What’s the Difference Between a Language and a Dialect?

You might have noticed yesterday that when I mentioned the word bairn, I referred to its use in both Scots and Scottish English. And you might have asked yourself: what’s the difference?

I’m not an expert, and not going to go into all the details, but suffice it to say that they’re quite distinct. Continue reading

When is a Chicken a Kitchen?

Well, never, of course. But these two words are quite often confused by English-language learners. It makes sense really. The two words obviously sound similar, and that’s particularly true for speakers of languages which don’t make such a distinction between the ch (/ʧ/) and k (/k/) sounds. And of course it’s logical to create an association between the two things: where else are you going to keep your chicken?

Continue reading