sexta-feira, 30 de novembro de 2012

Using Future Form

There are many ways of talking about the future in English. Which way you choose depends on how you see the future. Is the future event planned or unplanned, a schedule, or a prediction?

Making predictions in English

You can use both will and going to to make predictions.
For example, "I think the Labour party willlose the next election." Or "I think the Labour party are going to lose the next election."
If you can make a prediction based on what you see now, we use going to.
For example, "You're driving too fast, you're going to hit the car in front!"

Future plans and arrangements

If something has already been planned, use going to with the verb, or the Present Continuous tense.
"I'm going to take my exams next month."
"He's visiting a client on Tuesday."

Unplanned future

When we decide to do something at the moment of speaking, we use will.
"The phone's ringing – I'll answer it."
(You only answer the phone when it starts ringing.)

Future schedules

When we want to talk about a schedule, we use the Present Simple tense.
"The plane leaves in half an hour – we'd better hurry."
"Next week I fly to Italy, then on Tuesday, I'm in Spain."

Events in progress at a time in the future

To talk about something that will be in progress at a time in the future, use will be doing.
"For example, "This time next week, I'll be sitting on a plane."
We can also use this form to make polite requests.
"Will you be using the car tomorrow?"
(If you won't, can I use it?)

Events that will be completed by a time in the future

If you want to say that something will be completed by a time in the future, use will have done.
"I'll have finished the report by this afternoon."

Final tip

Many learners of English overuse will and going to. Try using all the different future forms so that you become more confident.

quinta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2012

Present Continuous for the Future

The present continuous is used to talk about arrangements for events at a time later than now. 

There is a suggestion that more than one person is aware of the event, and that some preparation has already happened. e.g.

I'm meeting Jim at the airport = and both Jim and I have discussed this.

I am leaving tomorrow. = and I've already bought my train ticket.

We're having a staff meeting next Monday = and all members of staff have been told about it.

More examples
1. Is she seeing him tomorrow?
2. He isn't working next week.
3. They aren't leaving until the end of next year.
4. We are staying with friends when we get to Boston.

Note: in example (a), seeing is used in a continuous form because it means meeting.

BE CAREFUL! The simple present is used when a future event is part of a programme or time-table. Notice the difference between:

a. We're having a staff meeting next Monday. 
b. We have a staff meeting next Monday.(= we have a meeting every Monday, it's on the time-table.)

quarta-feira, 28 de novembro de 2012

The Future of English !

It has long been accepted that English is a global language, used in all corners of the world as a means of communication. In many parts of the world, English is regarded as a basic skill, which children learn at an early age so they can study through English later. The latest statistics tell us that these days around eighty per cent of spoken English is spoken between non native English speakers. A Japanese businessman and his French client will conduct their communication in English. But while English is accepted as being the language of science and technology, what does the future hold for everyday speakers of English?

While linguists agree that the situation of English today is at a global all time record, they do not necessarily agree on where the language is heading. Two of the world’s leading experts on the English language, David Crystal and David Graddol, disagree on the path that English is likely to take.

Mr Graddol points out that although the number of people speaking English as a first language is rising, it is not rising as fast as the number of people speaking other languages around the world. He believes that English will soon be relegated to second place after Chinese and will be equal in dominance to Arabic, Hindi and Urdu.

With twenty five per cent of the world’s population speaking English as a second language, David Crystal suggests that Graddol has underestimated the future dominance of English. He is keen to point out that nobody really knows what the future holds for English because at no other time in History has a language been in such a position. He draws attention to the escalating growth in the use of English between non native speakers and sees no reason for this trend to stop.

Graddol thinks otherwise. While he does not dispute the fact that the number of people speaking English in the world is growing, he emphasises the fact that this is a recent trend. He disagrees with the idea that English will become a dominant world language to the exclusion of other languages. Just because people are learning English, it does not mean to say they are abandoning their own languages. They are instead becoming multilingual. He continues by suggesting that the growth of English is responsible for the spread of multilingualism and that native English speakers who are monolingual will necessarily become disadvantaged.

Regardless of which David you agree with, one thing is certain; the future of English is just around the corner and whichever direction it chooses to take, it will be difficult to ignore its impact.

To watch David Cristal lecture:


terça-feira, 27 de novembro de 2012

English's Bleak Future !

Nicholas Ostle

The status of English as an international language appears unassailable. It is simultaneously pre-eminent in science, politics, business and entertainment. And unlike any of its lingua franca predecessors, it has all this on a truly worldwide scale. There is no challenger comparable to it: Chinese has more native speakers, but every schoolchild in China now studies English. And India, set to overtake China in population by 2050, is avidly trading on its English expertise.

But English is not thereby immune to the principles of language survival. Above all, it is notable that beyond the 330 million or so native speakers, perhaps twice as many more use it as a second language. And this community of over 600 million second-language speakers, who make English pre-eminent as a world language, also make it vulnerable in the long term.

In 5,000 years of recorded language history, a few dozen languages have achieved the status of lingua franca, a language of wider communication among people whose mother tongues may be quite different. Spanish, French, Hindi, Russian and English have been lingua francas in the present age, as have been Latin, Quechua, Persian and Aramaic in the past. But this status does not come about by some utilitarian reckoning, or democratic selection. There is always a reason, be it conquest, trade, religious mission or social aspiration, which has selected a language to have this wider role, and that reason is hard to forget--and ultimately often hard to forgive.

This is seldom clear--at first--to native speakers. They naturally see their mother tongue as a simple blessing for the wider world. Pliny the Elder, writing in the 1st century AD of the then widespread use of Latin, boasted that it almost made the sky brighter; French author Anatole France (1844-1924) thought the French language was such a charming mistress that no one was ever tempted to be unfaithful to her. But neither language would have spread across Western Europe if their use had not once upon a time been imposed--by forces other than lucidity and charm.

There was status or wealth to be gained from knowing these languages, and in their heyday, no one believed they might one day go out of use. After all, they seemed not only useful, but also such exceptional languages. Latin--alone of western languages--hadgrammatica, an analysis of all its rules; French was regulated by an Academy, which would ensure the quality of its substance. Likewise, English, with its simple sentence-structure and openness to borrowed vocabulary, is often thought well suited to be a global medium.

But far from being disinterested aids to thought and communication, every lingua franca continues to bear the badge of its original spread; and this is often the cause of its ultimate undoing. This moral is as clear--and well-established--as the recorded history of the lingua franca phenomenon, a story as old as international trade routes and multinational empires.

Akkadian spread beyond the Assyrian empire on the strength of its pictograph-based cuneiform writing, but then yielded to Aramaic, a language combining widespread use with an alphabetic script. Sogdian, once spoken by merchants and divines from Samarkand to China, could not survive the decline of the Silk Road trade. And in Europe, Latin in the 9th to 16th centuries and French in the 17th to 20th centuries depended on educated elites. Wide use of those languages declined when power passed into other hands.

Most speakers of a lingua franca speak it as their second language, not their first. This means that their mother tongue is not usually endangered. Only when large numbers of native speakers of the lingua franca move into a region is there a chance that it will become the mother tongue.

So while a lingua franca heightens bilingualism, often this is all it does. It only begins to replace a mother tongue when a growing number of people adopt it as their first language.

So, for example, among the British colonies, North America attracted many English-speaking settlers early on, as did Australia and New Zealand. But large numbers of Britons never settled permanently in India, Ceylon, Burma or Malaya. This explains the different status of English in these places today.

Any trend to political democratization, meanwhile, will diminish the use of English worldwide, because it downgrades the status of elites, the prime users of non-native English. This has already happened. With independence achieved after the Second World War, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Philippines all downgraded their official use of English. In India, too, English is beginning to lose its stranglehold on enterprise and education: In February, a major business newspaper in Hindi was launched, likely the first of many. The massive current expansion in Indian higher education (aimed at increasing participation from 10% to 15%) will also lessen the proportion of citizens who are educated in English as opposed to Hindi or another mother tongue.

An economic shift is also affecting the use of English. The language was originally spread by the acquisitive British empire, and was expanded in the late 20th century by the immense economic heft of English-speaking economies. Will it seem so attractive in 2050 when Brazil, Russia, China and India are predicted to comprise four of the six largest economies?

Some will find it hard to believe that the world could ever abandon its common language of science. It is true that the quasi-universal use of English in scientific publishing is a great convenience. But Latin was once just as pre-eminent, at least in Europe. Its fate in the 17th century shows that the language of a scientific tradition--even one that extends over more than a millennium--can be abandoned. Even then, it was unnecessary to settle on a single language as a successor; how much less so now, when ever-improving translation software is making language barriers tumble.

English will not decline as a first language: Indeed for the foreseeable future it will be among the five major mother tongues of the world. Spread out worldwide, it may even change and ultimately split into a family of languages. But it would go against the pattern of world history if alien peoples patronized English for very much longer than necessary. Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and Portuguese--possibly also Russian, Malay, Persian and Arabic--have the potential to increase within their vast regions, and perhaps even globally. The aspirations of some of these languages are already visible, if far from realization. China is a third of the way into its program to establish 100 Confucius Institutes around the world to popularize learning Chinese. They are now present in 23 countries, part of plans to have 100 million people studying Chinese worldwide by 2010.

In sum, the world in the next few generations is likely to see greater multilingualism and less English-backed bilingualism. We can learn the long view from language history, but it may be a hard lesson.

Nicholas Ostler is the author of Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World and Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, and is chairman of the Foundation for Endangered Languages.


segunda-feira, 26 de novembro de 2012

Ways of Expressing the Future in English

Despite what you will find in some course books and student’s grammars, and hear from some teachers, there is no future tense in English. If we want to refer to future-time situations we can do this in several ways. In these notes, we look at seven ways.
The first five of these are commonly used in both speech and writing:
1. Emma is seeing Luke tomorrow – the present progressive, also known as the present continuous.
2. Emma is going to see Luke tomorrow – BE + going to, sometimes referred to as the “(BE) going to future”.
3. Emma sees Luke tomorrow – the present simple.
4. Emma will see Luke tomorrow - this modal form is sometimes, unhelpfully, called the “future simple”.
5. Emma will be seeing Luke tomorrow – this modal progressive (or continuous) form is sometimes, unhelpfully, called the “future progressive/continuous”.
The last two are used in more restricted contexts:
6. Emma is to see Luke tomorrow – BE + to  + infinitive.
7. Emma to see Luke tomorrow –  to- infinitive.
There are also some so-called ‘future perfect’ constructions, which we will consider at the end of these notes:
8. Emma will have seen Luke …
9. Emma will have been seeing Luke …
10. Emma is going to have seen Luke …
1. the present progressive (also known as the present continuous)
This form usually refers to a situation that began before the moment of speaking, continues at or around, and after, the present moment, and into the future, and is of limited duration:
am writing these notes on the future. (At this moment).
Lindsay is driving to work this week. (She normally goes by bus).
The present progressive can refer to a future situation that has been arranged before the present time. The arrangement continues through the present until the situation occurs:
Emma is seeing Luke tomorrow, (They arranged this meeting yesterday)
Note that only the context or co-text (in the last example the word tomorrow) can tell us which time-period a present progressive verb form refers to.
Also note that it is simply not possible to make arrangements for some future situations. It is therefore not normally possible to say XIt is raining tomorrow. X
2. BE + going to
Although you may hear or read that this form indicates ‘present intention’, this is not always true. It is hard to imagine any intention in this sentence: “Look at those black clouds; it is going to rain soon.
BE + going to refers to a future situation for which there is present evidence. In the previous example, the present evidence is the black clouds. In the following example, the present evidence may simply be the speaker’s knowledge that Emma and Luke have arranged the meeting:
Emma is going to see Luke tomorrow.
When the present evidence is an arrangement, then there is, practically speaking, no real difference in meaning between the present progressive and BE + going to.
3. the present simple
The present simple is frequently used for situations that often or regularly happen.  It can therefore be used for a future situation that is part of a regular series of happenings:
The train for Berlin leaves at midnight tonight.
It is also used for something that is seen as part of a fixed timetable:
The sun rises at 07.34 tomorrow. (We can imagine the speaker thinking of a table of sunrise and sunset times.)
Emma sees Luke tomorrow. (We can imagine the speaker mentally looking at Emma’s diary).
4. the modal will + bare infinitive
The modal auxiliary verb will has a number of possible meanings. Four of the more common are:
a. certainty – John left an hour ago, so he will be home by now. (The speaker is certain that John is home)
b. habitual characteristicAndrea will sit at her desk for hours without saying a word. (This is what she often does.)
c. volition (willingness): I’ll carry your bag for you. (The speaker is offering to carry the bag.)
Fred will carry your bag for you. (The speaker is offering Fred’s services.)
d. instant decisionWhat will I do tomorrow? I know! I’ll go to the zoo. (The speaker decides to go to the zoo at the very moment of speaking – no plans had been made for this visit.)
Context tells us whether the certainty (a) is about the present, as in the example above, or the future: Prince Charles will become King when the present Queen dies.
Habitual characteristic (b) is something that is shown regularly. It was observed in the past, can be observed in the present, and will presumably be observed in the future. It is not possible to know of a future habitual characteristic, so we do not use this form for purely future reference.
Volition (c), denoting an offer, can refer only to a future situation. Will is normally contracted to ‘ll.
Instant decisions (d) can be made only about a future situation and, usually, only reported by the person making the decision. We therefore usually encounter this meaning only with I or we as the subject. Will is normally contracted to ‘ll
The word tomorrow in the following sentence tells us that the seeing (meeting) is in the future:
Emma will see Luke tomorrow.
Only context can tell us whether the speaker is certain of the occurrence of the future meeting, or reporting that Emma is willing to see Luke.
Note that other modals, which have different meanings, can also can also refer to future situations, for example:
Peter might come over next week. (It is possible that this will happen)
You must finish the report before you go home tonight. (You are obliged to finish the report.) )
You may read in some books that shall is used instead of will when the subject is I or we. Only a small minority of native speakers use shall other than in questions, and then only for certainty and instant decision, never for volition or habitual characteristic. Shall is used commonly in questions:
e) making a suggestion: Shall we go to the pub this evening?
f) asking if the person addressed wants the speaker to do something: Shall I arrange the publicity?  
5. The modal will + be + -ing form
Progressive forms usually refer to a situation that began before a time point continues through and after that time point, and into the future, and is of limited duration. The combination of this idea with the modal will, expressing certainty, leads to the modal will + be + -ing form referring to a situation beginning before a future time point and continuing through that time point:
Sally’s plane takes off from Heathrow at 9 o’clock tomorrow, so by about midday she will be flying over Istanbul.
It is also possible that the speaker is more concerned with the pure certainty of the action happening than with volitional aspect that might be implied by the use of WILL by itself:
Emma will be seeing Luke tomorrow.
Some writers claim, with some justification, that this use of modal will + a progressive implies, by its lack of reference to intention, volition or arrangement, a 'casual' future. Depending on the context and co-text, the speaker may be intending a ‘casual’ futurity, or may be indicating a situation in progress at a particular time.
6. BE + to  + infinitive
This form is not common in informal conversation. It refers to something that is to happen in the future as a plan or decree, normally by some authority other than the subject of the sentence, and  is common in television and radio news reports Thus we are unlikely to hear the first of the following examples (unless Emma and Luke are the names of well-known singers, actors, etc) . We might well hear the second:
Emma is to see Luke tomorrow.
Downing Street announced this morning that the Prime Minister is to fly to Washington this evening for urgent talks about the current crisis.
7. to- infinitive
This form is common only in newspaper headlines, where editors want to announce the news as briefly as possible. Once again, we are unlikely to see the first of the following examples (unless Emma and Luke are the names of well-known singers, actors, etc). We might well see the second:
Emma to see Luke tomorrow.
PM to fly to US.
8. will + have + past participle (third form)
When we refer to a future action completed before a later future time, or a future state continuing up to that later future time, we use will + have + a past participle (third form). This is sometimes known as the ‘future perfect’:
will have lived here for just over thirteen years when I celebrate my 66th birthday next March. (At the moment of speaking, six months before ‘next March’, the speaker has lived ‘here’ for twelve and a half years.)
By the time she leaves Paris tomorrow, Emma will have seen Luke and told him the news. (When Emma leaves Paris tomorrow, the seeing and telling will be, for her, in the past.)
This form is sometimes known as the ‘future perfect’.
9.  BE + going to + have + past participle (third form)
It is possible, though not very common, for a speaker to suggest that there is present evidence of  a future action completed before a later future time, or a future state continuing up to that later future time, using BE + going to + have + a past participle form (third form):
By the time Emma leaves Paris tomorrow, She is going to have seen Luke and told him the news.
Learners may see/hear this usage, but are recommended to use only 8. will + have + a past participle (third form), which has practically the same meaning, and is far more commonly used.
10. will + have + been -ing form

When we refer to a future action begun before a later future time and continuing through that later future time, we use will + have + been -ing form.
By the end of next week, Emma will have been seeing Luke for three months. (She has now, one week before ‘the end of next week’ been seeing him for a week less than three months.)
This form is sometimes known as the ‘future perfect continuous’.
Important Note.
In many sentences, several of the forms can be used perfectly naturally. The final subconscious choice of form is made by speakers at the moment of speaking, and depends on the context of situation as they see it at that moment. Do not think that there is one, and only one, ‘correct’ form in any given situation.
Notes by 5jj 
A fuller version of these notes can be found at:

quinta-feira, 22 de novembro de 2012

Thanksgiving Day Tradition

Thanksgiving Day is a communal celebration marked as a sense of gratitude people feel for all the good things in life. This is done by offering prayers, gifting your near and dear ones. The fourth Thursday in the month of November is marked for the yearly celebration. The tradition of Thanksgiving continues till date in the form of

Family Reunion and Feasting
Family feast is an important tradition during Thanksgiving. The entire family sits at the table during dinner and offer prayer to the Lord Almighty for his continuous grace. It is also a time for relatives living in different places to come together and celebrate. 

Tradition of Turkey
The traditional stuffed turkey adorns every dinner table during the feast. Pumpkin pie, Cranberry sauce, Corns are some of the dishes cooked everywhere to mark the day. Though historians don't have an evidence to prove that turkey was eaten during the first Thanksgiving dinner, but the thanksgiving celebration will be incomplete without it.

The traditional Thanksgiving parade probably started with President Lincoln proclaiming it an official day. The full- dress parade is a way to display the country's military strength and discipline. The main aim of such parades is to lift the spirits of the spectators, provide them with wholesome entertainment. In the present day, parades are accompanied with musical shows and celebrities.

Football Games
Watching NFL football during Thanksgiving is a popular tradition. The traditional game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers continues. One of the most memorable games having been played on this day.

Origin of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is America's preeminent day. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. It has a very interesting history. Its origin can be traced back to the 16th century when the first thanksgiving dinner is said to have taken place.

Journey of Pilgrims
The legendary pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 in Mayflower-A 17th Century sailing vessel. About 102 people traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty. This was so because they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel. No one was allowed to go on the deck due to terrible storms. The pilgrims comforted themselves by singing Psalms- a sacred song.

Arrival in Plymouth
The pilgrims reached Plymouth rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place owing to winds blowing them off course. Nearly46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. However, in the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.

Day of Fasting and Prayer
In the summer of 1621, owing to severe drought, pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest in the coming season. God answered their prayers and it rained at the end of the day. It saved the corn crops. 

First Thanksgiving Feast
It is said that Pilgrims learnt to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive . In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as “The first thanksgiving feast”. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place. 

While some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious so, their thanksgiving would've included a day of fasting and praying, others say that the Thanksgiving dinner did take place.

Turkey and First Thanksgiving Feast
There is no evidence to prove if the customary turkey was a part of the initial feast. According to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc. 

Pumpkin and Thanksgiving Feast
Pumpkin pie, a modern staple adorning every dinner table, is unlikely to have been a part of the first thanksgiving feast. Pilgrims however, did have boiled pumpkin. Diminishing supply of flour led to the absence of any kind of bread. 

The feast continued for three days and was eaten outside due to lack of space. It was not repeated till 1623, which again witnessed a severe drought. Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanksgiving in the year 1676. October of 1777 witnessed a time when all the 13 colonies joined in a communal celebration. It also marked the victory over the British.

After a number of events and changes, President Lincoln proclaimed last Thursday in November of thanksgiving in the year 1863. This was due to the continuous efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She wrote a number of articles for the cause.

Cursing and Swearing (Slangs)

Q: What's the feminine version of womanizer?

A: Maneater is the female equivalent to  male-associated word like womanizer. An irresistible woman who chews and spits out men after using them for some sort of gain -- be it sexual, financial or psychological.

There is a moment when the slangs turn into swearing ( or cursing) and below I am sharing with you an article  that explains further about how " rich" this study can be to an English learner. However, as the writer below says:

“avoid them, unless they convey something genuinely helpful or interesting”.

Professor Frank

Swearing and slang through the ages
The word on the street
by C.S.W

WANDER around the streets of any city and one is likely to find a rich patchwork of language. Linguists acknowledge the ever-changing coarseness of streets, rather than the stuffy offices where dictionaries are usually compiled, are often the best habitat to uncover the language of the age.

Captain Francis Grose knew this, and so he took to the streets in his mid-forties to produce a “Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” in 1785. That book remains lost to us today, but a revised edition—the 1811 “Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence”—survived. Captain Grose's work was supplemented by a series of collaborators (including one named “Hell-Fire Dick”) for its expanded edition, and is a treasure trove of the language real people used two centuries ago, curses and all.

His compendium shows there is beauty and ingenuity worth recording in even the coarsest elements of our mother tongue. Though The Economist has a policy on swear words (“avoid them, unless they convey something genuinely helpful or interesting”), Johnson believes Captain Grose's dictionary provides plenty of interest as an anthropological and historical study of language through the ages.

Thus we investigate the term “biter: a wench whose cunt is ready to bite her arse; a lascivious, rampant wench.” So too we admire those who insulted their friends by claiming an ill-judged liaison could result in the contraction of a “Tetbury portion” (“a cunt and a clap”), named after a town a hundred miles outside of London (and, presumably, its disease-ridden inhabitants). Though obscene, there is beauty and historical insight couched in these terms. The language of the day illuminates the way of life through each era. The time of Captain Grose was torrid, dirty and brash—largely a world away from ours.

There are other choice quotable cuts to be found amongst the filth of everyday life in nineteenth century London. Some are of their time. Crooks of the time would do anything to avoid a “wry mouth and a pissen pair of breeches”: death by hanging. “Laced mutton” and “trapes” are two words rarely—if ever—used today to refer to prostitutes, but were deployed frequently in the nineteenth century. Others are more permanent additions to the language. Barflies in America still drink “tall boys” (“a bottle, or two-quart pot”). “Clod hopper” remains as a pejorative term for a stupid person. British children still shout “cheese it!” to tell others to run away from wrongdoing in the playground, unaware they are deploying criminal slang that pre-dates Dickens.

Cursing is endlessly inventive. Simon Donald, who co-founded the coarse British comic “Viz” and will be taking a show called "School of Swearing" to this summer's Edinburgh Fringe festival, believes that at heart swearing is "a secret language and so, by its nature, must continually be reinvented". This constant reinvention can defy recording by traditional lexicographers. Back in 1785 (and later in 1811) it took someone like Captain Grose to wander the streets and note down the slang, idiom and jargon used in everyday life. Today, we have the internet, where thousands of amateur lexicographers work simultaneously in different cities across the globe.

Urban Dictionary collects some of the terms in everyday usage and posts them online. Like Wikipedia, anyone can add definitions to the site and so many terms will never have been used in conversation, never mind with regularity. (A surprising number of entries are little more than libellous attacks on former friends or colleagues.) Some entries are faddish in-jokes. Others capture a more widespread linguistic shift. Even if not necessarily documentary evidence of conversational usage, word fans can enjoy the inventiveness of terms like “introdouche” (“the way in which a douchebag would go about introducing his/herself”).

Humans seem inherently keen to play with language, from puns to portmanteaus to plain old playing on words. “Introdouching” is a good example of the Jenga-like qualities of our linguistic inventiveness. It relies on taking vogueish terms (“douchebag” being a recent favourite) from the bottom of the pile and adding them to the top, creating something new. Sometimes these coinages go too far, collapsing the tower. But occasionally they work, and stick in our collective corpora.

Sites like Urban Dictionary, and books like Captain Grose's compendium chart the constant reinvention of our language. To see how we cursed is to see how we lived, warts and all. But more than that, it gives Johnson's readers some old-school verbal ammunition with which to sting their foes in conversation.