The Resource Centre now subscribes to the print edition of Happiful, a monthly magazine about mental health.

Happiful is also a free e-magazine and a website.


Topping up

Want to add printing credit to your account (aka top up)? There is no longer a pay station in UEA Library, so you cannot use cash.

Instead, you need a bank card. You can top up on any INTO or UEA computer or the PaperCut website.


Virtual tour of UEA Library

UEA Library has created a new virtual tour of the building, aimed at new students.

Click on things to read tips and watch videos explaining some of the mysteries of the library.


First Assignment advice

UEA Library and the Learning Enhancement Team have made a website called UEA Your First Assignment and Beyond.

So far it consists of:

Finding and using information

  • Types of information
  • Finding your sources
  • Reading effectively
  • Evaluating your sources
  • Managing your information

Writing your assignment

  • Planning your assignment
  • Using sources in your assignment
  • Drafting your assignment

Connecting to eduroam

The procedure for connecting phones, laptops, etc. to eduroam has changed again.

The latest instructions are here.


UEA EzProxy links

Hyperlinks which include will stop working after this month. For instance:

For more information, see this Tag post.


Young Adult eLibrary

As well as e-newspapers and magazines, you can read (and listen to) ebooks through Norfolk Libraries.

The collections include a Young Adult eLibrary.

Its books are categorized by up to four readability indicators: Interest Levels, ATOS levels, Lexile Measures and Text Difficulty. For example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has an ATOS level of 6, while Puddin’ is at 4.9.

(How reliable and useful these indicators are is debatable.)

You need a library card number and PIN to sign in. Joining Norfolk Libraries is free.



Join Norfolk Libraries and you can read magazines and newspapers online in various languages, via PressReader.

Norfolk library staff will be in UEA Library tomorrow (Tuesday 8th October) to help you:

If you sign in to PressReader with a Norfolk library card number and PIN, the service is free. Joining Norfolk Libraries is also free.


Telegraph Historical Archive

The university now has access to the Telegraph Historical Archive, for the years 1855 to 2000.

From the Daily Telegraph, May 28, 1969, p. 23:

Anger at 'morality patrol'


Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology

UEA Library has purchased the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. It contains over 2000 entries, from Abolitionism to Znaniecki, and is regularly updated.


Borrowing rules

INTO Resource Centre has changed its borrowing rules. From now on INTO students and staff can borrow up to 8 items (books, DVDs, etc.) for 4 weeks.

Items can be renewed indefinitely, so long as nobody else wants them. But you will need to tell us.

UEA students who are living in INTO accommodation have the same privileges as INTO students.


Free audio books

There are many free audio books online. They normally come with the texts, so you can listen and read at the same time. Try these sites:

Searching the web for free audio books will reveal other, similar sites.

Some of the Resource Centre’s graded readers come with audio CDs. You can also borrow a CD player from us and connect it to your laptop.


Science Weekly podcasts

The Guardian’s Science Weekly podcasts have been broadcast from 2006 to the present.

For example, earlier this month a podcast discussed finding life on other planets.

You can listen to the podcasts on the Guardian website, or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. They can also be downloaded as MP3 files.


Science journalism guide

Science Writing: the Basics (PDF) is a beginner’s guide from the Association of British Science Writers. It answers these questions:

  • What is science writing?
  • What do science writers do?
  • Where do science writers work?
  • What do science writers earn?
  • What skills do you need to be a science writer?
  • How do I get a foot in the door?
  • Where can I find out more?

The ABSW site also has links to other online resources, such as a series of Guardian articles on science writing.


Request, Read, Return

There are some more changes at UEA Library. Undergraduates (and INTO students?) can now borrow 15 books, up from 10. Books will be automatically renewed until requested by another user.

More information here and in this video:


Connecting phones and laptops to eduroam

The procedure has changed somewhat. New instructions are here.


Campus map

For those of you arriving in Norwich this weekend, here is our campus map (PDF).


Dummies and Complete Idiots

The O’Reilly collection has a large number of ebooks in both the For Dummies and the (Complete) Idiot’s Guide series.

Titles in the For Dummies series include:

The (Complete) Idiot’s Guides include:


How to argue

How to Argue is a book by the lawyer Jonathan Herring.

Do you hate arguments and avoid them at all costs? Or do you
just find that you keep losing them? Perhaps even when you
win, somehow you feel it has all been counter-productive?

If so, this is the book for you. It will teach you how to argue

The book lists 10 golden rules:

  1. Be prepared
  2. When to argue, when to walk away
  3. What you say and how you say it
  4. Listen and listen again
  5. Excel at responding to arguments
  6. Watch out for crafty tricks
  7. Develop the skills for arguing in public
  8. Be able to argue in writing
  9. Be great at resolving deadlock
  10. Maintain relationships

It is available through O’Reilly, which UEA Library has (temporary?) access to. You will need to register using your UEA email address.

Most of the books and videos on O’Reilly are IT-related, but there are other topics, such as professional communication (e.g. writing and presenting).


UEA Library Search update

There has been another change to UEA Library Search. (See our 5th August post.)

As before, searching is from the main UEA Library page. The two tabs have changed: one is now SEARCH EVERYTHING while the other is BOOKS+.

The update is explained further here.


Language aptitude tests

Test 1

The questions in this section are based on an invented language called Dobla.

tashu duset sekar The diplomat seduces the daughter.
tine betsut vardar The maid helps the valet.
betsu tinet sirehar Does the valet love the maid?
claru bichut sudar The earl consults the butler.
vardehar bichu kochet Does the butler help the cook?
pante sirar tomut The scullery-maid loves the footman.
rokar elede duset The countess summons the daughter.
clarut tikehar mage Does the dowager rebuke the earl?


  1. Give the meaning of:
    1. tomu sekehar tashut
    2. pantet tikar koche
  2. Translate into Dobla: Does the daughter consult the dowager?

Test 2

The invented language is Kalaamfaadi.

Felhom ghrabop karhyd The farmer hates the crow
Milkyd felhom rassop The farmer owns a gun
Tayrom rassop karhyd The bird hates the gun
Sadyd tayrop sabyom The boy helps the bird
Bussyd felhop ghrabom The crow sees the farmer
Extayrop felhom talkyd The farmer shoots the birds
Exsabyom extalkyd felhop The boys shoot the farmer


  1. Give the meaning of:
    1. Exfellop sadyd rassom
    2. Extayrom exsabyop exbussyd
  2. Translate into Kalaamfaadi: The crows own guns.

Test 1 is from a test taken by Oxford University applicants who want to study classics. Test 2 is from a test for Oxford applicants in Oriental Studies.

Source: LRB blog. For likely answers to the questions, see the comments.



Tatoeba is a database of sentences and translations. Enter a phrase and it shows example sentences in several languages.

For example, a search for get drunk finds 95 English sentences, such as:

Let's get drunk.
Don't get drunk.
Tom is getting drunk.
I never get drunk.
Getting drunk won't make things better.

Sentences come with a varying number of translations.

Tom gets drunk almost every evening.
Том се пијани скоро секоја вечер.
Том напивается почти каждый вечер.
Tom se emborracha casi todas las noches.
Tom hemen hemen her akşam sarhoş oluyor.
Том напивається майже кожного вечора.

Some sentences have been given tags such as “present continuous”, which you can then search for:

You are abusing your authority.
My heart's aching.
My brother is always acting foolishly.

Some sentences include sound recordings.



The Shtooka Project is a collection of sound recordings of words and sentences in several languages.

For example, here is the English word university:


Recordings can be downloaded in various formats. They are used in Wiktionary. They are also being used for our own minimal pair pronunciation quizzes.


Learning English with Oxford

Learning English with Oxford is a new blog from Oxford University Press.

So far there are only a few posts. For example, a list of cat idioms:

  1. Be the cat’s whiskers
  2. Raining cats and dogs
  3. Has the cat got your tongue?
  4. Curiosity killed the cat
  5. Let the cat out of the bag
  6. Like a cat on hot bricks
  7. Like a cat that’s got the cream
  8. Like herding cats
  9. Look like something the cat dragged in
  10. No room to swing a cat
  11. Not stand a cat in hell’s chance
  12. Play a game of cat and mouse with somebody
  13. Put the cat among the pigeons
  14. There’s more than one way to skin a cat
  15. When the cat’s away the mice will play

The blog says, “Keep practising these phrases to improve your fluency.” It does not explain why you should memorize 15 obscure idioms that happen to include the word cat.

But perhaps (to use another idiom) people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.



Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to

Besides the dictionary and thesaurus, there are sections on grammar, spelling, writing, punctuation, word origins, etc.

For example, do you know the longest one-syllable English words? There are several that have nine letters:

  1. screeched /skriːʧt/
  2. schlepped /ʃlɛpt/
  3. scratched /skræʧt/
  4. scrounged /skraʊnʤd/
  5. scrunched /skrʌnʧt/
  6. stretched /strɛʧt/
  7. straights /streɪts/
  8. strengths /strɛŋθs/

(Phonetic transcriptions from toPhonetics.)

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries are still at


Krashen’s website

The linguist Stephen Krashen, known for his hypotheses of second language acquisition, has a website,

It includes the full text of some of the books and articles that he has written over the years.

He also has a Twitter account.


Autumnal words

Autumn is here! Do you know all of these words? They are commonly found on the same web pages as autumn.


  1. winter
  2. leaf
  3. spring
  4. summer
  5. plant
  6. flower
  7. fall
  8. garden
  9. soil
  10. tree
  11. weather
  12. colour
  13. seed
  14. season
  15. foliage
  16. temperature
  17. species
  18. root
  19. shade
  20. fruit
  21. sun
  22. stem
  23. pumpkin
  24. pot
  25. shrub
  26. grass
  27. mountain
  28. crop
  29. green
  30. variety
  31. festival
  32. rain
  33. bird
  34. harvest
  35. container
  36. frost
  37. forest
  38. holiday


  1. warm
  2. cold
  3. beautiful
  4. yellow
  5. dry
  6. growing
  7. cool
  8. bright
  9. lovely


  1. plant
  2. grow
  3. harvest

Source: iWeb Corpus


English is really Chinese

You can read more about this slightly surprising discovery in the Taiwan News (in English) and Sina Online (in Chinese).

Source: Language Log


Norwich Science Festival

This year’s Norwich Science Festival takes place between 18th and 26th October.

Many events are held at The Forum and are free. Some events require tickets.

There is a brochure.


The Antimoon Method

According to the Antimoon website:

typical English classes are not an effective way to learn English. They produce very slow progress, espe­cially after you reach the interme­diate level. Most learners, after years of attending classes, cannot speak English without making a lot of mistakes in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Instead, the Antimoon Method requires “massive amounts of input”, such as reading 60 pages and listening to 6 hours of English every week. It advises you not to focus on grammar rules. You should try to eliminate mistakes early on.

The site identifies seven myths:

  1. The best way to learn a foreign language is to go to a foreign country
  2. The best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it
  3. It is OK to make mistakes
  4. As a beginner, you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes
  5. You are a foreigner, therefore you will always have a foreign accent
  6. If you didn’t learn a foreign language as a child, you will never be fully proficient in its grammar
  7. Studying pronunciation is not important

You can read more about the Antimoon Method here.


Type IPA phonetic symbols

This website lets you type words with symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), like these:

ʃ θ ʊ ʌ ʒ æ ɑ ð ə ɪ ŋ ɒ

You can then copy the IPA text to your document.

Another website (previously mentioned) converts your English text to IPA.


New Statesman, and other magazines

The New Statesman is, in its own words, “the leading progressive political and cultural magazine in the United Kingdom.” It has been published since 1913.

Unless you subscribe, there is only limited access to the website, but you can read the magazine via EBSCOhost.

Other British political magazines include:



Taikonaut was recently an OED Word of the day. It is thought to be a blend of the Chinese words tai kong (outer space) and astronaut. It is one of several words ending in -naut.

The OED says -naut forms words with the sense of voyager or traveller. Here are some more examples:

  • aeronaut – a balloonist; a spider which floats through the air
  • aquanaut – an underwater explorer
  • Argonaut – one of the legendary heroes who sailed with Jason in the Argo
  • cosmonaut – a Soviet or Russian astronaut
  • psychonaut – someone who experiments with psychedelic drugs
  • Reaganaut – an advocate of the policies of US President Reagan

The word juggernaut (a heavy lorry) has quite a different etymology.


Five ways to get better at a new language

From an article in the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

  1. Listen to the language
  2. Don’t try too hard with the grammar
  3. Choose the right time of day to learn
  4. Take long breaks
  5. Drink a little alcohol

The article includes links to the supporting research, some of which might be rigorous.

There is also a podcast, How to Learn a New Language, which reports that you may be able to boost vocabulary learning during sleep.


OED Word of the Day

The Oxford English Dictionary picks a word each day. They tend to be “hard” or unusual words.

Recent picks include:

  • bricoleur – a person who performs a variety of manual jobs; someone who fixes things in an ingenious manner
  • grandiloquent – characterized by a high-flown, extravagant, or bombastic style or manner, esp. in language
  • Nowheresville – a largely unknown or uninteresting place, esp. a small, rural town
  • lactivist – a passionate advocate of (exclusive) breastfeeding as the preferred means to feed a baby
  • taikonaut – a Chinese astronaut

You can see the latest words on the OED website, on Twitter, or via RSS or email.



PsychCrunch is a series of podcasts from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

For example, one episode is How to be Funnier:

Can psychology help us to be funnier? Our presenter Ginny Smith hears how a key ingredient of humour is “incongruity” and the surprise of unexpected meanings. Individual words too can be amusing, but actually most of the time we laugh not because we’ve seen or heard a joke, but as a natural part of friendly interaction.

Besides the podcasts themselves, each episode is accompanied by links to background reading.

So far there are seventeen episodes:

  1. Dating and Attraction
  2. Breaking Bad Habits
  3. How to Win an Argument
  4. The Psychology of Gift Giving
  5. How To Learn a New Language
  6. How To Be Sarcastic
  7. Use Psychology To Compete Like an Olympian.
  8. Can We Trust Psychological Studies?
  9. How To Get The Best From Your Team
  10. How To Stop Procrastinating
  11. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
  12. How To Be Funnier
  13. How to Study and Learn More Effectively
  14. Psychological Tricks To Make Your Cooking Taste Better
  15. Is Mindfulness A Panacea Or Overhyped And Potentially Problematic?
  16. What’s It Like To Have No Mind’s Eye?
  17. How To Make Running Less Painful And More Fun


Microhistory, according to Wikipedia, “is a genre of history writing which focuses on small units of research, such as an event, community, individual, or a settlement.”

At Goodreads people have voted for the top 100 microhistory books. Of these the top ten are:

  1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  2. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  3. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (also titled The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words)
  4. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  5. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
  6. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  7. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  8. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
  9. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
  10. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky

Money on the Mind

Money on the Mind is a blog on behavioural economics “& other mind-blowing things” by a Dutch PhD student at Warwick Business School.

It has some recent interviews with behavioural economists, including UEA’s Professor Sugden.



SciDev.Net carries news and analysis about science and technology for global development.

It has a section of Practical guides, such as:



UEA’s School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies has a politics blog called Eastminster.

While it appears to be written entirely by two people called Editor and Admin, closer inspection reveals the actual authors.

Some examples of posts:


Library language

INTO Resource Centre has a new leaflet for its users:

Labelled stationery items Table of library expressions Table of library expressions Library expressions and labelled IT equipment

Lonweb parallel texts

Lonweb or Languages-on-the-web has some stories and other texts translated from English into other languages. The texts are displayed in parallel.

For example, this is the beginning of a story in Indonesian and English:

Pencarian untuk Lorna  The search for Lorna
Daisy Hamilton adalah seorang detektif swasta. Daisy Hamilton was a private detective.
Dia berumur 30 tahun dan telah menjadi detektif dalam dua tahun ini. She was thirty years old and had been a detective for the past two years.
Tiap pagi dia pergi ke kantornya untuk menunggu panggilan telpon atau membukakan pintu bagi klien yang membutuhkan pelayanannya. Every morning she went to her office to wait for phone calls or open the door to clients needing her services.

Other languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai and Turkish.

Note: INTO Resource Centre has a few books of parallel texts (English with Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Spanish), like this one:


Semicolon, by Cecelia Watson

A new book about the semicolon is reviewed by Stan Carey. It is available from Amazon, etc.

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. … All they do is show you’ve been to college.

Kurt Vonnegut


What not to study if you want to be rich

An article in the Spring 2019 issue of Society Now summarizes the impact of a university degree on future income in Britain. The full report is from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

For men, studying creative arts, English or philosophy results in lower average earnings than if they hadn’t gone to university at all:

For women there are no subjects with negative returns, but studying creative arts increases earnings by only 9%. (For medicine it’s 75%.)

So if you want to earn more money, study the subjects on the right of the graph: economics, medicine, architecture, business, law, etc.

On the other hand, there is at least one thing that money can’t buy.


Why spelling is hard – but also hard to change

In Lingthusiasm Episode 33 Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch discuss spelling.

Gretchen: I think of spelling systems across languages as kind of like living in a house. When you first move into a house, you unpack everything and you hopefully say, “Okay. I’m gonna be organised this time.” And you say, “This is where everything’s gonna go.” But the longer you’ve lived in a house, the more random boxes of stuff in the attic you have.

Lauren: English has lived in the house of the Latin alphabet for a very long time.

You can listen to their discussion or read it.


Bar chart races

A bar chart race is an animated bar chart that shows changes over time.

For example, the top 10 countries by CO2 emissions per capita from 1800 to 2014:

More examples from LivelyData

The most populous cities in the world from 1500 to 2018 (with audio commentary):

You can make your own bar chart races at Flourish.

Source: Economics in Action


Oxford Academic videos

Oxford University Press has a YouTube channel, Oxford Academic, with videos on many topics.

For example, there are some Very Short Introductions to human evolution, behavioural economics, fungi, William Shakespeare, Iran, Buddhism, neoliberalism, etc.

Here is Professor Jones of Norwich Business School on branding:



UEA’s School of Economics has a blog – or rather, a collection of blogs. These include Staff Blogs, Meet the Lecturers and Student Blogs.

Some posts:


The Library 100

The union catalogue WorldCat has listed the 100 novels which are found in the most libraries.

Of these the top 10 are:

  1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  5. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  9. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The complete list is here.


UEA Library Search

There have been some changes to UEA Library’s search page and other pages (e.g. A-Z Databases and UEA Subject Guides).

Search is now done from the main UEA Library page. Choose either the BOOKS & EBOOKS or JOURNAL ARTICLES tab.

Results for print books now show the library floor. For an ebook, click on the View eBook link.

Results for journal articles are much the same as before (but the books have gone). Research Starters are now labelled Start Your Research.

The library has made some videos to help you, including this one:


Teacher training providers

A new page on this website lists organizations that provide training for English language teachers, as well as other staff.

So far these are BALEAP, British Council: TeachingEnglish, CRELLA, CSED, English UK, IATEFL and NILE.


Herman Melville

Herman Melville was born 200 years ago today (1st August 1819). He was an American writer.

His novel Moby-Dick (1851) is the story of Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest for revenge on Moby Dick, a gigantic white whale that bit off his leg. The novel begins:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

You can read it at Project Gutenberg or – with explanatory notes – at Power Moby-Dick. You can listen to a number of actors, some of them quite famous, reading it aloud at Moby Dick Big Read.


Primo Levi

Primo Levi was born 100 years ago today (31st July 1919). He was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor.

He wrote If This Is a Man (1947) and The Truce (1963) about his time in Auschwitz and his journey home.

The Periodic Table (1975) is a collection of autobiographical short stories. Each story is named after a chemical element which played some part in his life – argon, hydrogen, zinc, and so on.

Tim Radford writes in Nature:

In The Periodic Table, Primo Levi — scientist, poet, writer — makes chemistry a metaphor for his life. But it becomes more than that. Chemistry shapes his life, defines his life, in Auschwitz even saves his life. It becomes his living. In the end, chemistry becomes everything: life itself.


ZME Science

ZME Science is another popular science news website.

It is similar to ScienceAlert, which we mentioned earlier this month.


Underground and Independent Comics

UEA Library has purchased a subscription to Underground and Independent Comics. You can read comics from the 1940s onwards, plus The Comics Journal (news and criticism).


The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review is “dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas”, especially works in the public domain.

It has essays on a variety of topics. For example:

There are also collections of images, books, films and sound recordings.



The Fall of Rome


Retraction Watch and Zotero

Retraction Watch is a blog that reports on retractions of academic articles.

A retraction is a statement in an academic journal that an article previously published in the journal is not valid after all. Usually this is because of plagiarism, fraud or serious errors. For example, in 2010 The Lancet retracted a notorious paper by Andrew Wakefield and others (published 12 years earlier) that linked the MMR vaccine to autism.

The referencing tool Zotero now checks the Retraction Watch database to ensure you are not using a retracted source in your research.


YouTube Audio Library

Need background music or sound effects for your video or slideshow? A previous post suggested the Free Music Archive. Another option is the Audio Library from YouTube.

Music tracks are categorized by genre (e.g. ambient, cinematic, classical, pop, reggae) and mood (dark, funky, sad, etc.). You can listen to them online and download them as MP3 files.

Here is “Bubble Walk” by Aaron Lieberman (categorized as ambient and funky):

There is also a large collection of sound effects. These include Creaking Wooden Door, Dissecting a Body, Human Eating Watermelon, Subway NYC In Motion, Thunderstorm, Laundromat Sounds and so on.

This is a Monster Alien Grunt Hiss:



Because Internet

Because Internet : Understanding the New Rules of Language, by linguist Gretchen McCulloch, is a guide to the way internet language is evolving.

She explains how your first social internet experience influences whether you prefer “LOL” or “lol,” why ~sparkly tildes~ succeeded where centuries of proposals for irony punctuation had failed, what emoji have in common with physical gestures, and how the artfully disarrayed language of animal memes like lolcats and doggo made them more likely to spread.

The title comes from the online use of because plus noun. For example:

  • Because reasons.
  • Because science.
  • Because money.

The book is out tomorrow.


LSESU Economics Society essay competition

The London School of Economics Students’ Union Economics Society has an essay competition.

Entry is open to students in their final two years of secondary school, or in sixth form college (including students taking A-Level, the International Baccalaureate, or any other equivalent curriculum). Entrants do not have to be studying at schools within the UK – we accept essays from any school from all countries!

This year the questions are:

  1. “We as a nation, lost $817 billion dollars on trade. That’s ridiculous and it’s unacceptable.” – President Donald Trump.
    Do you agree that a trade deficit is always harmful to a country’s economy?
  2. “If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.” – John Maynard Keynes
    Do you agree with Keynes? Justify your answer.
  3. Should governments bail out banks that go bankrupt?
  4. Recently, there have been proposals to introduce a 3-day weekend. To what extent is this economically feasible and would this benefit the economy?

The deadline is 1st August.

Source: Why Study Economics?


Citing Statista

The website Statista provides statistics and charts on business, industry, etc. Now you can easily cite them in your assignments. For example:

Statistic: Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2019 (in millions) | Statista

On the right of this chart’s Statista page you can see the Citation option:

Citation option

Choose Harvard and you get this reference:

Facebook. (2019). Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2019 (in millions). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 17, 2019.

You can copy this reference and paste it into your assignment.


Journalism ebooks

UEA Library has a collection of ebooks on journalism. For example:

There are more ebooks via ProQuest Ebook Central.


Guess the linguistics vocabulary

Linguistic terms

How many did you get? semantics, phonetics, syntax, typology, discourse, grammar, lexicography, dialectology, pedagogy, literacy, orthography, rhetoric, graphemics, documentation, semiotics, stylistics, vocabulary, implicature, phonotactics, iconicity, articulation, philology

Source: Bethan Siân Tovey via All Things Linguistic


The Scientist’s Guide to Writing

Stephen B. Heard, whose blog Scientist Sees Squirrel we mentioned last week, is a biologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He has written a book, The scientist’s guide to writing (Princeton University Press, 2016).

In the preface he says, “This book is designed for students and early-career scientists across the natural sciences (including mathematics).” There is a chapter for non-native speakers of English.

From the chapter titled Brevity:

Be brief.
Now, that was fun to write, but if advising writers to “be brief ” was all it took, you and I could both just skip this chapter. We can’t. I’ve reviewed, formally or informally, somewhere around a thousand manuscripts over my career, and all but a handful should have been shorter.

You can read the book online through UEA Library.

There are, of course, other books on scientific writing: for example, Writing science by Joshua Schimel, and Academic writing for international students of science by Jane Bottomley (printed copies in the Resource Centre).

Update: Also Mastering Academic Writing in the Sciences : A Step-By-Step Guide by Marialuisa Aliotta.


Why do we make statistics so hard for our students?

From Stephen B. Heard’s blog Scientist Sees Squirrel:

If you’re like me, you’re continually frustrated by the fact that undergraduate students struggle to understand statistics. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: a large fraction of undergraduates simply refuse to understand statistics; mention a requirement for statistical data analysis in your course and you’ll get eye-rolling, groans, or (if it’s early enough in the semester) a rash of course-dropping.

Heard argues that:

we consistently underemphasize the single most important thing about statistics: that this complication is an illusion. In fact, every significance test works exactly the same way.

He goes on to explain how statistics classes can be made simpler.


Science papers are getting harder to read

A study of scientific papers has found that these days they are harder to read.

Here, in a corpus consisting of 707 452 scientific abstracts published between 1881 and 2015 from 122 influential biomedical journals, we show that the readability of science is steadily decreasing. Further, we demonstrate that this trend is indicative of a growing usage of general scientific jargon.

The authors conclude:

more than a quarter of scientific abstracts now have a readability considered beyond college graduate level English.

So if you find a scientific article hard to understand, it may not be your fault!

Source: bioRxiv via Nature


The Little Book of Norwich

The Little Book of Norwich by Neil R. Storey was published in 2015.

This book does not pretend to be a history, concise almanac or even a guide to Norwich; instead it is a collection of ephemeral, nostalgic and miscellaneous facts about a city brimming with history and full of fascinating stories.

It has chapters on unrest, royalty, crime, entertainment, sport, religion, food and many other topics.

For example, in 1272 the citizens of Norwich burned down the local monastery, killed many people and looted everything of value. The King arrived to punish the ringleaders, who were subsequently hanged. Even the Pope got involved.

Seven hundred years later (in 1971) boxing champion Muhammad Ali visited Norwich – to promote Ovaltine.

You can read the book online via UEA Library.


SPSS ebooks

As many of our students know, SPSS is a computer program (aka software application) used for statistical analysis. UEA Library has several ebooks about SPSS, including:

INTO Resource Centre has a print copy of Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics by Andy Field.

There are also YouTube videos, such as the SPSS for Beginners series.


Changes afoot at UEA Library

UEA Library is changing its library management software. The current system is antique (over 17 years old) and needs replacing.

Your borrowing history and saved searches will not be preserved, but you can download them before 20th July.

Read all about it on UEA’s website.


HSTalks again

HSTalks are video lectures and case studies. UEA has access to the Business & Management Collection, which consists of 1,222 talks, 53 of which have been published so far this year.

The lectures are accompanied by slides. Some have transcripts and subtitles, while some include questions.

For example: Tesco: how supply chain strategy supports retail success by Prof. Leigh Sparks of the University of Stirling. This is a “Bite-size Case Study” and lasts about 10 minutes.



ScienceAlert is a science news website.

Every day it has several news items on nature, health, space, tech, the environment, etc.


Lander’s blog

Lander Hawes’s blog offers study advice to international students.

For example:

Lander used to teach English at INTO UEA. When not teaching, he puts on dark glasses and rows boats. He also has a Facebook page.


Ronny Chieng: International Student

Ronny Chieng: International Student is an Australian TV comedy series, first broadcast in 2017.

Malaysian comedian Ronny Chieng plays an international student at the University of Melbourne, which of course is nothing like UEA at all.

You can watch all six episodes on BoB.


Alternative periodic tables

Continuing our celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table, here are some alternative versions on Wikipedia:
Alternative periodic tables
See also There’s More Than One Periodic Table, plus the external links at the end of the Wikipedia article.


Citing Wikipedia

You’re not supposed to cite Wikipedia in your assignments, but hey, let’s stick it to the man. And there are occasions when citing Wikipedia is appropriate. Maybe you’re writing an assignment about Wikipedia!

For the year of publication, use the year when the Wikipedia page was last modified. This information appears at the bottom of the page:

This page was last modified on 17 August 2017, at 17:34.

Here is the format for a Harvard reference to a Wikipedia article about lithic flakes (archaeology).

In-text citation

(‘Title of article’, Year)

Channel flakes are caused by the fluting of particular Paleo-Indian projectile points ('Lithic flake', 2017).

Reference list

‘Title of article’ (Year) Wikipedia. Available at:… (Accessed: date).

'Lithic flake' (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 26 June 2019).

The same format is used when citing other wikis:

'Caxambu Style Borborygmus Potion' (2018) Harry Potter Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Corybas limpidus' (2018) Wikispecies. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Law of Cosines/Proof 3' (2016) Proof Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).

Sherlock Holmes on TV

The Sherlock Holmes stories have been adapated many times for television and the cinema. The TV series that is most faithful to the stories is probably the one made by Granada Television between 1984 and 1994 and starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.

There were seven seasons, grouped as follows. (The links go to playlists in BoB, where you can watch the entire series.)

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985)
  2. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986–1988)
  3. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1991–1993)
  4. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1994)

Episodes can also be found on YouTube.


Sherlock Holmes

The original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle consist of four novels and 56 short stories, published between 1887 and 1927.

The novels are:

  1. A Study in Scarlet
  2. The Sign of the Four
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  4. The Valley of Fear

The short stories are collected in five volumes:

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
  3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes
  4. His Last Bow
  5. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

You can read all of them for free at and (with the exception of The Case-Book) at Project Gutenberg.

A Study in Scarlet is the book in which Dr Watson first meets Sherlock Holmes, and therefore perhaps the best book to start with. If you prefer short stories, you could start with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.


Economics games

The Economics Network has some games for economics classes. For example:

These are not computer games, but require pencils and paper, scissors, tennis balls, etc.



A big welcome to everyone on this year’s presessional course.

Have a wonderful time and don’t work too hard!


Revised SI units

The definitions of four SI base units – the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole – have been changed.

The new definitions are based on fixed numerical values of the Planck constant (h), the elementary charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (k) and the Avogadro constant (NA) respectively. They came into force on 20th May.

The seven SI base units are:

  1. time: second (s)
  2. length: metre (m)
  3. mass: kilogram (kg)
  4. electric current: ampere (A)
  5. thermodynamic temperature: kelvin (K)
  6. amount of substance: mole (mol)
  7. luminous intensity: candela (cd)

You can read more about the units and the change on the website of the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM) and on Wikipedia.


Element scarcity periodic table

In the International Year of the Periodic Table here is a warning about element scarcity from the European Chemical Society:

The smartphone you may be using right now to look at this unique Periodic Table is made up of some 30 elements – over half of which may give cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity. The issue of element scarcity cannot be stressed enough. With some 10 million smartphones being discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone, we need to carefully look at our tendencies to waste and improperly recycle such items.

The periodic table pictured is available as a PDF.

Blog is a blog of daily tips on the IELTS test.

For example, from a recent post, IELTS Speaking: slow down!:

While you may be marked down by the examiner if you hesitate too often, there’s nothing wrong with speaking a bit more slowly and carefully.

You can post comments and questions.



Shockingly, not all of our business students seem to know about Dilbert.

The comic strip has now been running for 30 years.



Lingthusiasm is:

A podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics! Make your boring commute or chores feel like a lively, nerdy, language-y dinner party with real linguists! Gretchen McCulloch (All Things Linguistic) and Lauren Gawne (Superlinguo) bring you into fascinating and hilarious half-hour conversations about the patterns behind language which you never realized you were already saying.

A new episode comes out every month. You can listen to the podcasts and/or read the transcripts. There is (so far) a single video episode, Why do we gesture when we talk?

Some recent topics:

  • You heard about it but I was there – Evidentiality
  • The verb is the coat rack that the rest of the sentence hangs on
  • Words for family relationships: Kinship terms
  • This, that and the other thing – Determiners
  • Talking and thinking about time

The Lost Secret

English teachers and students of a certain age may remember The Lost Secret, a BBC Education video course from 1986.

It tells the story of a man who has lost his memory and who encounters a gang, led by the sinister Professor Sline. The cast includes Miranda Richardson and Vladek Sheybal.

The course is aimed at lower-level students. There are 11 episodes of 13 minutes, each focusing on particular language points.

The videos are currently available on and YouTube.


Loukgolf’s English Room

Kanatip Soonthornrak, aka Loukgolf, is an English teacher from Thailand with a YouTube talk show called Loukgolf’s English Room. He chats to his celebrity guests mainly in English.

The Cambridge ELT blog, World of Better Learning, has an interview with Loukgolf: Part One and Part Two.


Dictionaries in exams

If your first language is not English, you may use a dictionary in any examination at INTO and UEA unless it is expressly forbidden – for example, during an English language test.

It must be a translation dictionary (e.g. Chinese-English) from one of these series:

It may be a good idea to buy one of these dictionaries, as you can use it throughout your time at both INTO and UEA. Prices range from about £4 to £14.


Smithsonian Channel

The Smithsonian Channel is a collection of short educational videos on science and other subjects. For example:

  • Baby hedgehog quills don’t harden right away
  • How the CIA turned the tables on Soviet industrial espionage
  • Is sibling rivalry an important survival tool for lion cubs?
  • The astounding length of seaweed in the Sargasso Sea
  • This ingenious system brings water to the Chinese desert
  • This prehistoric fish makes a great white look like a goldfish
  • Why beetles are such an evolutionary success
  • Why Wales is the place to see amazing Roman forts

The videos have subtitles. There are other video categories at the Smithsonian’s main Videos page.


Galbraith vs. Friedman

The Age of Uncertainty is a BBC television series about the evolution of economic thought from Adam Smith onwards. It was written and presented by the post-Keynsian economist John Kenneth Galbraith and broadcast in 1977.

In response the free-market economist Milton Friedman made a TV series called Free to Choose.

Both The Age of Uncertainty and Free to Choose are currently available on YouTube. Books associated with the two series are in UEA Library.

Also, Joseph Stiglitz writes about Galbraith and Mark Skousen writes about Friedman in the Christian Science Monitor.


Business documentaries on Netflix

Among the films and TV programmes on Netflix are some business documentaries. These ones are currently available in the UK:

  1. Dirty Money (series): corporate corruption from Volkwagen to Trump
  2. Explained (series, mostly non-business): episodes on the stock market, cryptocurrency, racial wealth gap
  3. Drugs Inc. (series): supply train of the illicit drugs trade
  4. Betting on Zero: Herbalife, a pyramid scheme
  5. Banking on Bitcoin: all about Bitcoin
  6. Saving Capitalism: former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on capitalism in the United States
  7. The China Hustle: fraud involving China-based companies
  8. Maddman: The Steve Madden Story: rise, fall and return of a shoe business empire
  9. A New Capitalism: alternatives that tackle inequality
  10. Silicon Cowboys: start-up and rise of Compaq Computer
  11. Stink!: exposing toxic secrets of the chemical industry
  12. In Their Shoes: shoemaking trade in Agra, India
  13. Secrets of Selfridges: history of the department store
  14. Print the Legend: growth of the 3D printing industry

Learn English with Cambridge

Learn English with Cambridge is a new YouTube channel, with videos presented by five youngish teachers.

The videos so far:

  • 3 phrasal verbs to express excitement in English
  • American vs. British English vocabulary differences
  • Asking for and giving directions in English
  • Common travel expressions in English
  • Common mistakes with modal verbs in English
  • Dietary requirements in English
  • How are you? Common British English greetings
  • How to ask someone out via text in English
  • Reacting to bad news


World of Better Learning

World of Better Learning is a blog about English language teaching, from Cambridge University Press.

Posts are written by various people and divided into three categories: Insights, Techniques and Tools. There are also audio and video presentations.

Some examples:


Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by George Orwell. It was published in June 1949 – 70 years ago this month. It has been translated into numerous languages.

In the year 1984 Britain is a province of a superstate ruled by the Party. It is a society of meaningless slogans and worship of the Party leader, Big Brother. There is no privacy and dissent is punished by torture, brainwashing and death. The main character in the novel, Winston Smith, tries to rebel against the system.


The Question Box

The ELT Journal has been published since 1946. Until 1981 it had a section called The Question Box, which answered readers’ questions. Three examples from the earliest issues:

Question: I have recently come across fry-pan for frying-pan. Is this form considered correct?

Answer: Fry-pan is not accepted as standard English and is considered incorrect by most grammarians. It is probably an American form. Similar forms are swim-suit and fly-bomb, both to be found in newspapers in Great Britain. It is likely that such forms will spread and be accepted in time. Grammarians will explain that the correct forms are swimming suit, made up of the noun suit modified by the gerund swimming (a suit for swimming), and flying-bomb, made up of the noun bomb and the participle flying (a bomb that flies). The ordinary user of language does not trouble himself about nice distinctions between gerunds and participles. If the root form of the verb (fry, swim and fly) expresses the meaning, the gain in brevity will in time probably result in the adoption of the shorter forms.

ELT Journal (1946) ‘The Question Box’, 1(2), pp. 50-51. doi:

Question: Should we, in English, use Netherland or Netherlands as an attributive adjective? The bank named after the Midlands is the Midland Bank, and the regiment that derives its name from the highlands is called the Highland Light Infantry.

Answer: Usage requires the use of the plural form, as in The Netherlands Indies. For the foreign student of English it would be helpful if there were uniformity in these matters, but unfortunately there is not uniformity.

ELT Journal (1947) ‘The Question Box’, 1(7), p. 198. doi:

Question: Which is preferable: an opportunity (chance) to see you or an opportunity (chance) of seeing you ?

Answer: Both are correct and there is no preference either way.

ELT Journal (1947) ‘The Question Box’, 2(2), p. 54. doi:


Usage tips

Did you know that “winter denotes a season of the year, but connotes cold weather”?

If not, then perhaps you should consult the Usage section of the Oxford Dictionaries website. It has numerous tips on word choices. For example:

Other sections include grammar, punctuation and spelling.


Easy and difficult languages

The United States Foreign Services Institute groups languages into four categories, according to the average time required for an English-speaking learner to become proficient in them. For example:

  1. 24 weeks: Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish
  2. 36 weeks: German, Haitian Creole, Indonesian, Malay, Swahili
  3. 44 weeks: Albanian, Bengali, Burmese, Czech, Farsi, Finnish, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Kazakh, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Somali, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese (and many others)
  4. 88 weeks: Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin

Language Log has produced an alternative ranking of language difficulty, based on a survey of the blog’s readers. These are some examples. The higher the score, the harder the language (e.g. written Chinese at 5.11 is harder than Spanish at 1.7).

  1. Spanish 1.7
  2. Dutch 1.81
  3. Italian 1.93
  4. French 2.23
  5. English 2.45
  6. German 3
  7. Swedish 3
  8. Mandarin (spoken) 3.5
  9. Hebrew 3.75
  10. Japanese 4.1
  11. Russian 4.14
  12. Arabic 4.69
  13. Turkish 4.77
  14. Chinese (written) 5.11

Chinese students and English names

Many Chinese students adopt English names while studying in English-speaking countries. This article in Language, Culture and Curriculum explores why.

For example, when asked “Why do you use an English name?” (multiple responses allowed), students answered as follows:

  1. English names are easier for teachers to remember: 71%
  2. English names are easier for teachers to pronounce: 60%
  3. My teacher expects me to have an English name: 15%
  4. I think it is cool to have an English name: 5%
  5. My classmates have English names, so I should too: 5%
  6. An English teacher told me I must use an English name: 5%
  7. Other: 5%


A few months ago Twitter had a game with the hashtag #UnscienceAnAnimal.

The idea was to compose funny labels for the anatomies of various animals. such as the scalloped hammerhead shark (pictured).

Examples of labels are wiggly bits, scary part, booper, floof, squirt hole and so on.

Source: American Scientist


BABEL Generator

The BABEL generator writes meaningless essays, which nevertheless get high scores from automated essay scoring systems. Read about this here.

To create an essay, just enter three keywords: for example, international + students + Britain.

Educatee has not, and probably never will be debauched but not excessive. Society will always mortify international; some at executioner and others to the area of theory of knowledge. Great Britain which might be the allusion lies in the search for semantics together with the realm of semiotics. Seeing as international annotates postlapsarian utterances, humanity should incarcerate United Kingdom immediately.

As I have learned in my theory of knowledge class, educatee is the most fundamental analysis of humankind. While interference transmits plasmas, the same pendulum may counteract two different gamma rays at a scrutinization. The plasma inverts to oscillate. Information for the reprobate is not the only thing a neuron on comments which provision the people in question implodes; it also receives a neuron of Britain. From disseminating dictators, particularism with students can be more equitably proliferated. The assumption that should analytically be mastication and laments a demolisher by educatee changes the recondite United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The casuistry of reports, often on epitome, enjoins International. The more patter is lavish, pertinacious, and contemptuous, the more celebrations to an authentication for the administration magnetize the authorization or matriculate. Additionally, presumption, especially with demarcations, authorizes pupil. My retort accedes. Even so, knowing that a probe will be the quarrel that expedites demonstrations, many of the assassins at my pledge provide recount. Our personal salver for the response we contravene may hastily be an excessively atrocious declaration but articulates the inspection. Admiration that proceeds of Great Britain arranges exposures to altruists with my agronomist equally. an apprentice is scrupulously peripheral, not a reprover on executioner. In my reality class, just about all of the commencements for our personal explanation with the inquiry we surround intensify scenarios or surprise fetish. Because most of the circumscriptions are occluded by student, propagandists which hovers adhere to the same extent of student.

The regrettable Britain, frequently on the allegation, might be synecdoche. As a result of commencing, an abundance of United Kingdom can be more rapaciously sequestered. Additionally, students, typically at increasing advocates, can remarkably be the circumstance and is prelapsarian, pusillanimous, and professed. Our personal account by the avocation we perform intercedes. an oration should, still yet, be squalid in the extent to which we promulgate proclamations but concede the assiduously but probingly blustering excommunication. In my experience, all of the assemblies to my civilization compensate agriculturalists for plethora. Pupil which recounts confrontation appeases assimilationists but aggregates validation at our personal agronomist with the orator we complete too. an allegation for malcontent is livid yet somehow assiduous, not a device that will be the development. Our personal precinct on the admonishment we attenuate gloats. Abandonment that might vehemently be the allegation to Britain changes International which is vehement but not frugal and edifies comptroller.

Britain will always be a component of human society. Nonetheless, armed with the knowledge that the query verifies domains which bluster or commission pilfering, some of the inquiries by my injunction enlighten the performances involved. By the fact that adjurations are belittled of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a dictate at United Kingdom can be more culpably delineated. Educatee has not, and doubtlessly never will be eternally masochistic. International is the most generous diagnosis of human life.

If this fools an automated scoring system, maybe it could also fool your teacher…