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

Difference between ‘missive’ and ‘letter’

First, the pronunciation:  The first syllable of ‘miss’ is pronounced like the word ‘miss’, while the second sounds like the ‘ive’ in ‘massive’ and ‘passive’. The stress is on the first syllable. A missive is a longish letter, often official, sent by someone. It is usually sealed and contains ‘private’ information. The word is considered rather old fashioned, and is mostly used in literary contexts; in informal contexts, it is used humorously.

Example: After the meeting, the Ambassador sat down and wrote a five page missive to the President.

The word ‘missive’ comes from the Latin ‘missus’ meaning ‘to send’; missives are usually sent to individuals. ‘Letter’, on the other hand, is a general term and it can be sent to individuals, companies, organisations, etc. It may deal with business or private matters.

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

Meaning of the expression ‘thanks but no thanks’?

If someone offers you something, and you respond by saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’, what you mean is ‘I appreciate the offer, but I decline.’ The expression is one way of refusing or turning down an invitation; it is always used to convey a rejection.

Example:  When Rahul offered to help me with the project, I told him, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

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

Pronunciation: Academic

The first ‘a’ is like the ‘a’ in ‘ants’, ‘pants’, and ‘hands’; the second is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The ‘e’ like the ‘e’ in ‘set’, ‘bet’, and ‘pet’, and the final ‘ic’ is like the ‘ick’ in ‘pick’, ‘click’, and ‘stick’.

The stress is on the third syllable ‘dem’. The word is pronounced ‘akeDEMik’.

Example: “Do you want to be an academic when you grow up?”

Source: “The Hindu”   – Know Your English  Column -  Jan 29, 2008