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Words for Thought: Learning New Words with Cartoons

Words for Thought: Learning New Words with Cartoons

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Words for Thought: Learning New Words with Cartoons

Lungime:
105 pages
1 hour
Lansat:
Sep 13, 2018
ISBN:
9781386159155
Format:
Carte

Descriere

We need new words. The constantly changing patterns of modern life demand them. Some disappear rapidly without trace, but many find a place in the language, however briefly. They reflect the times we live in. Such terms as Sloane Ranger, yuppie, bimbo and toy boy would not have survived unless they corresponded to real people. Hip hop, rave and rap represent moments in present-day culture. Chair or chairperson, significant other and similar examples of political correctness are rapidly becoming part of the currency of everyday speech. Viruses and piracy have taken on new meanings in the computer age. Gazundering and negative equity have a special significance in recessionary times. 
Words seem to have lives of their own. Old words acquire new meanings and old meanings acquire new words. Modern developments and events have new words coined for them. Words cross frontiers and generation gaps. They start as obscure scientific terms, move to sociology or business and finally become part of popular speech. 
Here, then, is the essential guide to the meanings, and shades of meaning, of the words and phrases that can sometimes be bewildering in the speech and writing of today. 

Lansat:
Sep 13, 2018
ISBN:
9781386159155
Format:
Carte

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Words for Thought - Ram Das

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PREFACE

We need new words. The constantly changing patterns of modern life demand them. Some disappear rapidly without trace, but many find a place in the language, however briefly. They reflect the times we live in. Such terms as Sloane Ranger, yuppie, bimbo and toy boy would not have survived unless they corresponded to real people. Hip hop, rave and rap represent moments in present-day culture. Chair or chairperson, significant other and similar examples of political correctness are rapidly becoming part of the currency of everyday speech. Viruses and piracy have taken on new meanings in the computer age. Gazundering and negative equity have a special significance in recessionary times.

Words seem to have lives of their own. Old words acquire new meanings and old meanings acquire new words. Modern developments and events have new words coined for them. Words cross frontiers and generation gaps. They start as obscure scientific terms, move to sociology or business and finally become part of popular speech.

Here, then, is the essential guide to the meanings, and shades of meaning, of the words and phrases that can sometimes be bewildering in the speech and writing of today.

A

ACID HOUSE

In the summer of 1988, residents of various parts of the land found they were being rudely awakened in the early hours of the morning by the noise of thousands of young people who had converged on old barns or warehouses, or even disused quarries. They were witnessing an acid house party, an enormous disco, usually unlicensed and lasting all night. Locations were often kept secret until the last moment to confuse the police. They were also known as warehouse parties, especially when held in disused buildings, and are now generally called RAVES.

Acid house is a youth cult, a successor to ‘punk’. It originated in Chicago and New York and arrived in Britain in 1988, complete with its music, ideas and fashions. The name has never been properly explained. ‘House’ refers to the music, but the origin of ‘acid’ is obscure; it almost certainly has nothing to do with the 19603 drug LSD, also called ‘acid’. The drug of the acid house scene is ECSTASY.

House music now has many derivatives acid house itself, garage, techno, and others. Some of these names come from the American clubs at which the forms were developed. To its followers, house is ambient music -« music not so much to listen to as just to have going on around you. It is a kind of loud synthesised ‘muzak’ with a monotonous rapid beat, put together in a studio using drum machines and sampling that is, taking snippets from other songs and incorporating them into the final piece. Lyrics are at best perfunctory and often non-existent.

Dress fashions of the acid house scene are varied. T -shirts and three-quarter length baggy shorts looking like pyjama bottoms are popular. In the early days, a frequent fashion accessory was the Smiley badge, a simplified drawing of a smiling face in black on a yellow background. See also GOTH; HEAVY METAL.

ACID RAIN

SCIENTISTS HAVE KNOWN about acid rain since at least 1859, when it was found to be responsible for the corrosion of building stone in industrial cities. But most people had never heard of it until the late 1970s, when newspapers began to carry reports of dying forests and lifeless lakes across the northern latitudes of North America and Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. The culprit was again identified as acid rain, carried by the prevailing winds from the major industrial and urban centres, often hundreds of miles away acid rain from England falls on Scandinavia. The main pollutants are sulphur dioxide from coal-burning power stations and nitrogen oxides from car exhaust fumes. These dissolve in rainwater to form weak but lethal sulphurous and nitric acid solutions, which stunt tree growth and kill fish. Exhaust fumes can be reduced using CATALYTIC CONVERTERS, but reducing sulphur emissions from power stations is expensive and may take some time.

ARBITRAGE

Strictly speaking, arbitrage simply means the simultaneous buying and selling of stocks or commodities on different exchanges in order to take advantage of temporary price differentials. But in the takeover boom of the 19803, particularly on Wall Street, the arbitrageurs, or arbs as they were known, widened their operations. They began to buy up stocks of companies that were ripe for takeover. When the takeover bid came, they played off the rival bidders against each other before selling off their shareholding for a huge profit. Their activities benefited nobody but themselves, and few tears were shed when Ivan Boesky, the richest arb of them all, was fined $100 million and jailed for INSIDER DEALING in 1988. See also JUNK BONDS; LEVERAGE.

B

BASE JUMPING

Even devotees of dangerous sports are wary of base jumping. It involves leaping off buildings; antennae (radio masts), spans (bridges) and earthbound objects- the initials make up the word ‘base’ – and opening a parachute on the way down. Not surprisingly, there have been several fatalities. A base jumper was killed in May 1992 after hurling himself off London’s Hilton Hotel. See also BUNGEE JUMPING.

BIMBO

THE TERM ‘BIMBO’ COMES originally from Italian, where it means ‘little baby’. In the 19205 it came into use as a slang term for a feather-brain of either sex -presumably owing something to ‘dumbo‘. The modern bimbo, however, is young and female. She is well-endowed physically, but not mentally, has a penchant for wealthy or powerful older men, and displays a readiness to kiss-and-tell -that is, to sell the story of her affairs to the newspapers. This use of the word had come into fashion in America by 1987 and hit the headlines in Britain

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