IGCSE)

Today I drew ‘fat’ on the board in the middle of a line. Students looked up definitions of the following words then place them on the line depending on if they were more of less offensive than ‘fat.’
















We then discussed the words and wrote them on the board, debating which were more offensive and the difference between calling a boy and a girl ‘brawny.’

Finally, the students were given these three sentences and asked to think about the different explanations and effects of each.

He was a chubby baby with a round face and blue eyes.

She was a fleshy woman with a round face and blue eyes.

He was a beefy man with a round face and blue eyes.

Connotations of words can be hard can be hard, but this pulled up a lot of good discussion around the ways different words are perceived, and the different ways men and women are treated in regards to weight and muscle. Also some laughs, such as when I asked them, ‘Why do you never hear anyone say a podgy baby needs to lose weight?’

(Word list comes from the teachit resource ‘Looking at synonyms’ it has lists for old, then, say and walk if anyone wants to do something similar but doesn’t want to use fat)

My 10 and 6 year old sons changed school just over a year ago, and in that time they’ve altered their accents (five now sounds like foive, for example), their grammar (oh how I miss those past participles!), and their vocabulary. They’d certainly heard wicked and awesome used to express approval before we moved, but both terms have become much more frequent. Noob and loser were new additions to their vocabulary, both used as general terms of abuse. They also, for a while, used dot com as an interjection giving humorous emphasis to whatever the last speaker had said, but I haven’t heard that recently. Whatever has the opposite effect, and is particularly effectively used to infuriate parents.
Meanwhile, slang usage had changed in the school my sons used to attend. The old friends who came to the recent birthday party were using sweet, epic, and lollage as interjections and adjectives expressing approval: Mr Smith is epic; Sweet!; my new class is lollage.

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve.

Taken from a letter writer to directors, producers and studio executives in 1934 by copywriter Robert Pirosh, who was keen to become a screenwriter. 

Full letter here:


First, is it a ‘real’ word anyway, or is it simply, like meerkatted, an individual writer’s playful use of language? (Of course, ‘exploitations’ like this can turn into norms – and so become dictionary entries – if other people pick up the usage and recycle it often enough.) Second, what does the evidence tell us about our word’s use? Any linguistic feature (be it a word, phrase, collocation, or meaning) which occurs frequently enough over a long enough period will start to look as if it is ‘part of the language’ – and therefore to deserve its place in a dictionary.

A-Z of vocabulary word lists.

Q: How can I use an A-to-Z word list (“alphalary”) from http://www.myvocabulary.com?”
A: Suggestions for usage for teachers, parents, students and life-long learners!

  • Choose 15-25 words that are unknown to you from the list provided. Look up and write down the definition, part of speech and use the new word in a sentence of more than 6 words. Practice using the new word.
  • Write a story, postcard, letter or create a journal entry using 15-25 words in context.
  • Working in pairs or in a group, pair synonyms and/or antonyms;list words as adjectives, nouns and/or verbs.
  • Choose 10-15 nouns, verbs or adjectives from a list. List them; define each one to make a sentence of at least six words.
  • Play a game: how many additional words can you add to a list? If you like, we are happy to give you credit for your
  • supplementary words using your initials and school name, city and state/country! Just email us More Alphalary Words

15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent

The Global Language Monitor estimates that there are currently 1,009,753 words in the English language. Despite this large lexicon, many nuances of human experience still leave us tongue-tied. And that’s why sometimes it’s necessary to turn to other languages to find le mot juste. Here are fifteen foreign words with no direct English equivalent.

1. Zhaghzhagh (Persian) 
The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.

2. Yuputka (Ulwa)
A word made for walking in the woods at night, it’s the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.

3. Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.

4. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.

5. Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

6. Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish) 
 A word that would aptly describe the prevailing fashion trend among American men under 40, it means one who wears the shirt tail outside of his trousers.

7. Pana Po’o (Hawaiian) 
“Hmm, now where did I leave those keys?” he said, pana po’oing. It means to scratch your head in order to help you remember something you’ve forgotten.

8. Gumusservi (Turkish) 
Meteorologists can be poets in Turkey with words like this at their disposal. It means moonlight shining on water.

9. Vybafnout (Czech) 
A word tailor-made for annoying older brothers—it means to jump out and say boo.

10. Mencolek (Indonesian) 
You know that old trick where you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them? The Indonesians have a word for it.

11. Faamiti (Samoan) 

To make a squeaking sound by sucking air past the lips in order to gain the attention of a dog or child.

12. Glas wen (Welsh) 
A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.

13. Bakku-shan (Japanese)
The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

14. Boketto (Japanese) 
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.

15. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

Many of the words above can be found in BBC researcher Adam Jacot de Boinod’s book ‘The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World.’

Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/94828#ixzz1aGYLzykg 
—brought to you by mental_floss! 

(Grief bacon is totally my favourite)