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What comes to your mind when you picture 'plain language'? Dumbed down baby speak in an insult to the reader's intelligence? Or straightforward expression using only as many words as are necessary? With the term itself subject to disagreement, it's no surprise that it provokes fierce debate when implemented as a policy requirement.

The World Cup has arrived, a tournament that is so high on hype, it provides a temporary and perhaps convenient smoke screen for all the ills in the world - war, conflict, recession, human rights. But it also allows us, lest we forget, to luxuriate in a gush of commentary and quotes that sometimes makes a comedy caper of language....

Of all the ancient Greek words to enter English, 'eúphēmos' must be among the most harmless: roughly translating as 'fair-sounding', this referred to the uttering of good omens. Sounds fair, right? But its descendant, 'euphemism', has come a long way, evolving into the use of an agreeable or inoffensive expression when something unpleasant is meant...

This summer I returned to the 'home country' - post-Brexit, post-Boris and, so it seems, post-cash. From Scotland to the very southwestern tip of England, and from parking fees to pub drinks there was not a coin or a note to be had. It was contactless payments wherever you went. Which made everything easy-peasy, pudding and pie, but also very...

"Change affects the way people speak as inevitably as it does any other area of human life. Language purists do not welcome it, but they can do very little about it." So explained linguist David Crystal in his 2006 book How Language Works, yet the concept of 'purity' remains popular in just about every language. Almost inevitably, the debate...

The worst job I ever held was as a driver in the then-emerging realm of largescale food delivery by bike. At the end of each month, we received a ranking of all drivers according to aggregated, speed-related stats - including, for some reason, how long we waited at a restaurant before receiving the food. Appear three times in the bottom...

In February, Chris looked into the democracy of language, the process by which rules evolve through a general willingness to let errors slide. But how about the reverse: the death of words due to a complete lack of usage? According to linguist Morris Swadesh, the languages of 20,000 years from now will retain just 1% of the core vocabulary...

Global warming has led to severe flooding and fires around the world, and the consequences on humans, animals and the environment are only just beginning. While the jury is not out in full, it is straining at the exit door to point the finger at greed and indiscrimination, from the profit-mongering multinationals (Amazon) to denial-posturing...

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