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Strictly Speaking | Magpie, hamster, squirrel

In a recent article on words that the COVID-19 crisis is adding to English (and other languages), columnist David Astle mentions magpie as a verb, meaning to swoop on supermarket shelves and clear them (Sydney Morning Herald, 3.4.20). The aggressiveness ...

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On the move | June

BENTLEY LEADS After a global search, Federation University has found its new vice-chancellor on home turf – Professor Duncan Bentley, the current deputy vice-chancellor (academic) at Swinburne University. Bentley leads the Academic, International, Online and Indigenous portfolios at Swinburne, and ...

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JobKeeper great but needs an extension: ITECA

The peak body for independent education providers is calling for a limited extension to the JobKeeper scheme. The Independent Education Council Australia (ITECA) says extending the scheme beyond September “is particularly relevant to the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas ...

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Strictly speaking | Infocalypse

This obscure and tongue-challenging word captures what some regard as the most destructive threat to 21st century society. It’s not COVID-19 but the information apocalypse, with fake news and falsified facts flooding through social media, fostering overcredulity in some people ...

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Strictly speaking | Ngangkari

A lot of words have come into Australian English from Aboriginal languages. Think of billabong, corroboree, kookaburra, mia-mia, and of course kangaroo – which was famously misinterpreted by Captain Cook and his crew. It’s true of most of these words ...

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Strictly Speaking | Wussification

Words which can only be defined in negative terms are not the most constructive in our vocabulary. Wuss is one such, usually defined as “a weak or ineffectual person”, i.e. not strong, lacking courage, indecisive, not on top of things, ...

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