Keeping pace

Play a while

Some gaming tips for the adventurous figure here today. Ask your competitor to name a long single-syllable word and when there is silence, nonchalantly say ‘screeched and strengths’. The longest word without a vowel in spelling? Rhythm! A word with a letter repeated six times? Indivisibility. Or, ask the person to speak the longest pangram, or, a grammatical sentence containing all the 26 alphabets, give two minutes time and then quickly speak ‘we promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize’ (50 characters).

Learn a little

Once upon a time, ‘speaking English like an Angrez’ was the much-coveted prize at every speaking contest. The reason was simple: English was the mother tongue in the UK and you didn’t find it used enough in the rest of the world. In today’s world of ‘world Englishes’, if you speak like a true-blue British, you can’t communicate. There are so many varieties of English that it is more important to get your message across rather than run after any fancy notions of ‘native’ pronunciation. After all, in this age of the internet, how do you define a native speaker?

Intriguing words

‘Hep’ is one slang word that is well, always hep. While the origin of this word is not too clear, its connection with the jargon of the jazz musicians of the early twentieth century has been traced. It could have originated in the practice of shouting encouragement to marching bands in order to keep in step, thus leading to the expressions ‘get hep’ or ‘be hep’ to signify working in harmony or being in step. The country of origin is the USA and today it means ‘aware and in touch with the latest cultural trends’.

Precise usage

The dash as a part of punctuation is slowly vanishing, so this segment is devoted to making proper use of it. A dash can be used to add on an afterthought as in ‘I thought the cake was great — every bit was polished off’. It can replace a colon before a long list or it can precede a summary. And now we reach the end of this episode — Au revoir!