Spooktacular language facts on Halloween

  •  The dot over the lower case i is called a tittle.
  • There is only one word in English with three consecutive sets of double letters … Bookkeeper
  • There is a word in English with only one vowel, which occurs five times: “indivisibility.”
  • There is a seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, “therein”: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.
  • There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: abstemious and facetious.
  • There are only two sequences of four consecutive letters that “rstu” and “mnop.” Examples of each are understudy and gymnophobia.
  • The shortest word in the English language with all its letters in alphabetical order is the word almost.
  • The Philippines has more than 1,000 regional dialects and two official languages.
  • The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.
  • The longest one syllable word is screeched.
  • The letter most in use in the English language is “E” and the letter “Q” is least used.
  • Of all the words in the English language, the word “set” has the most definitions.
  • Of all the languages in the world, English has the largest vocabulary about 800,000 words.
  • No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.


Great article for linguists and those people who (like me) are irritated by the overuse of exclamation marks. Great name for it by the way – bangorrhea. Could it also be a flightless bird from Wales!


Do women do this more than men as the article claims?

I notice a lot of them [!] in students’ assignments and also far too many capitals on words that should never have them (Table, Chair etc). Anyone want to suggest a word for using capitals too much/indiscriminately? I will email suggestions to the Urban Dictionary?

Questionnaire Design

Things to Avoid when Asking Questions

  • Complex Question: questions that are too difficult for the respondents to answer
  • Leading and Loaded Questions
  • leading questions: questions that point respondents towards the answer desired by the researcher
  • loaded questions: questions that both point respondents towards a particular answer and are emotional laden
  • Ambiguous Questions: Questions that do not provide respondents with enough information so as to intelligently answer the question
  • Double barrelled questions: including two different questions in one.
  • Burdensome questions: questions that would require the respondents to put more effort into answering the questionnaire than they are willing to provide
  • assumption questions: questions where researchers assume respondents have information they don’t have

Issues in questionnaire lay out

Pre-testing the questionnaire

  • there are many things that pre-testing a questionnaire can accomplish
  • how long it will take respondents to answer the questionnaire
  • are there any problem questions
  • is it possible to analyse the answers given the way the researcher expects
  • steps in pre-testing a questionnaire
  • develop initial questionnaire
  • administer it to a convenience sample
  • analyse results
  • revise questionnaire
  • conduct additional pre-tests as necessary

Designing questionnaires for global markets

  • questionnaires that are administered in global markets have the additional problems associated with different languages
  • the best way to translate questionnaires is through “Back translation”
  • the questionnaire is initially translated into the other language
  • the translated questionnaire is then translated back into the original language
  • the original and the “Back translated” questionnaires are compared
  • any differences in meaning are addressed

Open-ended versus closed-ended questions

  • open-ended questions: questions where no answers are provided for respondents to select from
  • closed-ended questions: questions where alternatives are given for respondents to select among


Proofreading text 2

As we enter the new millenium it difficult to avoid thinking about how the world is changing. In the 1980’s few people had even seen a computer, let alone owned one. Now they are on most children’ christmas wish lists. In the 1990’s satellite television was a new and wondrous thing – no less than sixteen channels through one ariel! Compare that figure with the hundreds available today. Digital broadcasting has changed our lives to such an extent that the question is no longer ‘TV or not TV’ (to misquote Shakespear), but ‘Could we manage without it?’ Can you imagine life a hundred years ago, when there was neither television or radio. For us, it doesn’t bare thinking about, but perhaps our

great-grandparents were equally as content to sit around a piano as we are to stare at a screen. There would have been no disagreement about what channel to watch, at least.

Which would you chose as the best of the two period’s in which to live?  In 1900 there was less leisure time, accommodation was terribly cramped and there were two word wars to come (not to mention the Spanish flu epidemic which was responsible for more deaths that the Second Worl War); a holiday was a luxury and there was no modern conveniences. I am not infering that all is now perfect. Today we have global warming, gridlocked traffic, GM foods, BSE, AIDS and many other unwelcome contractions, abbreviations and annagrams – problems all partly or wholy attributable to technological advances. On balance, though, I think I would prefer to take my chances in todays silicone-enhanced world of bits and bites than in the troubled times of our forbears.

Proofreading text 1

Burglers – Keep Out!

Rushclife has the lowest burlgary rate in the county. But we cant afford to drop our gaurd.  Reducing burglary even further is a high priority. In May, Rushcliffe Community Safety Partnership launched too projects which will help us reduce it further.

‘If in doubt keep them out’ is a extencion of our successful ‘Doorstopers’ Campaign and will inforn elderly and vulnerible people and the pubic about the need to be suspisious about unexpected callers. Most people who call at you home will be geniune but don’t forget that appearences can be deceptive and bogus callers come in various guises. Be on your guard and always think before you open the door. Look at who it is, leave your door chain on and ask to sea the caller’s identity card.  Check them out by ringing their company using the telephone book – genuine callers will not mind. Get a door sticker and a copy of our free leaflet for more advise.

The second initiative – ‘Safe and Sound’ – looks at other types of burglary. The partnershop has negotiated a discount of 15% at two local companys  – Cookson’s Master Lockmiths of LadyBay and Safeway Security of Gamston. To get the discount, Rushcliffe residents need to get an copy of the Safe and Sound leaflet by calling the Council on 015 918 9911. The leaflet not only contains the discout voucher, but gives detailed advise on how to avoid becoming a burglary victimn. There’s also a specific grant scheme where the Police and council officers  (eg housing, Social Services, Home Helps etc) will refere a person who they feel would benefit from security improvments to there home. This grant will pay towards security measures such as door locks, chains, window locks and lightening.