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National Libraries Day UK

Ever wondered what the Latin word for owl is? Or what links Fred Perry and Ping Pong? Maybe not, but you may be able to find the answers to these questions and many more at your fingertips in your local library. As areas for ideas, inspiration, imagination, and information Public Libraries are stocked full of not only books but online resources to help one and all find what they need.

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Friday procrastination: Snow leopard edition

It’s Friday once more and I’m holed up in my snow-proof bunker anticipating Nemo — both the storm and the movie. Readers browsing through the damaged library of Holland House in West London, wrecked by a bomb on 22 October 1940. The University of North Carolina’s Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library is publishing one piece of Civil War-era correspondence a day, 150 years to the day after it was written.

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A Grove Music Mountweazel

By Anna-Lise Santella
On my desk sits an enormous, overstuffed black binder labeled in large block letters “BIBLE”. This is the Grove Music style sheet that was handed to me on my first day on the job, the same one — with a few more recent amendments — assembled by Stanley Sadie and his editorial staff for the first edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians published in 1980.

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Friday procrastination: it’s 2013 edition

People gradually returned to the office this week, but this year in linking goes off with a bang. We have strong showing from Berfrois and Inside Higher Ed to begin. I’m finally getting sick of the 2012 listicles (and I really like those year-end lists). And videos! But first, here’s a picture of some of the books OUPblog received last year despite the fact that we don’t review books on the blog.

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Neuroscience in education

By Sergio Della Sala & Mike Anderson
In the past ten years, there has been growing interest in applying our knowledge of the human brain to the field of education – including reading, learning, language, and mathematics.Teachers themselves have embraced the neuro revolution enthusiastically. 

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Drinking vessels: ‘bumper’

By Anatoly Liberman
Some time ago, I devoted three posts to alcoholic beverages: ale, beer, and mead. It has occurred to me that, since I have served drinks, I should also take care of wine glasses. Bumper is an ideal choice for the beginning of this series because of its reference to a large glass full to overflowing. It is a late word, as words go: no citation in the OED predates 1677. If I am not mistaken, the first lexicographer to include it in his dictionary was Samuel Johnson (1755). For a long time bumper may have been little or not at all known in polite society.

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Oh, what lark!

By Anatoly Liberman
For some time I have fought a trench war, trying to prove that fowl and fly are not connected. The pictures of an emu and an ostrich appended to the original post were expected to clinch the argument, but nothing worked. A few days ago, I saw a rafter of turkeys strutting leisurely along a busy street. Passersby were looking on with amused glee while drivers honked. The birds (clearly, “fowl”) crossed the road without showing the slightest signs of excitement.

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Friday procrastination: milking edition

It’s been an eventful week in Oxford spires (although I write this from the New York office which contains no spires). We had a kerfuffle over the OED and we’re gearing up for the Place of the Year extravaganza next week. So what have we learned in between?

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Friday procrastination: M(o)ustache edition

It’s the close of WOTY week everyone and I’m GIFed out. Welcome new followers! And goodbye to those who quickly OD’ed on Oxford content. You will be missed. First off, it’s Movember, when men around the world sprout moustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues. Our own Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is presenting a moustachioed man (no women) every day this month on Twitter.

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Six WOTY confusables about GIF

There has also been some widespread confusion on a few things relating to GIF’s selection as Word of the Year [USA], so we thought it would be helpful to give a little roundup for clarification.
(1) Oxford Dictionaries USA and The New Oxford American Dictionary (and Oxford Dictionaries UK and Oxford Dictionary of English) are not the Oxford English Dictionary. OUP publishes many dictionaries and the OED is only one of them.

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Friday procrastination: energy pod edition

Many moons ago OUPblog had a “Friday Procrastination” series collecting some interesting (and non-Oxford!) reading from around the web. I’m hoping to kick start it again with what I’ve been reading this week. Any further recommendations are welcome.

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Slang is good for you

By Michael Adams

Slang is good for you. Some people say that it isn’t. They think it’s vulgar, sloppy, repetitive. They think it’s casual speech out of place in semi-formal discourse, Chuck Taylors with a jacket and tie.

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A global ingle-neuk, or, the size of our vocabulary

By Anatoly Liberman
The size of our passive vocabulary depends on the volume of our reading.  Those who grew up in the seventies of the twentieth century read little in their childhood and youth, and had minimal exposure to classical literature even in their own language. Their children are, naturally, still more ignorant. I have often heard the slogan: “Don’t generalize!” and I am not. I am speaking about a mass phenomenon, not about exceptional cases.

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The Oxford Companion to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony

Many questioned how the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was going to make a mark after the spectacular Beijing Olympics only four years earlier. While Beijing presented the Chinese people moving as one body — dancing, marching, and presenting a united front to the world — the British answer was a chaotic and spirited ceremony, shifting from cricket matches to coordinated dance routines, Mr Bean’s comedic dream to a 100-foot Lord Voldemort.

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Scholarly citation and the value of standard editions

By Gordon Campbell
A personal library represents the intellectual history of its owner. The earliest volumes tend to be those bought as an undergraduate; in their margins there are scribbled notes that are now embarrassing. Another stratum of the library represents books bought for teaching and research; in my case, many of these came from second-hand bookshops.

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