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WordPlay

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From group to troupe
Opinion
Column 8

From group to troupe

Thespian roosters and the search for a poultry posse.

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Lamington wars: claiming an Australian invention really takes the cake
Opinion
Spectrum

Lamington wars: claiming an Australian invention really takes the cake

Steal the pavlova if you must New Zealand, but only an April Fool would deem the lamington an import.

  • by David Astle
‘Correct’ pronunciation is off the menu. How about a poke bowl?

‘Correct’ pronunciation is off the menu. How about a poke bowl?

My friends are disappointed that I can’t properly answer a word-nerd question, as if I’ve failed my calling. Maybe I need a new hustle. Soon a wave of Google checks will give them the answer I couldn’t.

  • by David Astle
There’s a friction over fractions
Opinion
Column 8

There’s a friction over fractions

Vegemite acts as gruel for the modern Twist.

The curse of the bufflehead duck: even dictionaries make boo-boos
WORDPLAY
Spectrum

The curse of the bufflehead duck: even dictionaries make boo-boos

The brainy types at the Macquarie Dictionary have let the odd typo slip through in 40 years. Like giving a duck white underpants.

  • by David Astle
Aerocars, spacebuses and corpsicles: the sci-fi leaps we’re still waiting for
Opinion
Spectrum

Aerocars, spacebuses and corpsicles: the sci-fi leaps we’re still waiting for

These are the space invaders of the galactic glossary: the futuristic advances we’ve been promised for decades, but remain little more than false hopes.

  • by David Astle
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Norse code for watering can and the stopgap ‘science burqa’
WORDPLAY
Spectrum

Norse code for watering can and the stopgap ‘science burqa’

Vikings called a raven a ‘blood-swan’ and a sword a ‘wound-hoe’. Welcome to the world of ‘kenning’.

  • by David Astle
Why do Aussies shorten everything an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bit?
WORDPLAY
Spectrum

Why do Aussies shorten everything an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bit?

Don’t go looking for logic: Australian English will only mock you.

  • by David Astle
Word detectives: On the trail of Mrs Kerfoops and other filler phrases

Word detectives: On the trail of Mrs Kerfoops and other filler phrases

The thingummyjig, the dooverlackie, the doodad are favourite amnesiac fillers. But where did juzelbrass come from?

  • by David Astle
The changing shape of English: can milk be milk if it’s not from an animal?
WORDPLAY
Spectrum

The changing shape of English: can milk be milk if it’s not from an animal?

English is as much as a shape shifter as our finest artists, writes David Astle.

  • by David Astle
Half-time oranges and full-time syntax
Opinion
Column 8

Half-time oranges and full-time syntax

The wonder of the post-match postscript.