When Gotham was a Goat Town

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When Gotham was a Goat Town

Are you one of those people who says ‘pronunciation doesn’t matter’? Mind, I’m not talking about accent here – accent is the way people from your home-town talk. Pronunciation is the difference between pronouncing ‘cough’ like ‘koff’ or ‘cow’ – and the latter is an easy pronunciation mistake to make if you are foreigner learning English, and your only other reference is ‘bough’. Most people don’t know the difference between accent and pronunciation. While accent may distinguish you ...

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What is the difference between macarons and macaroons?

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What is the difference between macarons and macaroons?

Let me start right off the bat by saying a macaron and a macaroon are not one and they same thing, and I’ll take on a debate with anyone, anytime, if they wish disagree with me. The difference between macarons and macaroons starts with pronunciation (and you will find audio on all relevant words at the end of this article) and extends to history, ingredients, technique, appearance, exclusivity, and price, and most importantly, taste and texture. I don’t ...

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Words of the Week

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Words of the Week

I tend to spend more time answering queries and adding words to the database than dealing with the blog, so forgive my neglect here. I get a tons of queries in my mail, which I appreciate because it’s the best way to make sure the database is useful, but it’s hugely time-consuming, and lest we forget, there is but one of me.

Don’t let that deter you from sending in queries – you can either email me, ...

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It’s not the ‘World’s Most Expensive Wine’

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It’s not the ‘World’s Most Expensive Wine’

Penfold’s Block 42: The World’s Most Pretentious Wine?

 

There’s been an awful lot of coverage of the Penfolds Limited Edition 2004 Block 42 which is being billed as ‘The World’s Most Expensive Wine’. The price-tag has been set at $168 000.00 for a 750ml ‘ampoule’ of the wine – but when you get through the hype and the spin, it’s clear you aren’t paying that outrageous sum of money for the wine – you are paying it for the ...

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Mortifying Italian Mispronunciations

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Mortifying Italian Mispronunciations

Do you love Italian food? Are you planning to travel to Italy someday? Considering learning how to speak Italian? Do you love eating at the authentic trattoria run by the lovely family from Italy? Would you intentionally use words that are insulting, obscene, suggestive, and downright disgusting to the locals in a foreign country? Here’s the thing. In Italian, the difference between an innocent dish on the menu, and something really vulgar can be minute.

Most English ...

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World’s most expensive white wine

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World’s most expensive white wine

How much would you pay for a bottle of sweet white wine? Tell you what, I certainly would not pay £75 000.00 (close to $118 000)! But I’m guessing that if you are ridiculously solvent, an Extreme Wine Connoisseur, and love the idea of drinking not only the most exclusive dessert wine in the world, but one which is a time capsule from another century, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Someone fitting that description handed over precisely that amount, ...

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How to pronounce the names of Mexican Dishes

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How to pronounce the names of Mexican Dishes

Hola Muchachos! It’s Cinco de Mayo time. To celebrate Mexican heritage and pride, I’m doing a little round up of Mexican dishes so you can double-check your pronuciation, and make sure you are getting them right. Someone emailed me querying why I don’t have ‘Mexican’ on my site. For those of you who don’t want to ask, Spanish is spoken in Mexico. It is the same language as you speak in Spain, but the pronunciation differs.  I will ...

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How to pronounce UK place-names

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How to pronounce UK place-names

If English speakers who visit the UK struggle with how to pronounce many of the place-names there, spare a thought for non-English speakers who are struggling with the language as it is. Many place-names are perfectly self-explanatory: Cornwall, Essex, Leeds, Westminster, Hyde Park – all of these spoken as the spelling indicates. Don’t get too comfy with this concept, because unless you’ve grown up or lived in the UK, you are in for a rude awakening. There are ...

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Intro

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Intro

My passion in equal quantities is for languages and food. The two are intimately connected, and both reveal so much about the history and culture of a country. A number of years ago, my brother qualified as a chef. I was struck by how much he and his fellow students battled with the pronunciation of the classic French food terms. They were given French classes, but French is a difficult language to learn and pronounce. I majored in ...

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Historical Place-names with unusual pronunciations

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Historical Place-names with unusual pronunciations

Pronunciation is a dead giveaway of so much about a person. Where you come from, how educated you are – how you say things gives people an indication of who you are, whether you like it or not. In the UK there are so many curiosities, pronunciation wise, but I’m going to let you into the insider’s club, and tell you about the pronunciations which even people living in the UK may not know about. Unless you have ...

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