Category Archives: Language

Watching language change

Sharda Kaushik “Ancient attitudes to grammar still survive: many people are in awe of it … and yet a minority is fascinated by it: a field in which precise scholarship and nit-picking pedantry have co-existed for centuries.” — Sidney Greenbaum … Continue reading

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Free advice is everywhere…

Ratna Raman We drove down one of New Delhi’s several arterial roads with a friend from Switzerland. Observing that nobody slowed down at the amber lights and that some cars sped off at red lights instead of stopping, he asked … Continue reading

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Put on those dancing shoes

Ratna Raman ACTION verbs are usually dynamic and describe all that is done by persons, animals and things. Eat, walk, cry, talk, run, think, bake, play or dream are instances of action verbs pertaining to physical and mental activity. Two … Continue reading

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The many colours in our lives

Ratna Raman Whenever the festival of colours makes an appearance, columns on language take a backseat, since festivals by definition require community participation, revelry and enjoyment. In hindsight, we could examine the world of colour to observe its functioning within … Continue reading

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More than a day’s work

Ratna Raman THE words, ‘manual’ and ‘menial’ have origins in different languages. ‘Manual’ (from Latin ‘manualis’) indicates activity that belongs to the hand. As an adjective, manual work describes, any and all skilled activity performed by human hands. Manual labour … Continue reading

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A step toward evolution

Ratna Raman EVOLUTION is the process by which something develops. It is synonymous with advancement, growth, rise, progress, extension or even unfolding. The rosebud evolves into a gorgeous full-blown flower. Within cultures ‘dialects’ (spoken language) evolve into language when a … Continue reading

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Bring out the mops

Ratna Raman THE noun ‘moppet’ (17th century English) from the now obsolete ‘moppe’ (indicative of a baby or a rag doll) refers to an endearingly sweet child. The silver screen has also introduced us to child stars, little boys and … Continue reading

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