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One of my favorite webpages, and one I can strongly recommend to teachers and students of English alike is, 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.¬† One of my choices last year was ‘overparenting’ and that definitely led to quite some exchanges. Others were ‘tombstoning’, ‘greenwash’, ‘staycation’, ‘googleg√§nger’, ‘ghostbike’ etc. Every word is so full of meaning that there is always a lot to talk about.

How I use them in class: I make word cards of the ones I chose and laminate them for reuse. On seperate cards, I write examples and/or explanations of the respective terms (that I also laminate.) The cards with the words I spread out for all to see (sometimes I give them an extra copy with a list of the words, but that’s not really necessary) and give each participant one text card. I let them read their texts first in case there are any questions, and then the guessing game can begin. Whenever a term instigates a longer discussion, I let it. That is one of my basic principles: the discussion is more important than the completion of any procedure I prepared.

Macmillan DictionaryBuzzWord

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