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New words and old words

The English language is constantly changing. Discover the words that are disappearing from our communications and the new words that are taking their place.

We were talking in class this week about language change and vocabulary learning. The words that people use are not fixed and, over time, some new words appear and some other words go out of fashion and people stop using them. This can make word learning challenging as it is not always clear which words are current and which words are no longer in use.

Read the article and then complete the IELTS-style questions by finishing the sentences:

An ongoing study by two UK universities has been considering the way that English word usage is continuously changing.

The research has discovered that once-popular words like ‘golly gosh’, ‘cassette’, and ‘croquet’ are slowly disappearing from both spoken and written communication.

While this process is taking place, new words are appearing in the language every day, for example, the company name ‘YouTube’ has become a verb (to YouTube something) and now we often say ‘flat screen’ instead of television.

An ongoing study by the University of Wessex has revealed the 10 words that have declined most rapidly since the 1990s, as well as the top 10 that have gained the most ground. Words that the researchers have found to be disappearing include the word “cobbler” (a person who mends shoes) and “ta-ra” (a form of goodbye). The research has been enabled through the help of 2,500 volunteers from all over the UK who have recorded themselves talking with their family and with their friends.

It is of no real surprise that the internet has had a significant impact on the changes in language use: today’s top words include "email", "internet", "Facebook", "Google", "YouTube", "website", "Twitter", "texting", "iPhone", and "iPad". Researcher Brian May at Wessex University said, "Language change shows the things that are most important to people; today we are very focused on technology and on the internet.”

Questions

  1. Words that used to be common often _________.
  2. Every day, new words are __________.
  3. The work by the Wessex University is __________.
  4. The research could take place because of 2,500 __________.
  5. Major language use changes have been caused by the __________.
  6. Things that are important to people are shown by language __________.
New words and old words. English language blog post.

Answers

  1. Words that use to be common often disappear.
  2. Every day, new words are appearing.
  3. The work by the Wessex University is ongoing.
  4. The research could take place because of 2,500 volunteers.
  5. Major language use changes have been caused by the internet.
  6. Things that are important to people are shown by language change.

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