Vocabulary Fun With New English Words

Do you keep up with any blooks? Or are you reliant on the lamestream media? If you like to keep up with the latest in tech developments and know what vlogs and mobcasts are, you might want to test your knowledge not just of tech stuff, but of new English words, to make sure that you can continue to talk about all the cool stuff you use and do…and more.

This article gives a humorous look at some of the newest additions to the English language, or at least to the Collins’ English Dictionary. A few of my favorites are “tanorexic”, “muffin top”, and “whataboutery”.

Where do these words come from, though? Apparently their use is confirmed through a 2.5 billion-word database gathered from print, broadcast and web media.

How to capitalize on this fun trivia for a class? I might use this vocabulary activity, or I might give each students a couple of words with the meanings, and have them create multiple choice possibilities in a “call my bluff” fashion (aha, a new word of my own: skirmishing) for other groups to guess.

I probably would not spend a whole lot of time on an activity like this as there is, for the time being anyway, little practical application for these words. But they are amusing and you could hold a short discussion about new words added to languages – pros and cons; their languages compared to English, etc. – or about certain words in their language that have no clear English equivalent but should (or which English might usefully incorporate).

Bosnians use the word “papak” to describe villagers, or perhaps “country bumpkins”, though literally it means “hoof”; their language also uses the word “morski pas” or “sea dog” to name sharks (as does Turkish, apparently), which I think is pretty neat. These would be “my” contributions to English – what are your students’?