Of Football and Funerals or: What is ‘public viewing’?

Here, finally, my World Cup 2014 post. We are looking forward to the next round, the quarter finals, Germany will play France on Friday – fortunately at the earlier time – many of us did not manage to watch the late games to the end. I was often unfortunate to leave the scene just before the first goal, but I heard I was not the only one. I looked into a lot of tired eyes last week, however, trafic was fairly low so I didn’t have to leave so early in the morning.

But now on to my vocabulary issue.

Continue reading

What is ‘Sollbruchstelle’ in English?

The translation you get from googling ‘Sollbruchstelle’ is predetermined breaking point. However, when I googled that phrase to find out more, not much came up. In English, as I eventually found out, the phenomenon of manufacturers intentionally limiting a products lifespan is called ‘planned obsolescence’. A ‘pre-determined breaking point’ in any case is just one means to an end of achieving what the wider term of planned obsolescence describes. So from a linguistic point, one is the sub-category of the other, i.e. the two terms stand in a hierarchical semantic relationship to each other.

The Pons dictionary definition of ‘obsolescence’ is: the state of becoming old-fashioned and no longer useful (=becoming obsolete). ‘Planned obsolescence’ as a term encompasses more than just the printer that stops working after so and so many pages, but also marketing strategies of short lived fashion design (e.g. clothes and cars). Continue reading

The Seven Deadly Sins

adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of objectionable vices (part of Christian ethics) that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the sins are usually given as Continue reading


One of my favorite webpages, and one I can strongly recommend to teachers and students of English alike is www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword, and here especially Kerry Maxwells collection of ‘BUZZWORDS’.

Buzzwords are newly formed or created terms that reflect upon different kinds of social phenomena or new fads and are great for discussion. Additionally, from a language perspective, they offer insight into word formation processes. On the webpage is a whole list of new words and an archive going back several years.

Every once in a while I choose some I find interesting and believe (or hope) will trigger intensive discussions. And so far I have not been disappointed.  Continue reading