How is the word “extempore” pronounced?

The word consists of four syllables and not three. The first syllable ‘ex’ sounds like the ‘ex’ in ‘expect’, ‘excite’, and ‘expel’. The following ‘e’ is like the ‘e’ in ‘test’, ‘pest’, and ‘best’; the ‘o’ is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The final ‘e’ is like the ‘i’ in ‘pit’, ‘bit’ and ‘sit’. The word is pronounced ‘extemperi’ with the stress on the second syllable. When you give a speech ‘extempore’, you give it without really preparing for it. It’s an impromptu speech, and it’s usually given without the help of any notes.

*You must be out of your mind if you think I’m going to speak extempore.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 12, 2008

Meaning of the expression “to separate the sheep from the goats”.

This is an expression that comes from the Bible. When you say that you are going to separate the sheep from the goats, what you mean is that you are going to separate the good from the bad. It is also possible to say, “sort out the sheep from the goats”. These two expressions have the same meaning as “to separate the wheat from the chaff”.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 12, 2008

Difference between “sojourn” and “journey”

When you take a journey, you travel from one place to another. The distance may be covered in a matter of few hours, or it may take several days or months. A journey may or may not involve a brief halt or stop somewhere along the way. The original meaning of ‘journey’ was a day’s travel.

*The two drove like crazy and completed the journey in five hours.

As for the word ‘sojourn’, first, let’s deal with the pronunciation. The ‘o’ in the first syllable is like the ‘o’ in ‘hot’, ‘got’, and ‘pot’. The ‘j’ that follows is like the ‘j’ in ‘jam’, ‘jack’, and ‘job’; the final ‘ourn’ is like the ‘urn’ in ‘burn’ and ‘turn’. The stress is on the first syllable ‘so’. A ‘sojourn’ is a not a journey of any kind. When you sojourn somewhere, you stay in that place for a short while; the stay is usually temporary. The word is mostly used in formal contexts.

*Dravid sojourned at his brother’s home on his way to Mumbai.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 12, 2008

How is the word ‘kiosk’ pronounced?

The ‘ki’ in the first syllable is pronounced like the word ‘key’, and the following ‘o’ sounds like the ‘o’ in ‘pot’, ‘hot’ and ‘got’. The final ‘sk’ is like the ‘sk’ in ‘skip’, ‘skit’, and ‘skid’; the stress is on the first syllable. This is just one of the ways of pronouncing the word.

A kiosk is usually a small structure where newspapers and light refreshments like sandwiches and soda are sold; you usually buy these items through an open window. Thanks to cell phones, telephone kiosks are slowly disappearing.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 12, 2008

Is it okay to introduce myself in the following manner? “I am Mr. Thomas.”

When James Bond introduces himself, he says, ‘My name is Bond. James Bond’. He doesn’t say ‘My name is Mr. Bond. Mr. James Bond’. We often hear Indian men introduce themselves as ‘Mr. Sharma’, ‘Mr. Rao’, etc. When you introduce yourself, there is no need for you to include ‘Mr.’ before your name. Native speakers of English do not include the word ‘Mr.’ when they introduce themselves.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 12, 2008

‘modus vivendi’

A ‘modus vivendi’ is a practical arrangement which allows two people who have a difference of opinion about something, to work or live together while waiting for their dispute to be settled. This arrangement is usually temporary.

Pronunciation of this Latin expression:

The ‘m..o..d’ rhymes with ‘load’, ‘showed’ and ‘toad’, and the ‘u’ that follows is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The first ‘i’ in ‘vivendi’ is like the ‘i’ in ‘kit’, ‘bit’ and ‘sit’, while the second is like the ‘ee’ in ‘see’, ‘bee’, and ‘fee’. The ‘e’ in ‘ven’ sounds like the ‘e’ in ‘set’, ‘bet’ and ‘pet’. The main stress is on the second syllable of ‘vivendi’. This is just one of the ways of pronouncing the word.

Example: In order to complete the project on time, a modus vivendi was achieved between the two countries.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 05, 2008

Origin of the word ‘magazine’

The word magazine has several different meanings. A publication containing articles, ads, stories and photographs that comes out on a regular basis is called a magazine. The part of the gun which contains the bullets is also called a magazine. How did this word acquire such different meanings? According to scholars, the word ‘magazine’ comes from the Arabic ‘makhzan’ meaning ‘storehouse’. The original magazine was a place where grain and other goods were stored. According to the columnist, this explains why the part of the gun which contains the bullets is called a magazine – it is a storehouse for the ammunition. Did you know that before the 19th century even ordinary books were called ‘magazines’? After all, books are a storehouse of knowledge, aren’t they? It was only in the 19th century that the word ‘magazine’ began to refer to periodicals.

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column –  Feb 05, 2008