It’s estimated there are 1000 million English speakers in the world, but even native speakers might be surprised to learn these facts about our very own mother tongue!
Ready For This Lecture?
Recently we called into a language school who ordered some of our black lecture chairs for use during lessons and tutorials. These seats have the advantage that they don’t require desks, because of the writing tablet, which can be used for making notes, reading texts and for resting digital notebooks on. Fantastic when you’re holding tutorials in smaller venues.
Fluent In Fluid?
Following our visit, we were interested to find out how English has developed over the years, and also how fluid it is. We came across a whole selection of words that have very different meanings now than they did many years ago. Here are five of our favourite...
1. Nice as pie!
Nice is a popular word and is generally a positive description, unless said in an ironic way! It’s likely to be a word millions of us use every day, but if we’d used it in the past, to describe a person, a plan of action or an object then it would be much more of an insult! This is because originally ‘nice’ meant ‘foolish’, ‘simple’ or ‘silly’.
2. That’s awful...
When you’re in conversation and the word awful is used, then you might remember to steer clear of whatever the person is referring too. None of us want to spend time in an awful restaurant, or watch an awful movie or go on a holiday destination with consistent awful weather! Although this might all change if we reverted to the original meaning of this word, which was ‘worthy of awe’.
3. Don’t be silly!
This is another word heard every day and has some negative but lighthearted connotations! A silly plan, or silly outfit could refer to something quite outlandish and unlikely. But if you’d thrown this word into conversation to describe a plan of action or clothing years ago, then you’d actually be saying they’re ‘worthy’ or ‘blessed’.
4. Naughty corner?
Usually a term we use for children - or the occasional pesky adult - naughty describes behaviour that we’d generally like to end! It had a very different meaning when the word was spoken years ago, and described those people who had little or ‘naught’ in the way of belongings or money.
5. Cuteness overload?
From our research we can see that cute is one of those words that hasn’t gone from being positive to a bit negative over the years. You could use it now or way back in the past, and you’d still be saying something nice (the 21st Century ‘nice’ that is!). Originally when someone was described this way, the speaker was actually saying they were ‘keenly perceptive’ or ‘shrewd’. Today’s meaning is more about appearances of course, but still quite a compliment.