Three Quotes for Three Days Part 2

Thanks to Sharon Brownlie and Eric Lahti for nominating me for the “Three Quotes for Three Days” challenge.
The rules of the challenge are:
Three quotes for three days.
Three nominees each day (no repetition).
Thank the person who nominated you.
Inform the nominees.


Today’s quote comes from a figure who has been applauded and shunned, feted and faced controversy. It is of course Germaine Greer. But in this case, there is no controversy.

“Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit; reminders of order, calm and continuity; lakes of mental energy; neither warm nor cold; light nor dark.”

I nominate:

Max Power

Rebecca Pintre

Nathan G K


Three Quotes for Three Days

Thanks to Sharon Brownlie and Eric Lahti for nominating me for the “Three Quotes for Three Days” challenge.
The rules of the challenge are:
Three quotes for three days.
Three nominees each day (no repetition).
Thank the person who nominated you.
Inform the nominees.

This is a language blog, and so the quotes have to reflect that. Today’s quote is from George Orwell.

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

I nominate:

Lynn Schreiber

Liz Doran

Samantha Gouldson


Jumping into Books!

I did tell you that launch was used to mean Jump! How very appropriate for our new venture with Jump Magazine, which is now launching its first books! Check them out here!

Let’s start with my own:

Fed up with passive literary girls? Had enough of stereotypes? Try this girl-positive story, featuring Lucy, who is limited only by her mobile signal!

By Millie Slavidou my book photo

Lucy Evans, InstaExplorer

Book One: The Olympias Clue

Book Two: Dragon’s Rock

Book One: Follow the adventures of Lucy, our hi-tech explorer, as she wields an i-Phone through exciting archaeological discoveries in sunny Greece, in a corner not much frequented by the British tourist.

Book Two: Lucy goes on holiday to sleepy Wales. Only it’s not as sleepy as she expected, and a chance find sends her into the heart of a thrilling kidnap case

Release date: Monday 9th December


Also coming soon on Jump Mag!


By Samantha Gouldson sam's book photo.php

12 Science Words

That don’t mean what you think they do

This is a great little vocabulary booster, aimed at explaining to children that words they may already know, such as “proof”, can have a different meaning from what they have learnt when used in a scientific context. Written in a clear, concise manner, this is a great way to introduce children to this concept.

Release date: Monday 9th December


Forthcoming in 2015 via Jump Mag: 12 Women Explorers You’ve Never Heard Of

A great look at history via less well-known figures. Well-researched and written in a style designed to attract children and interest them in the past, in language that they can understand but that does not patronise them.


I was inspired to write this post by my own experience of make-up just recently. You can read about it on my friend Lynn Schreiber’s blog Salt and Caramel, where she has kindly hosted my article.

What does cosmetic mean?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary tells us:

          : used or done in order to improve a person’s appearance

          : done in order to make something look better

          : not important or meaningful

The Oxford English Dictionary says more or less the same thing. But is this what everyone thinks of the word? And is it generally viewed in a positive or negative way?


I conducted a small internet survey on what people thought of the word. My question was framed like this:

What does the word “cosmetic” make you think of? Immediate reactions? Positive/ negative/ neutral?

I was intrigued by the replies. First of all, the response among women was overwhelmingly negative, with several people saying “fake”. Another popular answer was “artificial”. The majority of the men who responded said “neutral”, with just one person finding it negative. Two answered “products for women”.

The least common reaction was positive, with neutral coming in second after negative. I did not specify in my question whether the word should be an adjective or a noun, nor did I give any context, so these are simply reactions to the word itself.

Let’s take a look at the responses. Some people answered with just one word – positive, negative or neutral, while others included other comments. Still others stated what they associated the word with without saying whether it was positive or negative.

Reaction                                             Number of Responses*

Positive                                                               7

Negative                                                            24

Negative or Positive                                            2

Neutral                                                               10

Neutral towards Negative                                    6

Neutral towards Positive                                     3

Word association                                                          Number of Responses*

fixing                                                                                                    3

fake/ fakery                                                                                         8

artificial                                                                                                6

superficial                                                                                            7

specific product (moisturiser, perfume)                                               3

make-up, beauty products                                                                 13

products for women                                                                            2

surgery                                                                                               8

covering a flaw                                                                                   4

cover-up                                                                                             2

surface alterations                                                                             1

cosmetic work on house                                                                    1

shallow                                                                                              6

range of meanings                                                                            3

to do with appearance in general                                                      3

of no consequence                                                                           1

* The numbers in the two charts are not the same, as firstly not everyone stated whether it was positive or negative, secondly, some of the respondents made more than one association, eg “make-up, artificial”. To clarify: there were 57 responses in total. I realise that the sample size is relatively small, but I think it is worth noting that the word produces a negative association so frequently.

Two responses deserve their own special mention:

cosmetic repairs infer either not much work needs doing, or that someone has hidden bigger problems.

and less succinct, but interesting in that it was all inspired by one single word:

Superfluous, living in a vacuum, substitution, fix it, fake, unreality, open your eyes, wake up, make up.


So where does the word come from? It is quite an easy word to trace. It comes into English through French, from a Latinised form of a Greek word: κοσμητική (τέχνη) [kosmitiki (techni)], meaning “the art of arrangement”, presumably arranging the decoration of someone or something. It comes from κοσμέω [kosmeo], which meant “to arrange, order”, from κόσμος [kosmos], which meant “order”. Interestingly, the word is used in Modern Greek today to mean “world” and, in a more general sense, “people”.

Farewell, Spring!

A shimmering haze in the air,

The distant trilling of birdsong,

And the chittering cricket chorus.

Heavy heat beats down upon us,

With the slightest of breezes stirring gently

To set the green leaves aflutter.

Summer is here.




Ο Αποχαιρετισμός στην Άνοιξη


Ο αέρας τρεμοπαίζει,

Με τα μακρινά κελαϊδίσματα πουλιών

Και την χορωδία του τζίτζικα.

Η ζέστη μας βαραίνει αποπνικτικά,

Με το πιο ελαφρύ αεράκι να αναστώνει

Τα πράσινα φύλλα που θροΐζουν.

Το καλοκαίρι έφτασε.