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  • Susan Butler on ABC's Radio National talking about 'The Aitch Factor'

    Dec 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    The aitch factor

    Do you say ‘aitch’ or ‘haitch’? In the Australian vernacular this pronunciation has been a bone of contention for a long time.

    Language is an ever-evolving entity but when is a word ‘real’ enough to feature in the dictionary? Susan Butler is the editor of the Macquarie Dictionary and has the fascinating task of deciding which words belong in the dictionary.

    Listen to the podcast


  • More shirtfronting!

    Dec 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    The discussions about shirtfronting still go on, fuelled by the fact that the AND (Oxford Dictionary’s Australian branch) has chosen it as their Word of the Year. But it seems to me that there is still a lot of confusion. This is how I see it.

    Since men have been wearing shirts, they have had this habit of grabbing an opponent’s shirt front and twisting it to express their displeasure. Read more...


  • The frog blog

    Dec 05, 2014 | 2 Comments

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    It is the season when the Red Frogs appear again. Their habitat is wherever schoolies might be celebrating schoolies week and they are there to help those who fall by the wayside. Read more...


  • No shirtfronting here!

    Nov 25, 2014 | 1 Comment

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    Every now and then the editors of the dictionary are alerted to the existence of a word, or a different meaning of an existing word, which had previously escaped their notice, so all they can do is belatedly catch up with the language. This is not a case of the dictionary being shirtfronted. Read more...


  • Susan on ABC Local talking about her adventures in English

    Nov 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    Susan Butler has the last word on our words

    Susan Butler discusses her adventures in English with Richard Aedy on Sunday Profile. Read more...

    Listen to the podcast


  • Vape schmape!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 2 Comments

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    I have been asked to comment on the Oxford Word of the Year which was announced yesterday. My first thought was – surely the year isn’t over yet. I haven’t started thinking about Christmas! The chosen word was ‘vape’.  Macquarie did vaping and e-cigarettes in the Word of the Year selection last year so that isn’t new. Read more...


  • Grace Du and Will Stamp are the 2014 Premier's Spelling Bee winners!

    Nov 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    The State Finals of the 2014 Premier’s Spelling Bee Challenge were held yesterday at the ABC Centre in Ultimo.

    The Junior winner was Grace Du, 8, from Kieraville Public with the word rhetorical. The Senior winner was Will Stamp, 11, from Mona Vale Public School who won with the word phosphoresceRead more...


  • What's in your dictionary?

    Oct 24, 2014 | 4 Comments

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    It is odd the way people talk about “the dictionary” – by which they mean that abstraction of the lexicon which they somehow access through whatever particular version and edition they happen to have. Sometimes, this leads to totally unreasonable expectations. Read more...


  • Context can make a word taboo

    Oct 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    It was said that the principal at a private girls' school had refused to have a sextet as an item on the concert program. Possibly she couldn’t face the thought of the titters that would greet this announcement, and insisted that it had to be a quintet or a septet, but NOT a sextet.

    A musician sharing this piece of information commented that in French the word for sextet is sextuor. Just the smallest typo could make it a spicy item indeed.


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Oct 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

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    October 2014

    We've pulled together some more of the interesting words which YOU have recently contributed through our Suggest a word function. Macquarie is currently researching these words to determine their currency within Australian English and to see if they warrant an entry in our end-of-year update. Read more...


  • Mispronunciations

    Oct 02, 2014 | 2 Comments

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    It is not uncommon to find that there is a word that you have encountered in your reading but never heard said.  We fill the void in our head with a pronunciation that we have made up, based on our understanding of the rules of English spelling and applying our intuitions as to how the word might be said. Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Sep 23, 2014 | 1 Comment

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    September 2014

    We've pulled together some of our more interesting words which YOU have recently contributed through our Suggest a word function. Macquarie is currently researching these words to determine their currency within Australian English and to see if they warrant an entry in our end-of-year update. Read more...