Diwali symbols and the title of the blog

51 Diwali Greetings Up for Grabs

It’s Diwali again. You will be flooded with forwarded messages, half of which are repetitive and commonly exchanged. You want to be positively different from others. Here’s a short list of 51 Diwali Greetings Up for Grabs — expressions that will put more zing into your greetings, strike the recipients’ chords, and touch their core. Select the most appropriate one considering the recipient, tweak it as you like, and use it.

  1. May the festival of lights remove all darkness from every nook and cranny of your house!
  2. May this Diwali shower prosperity upon you!
  3. May blessings keep knocking on your door this Diwali.
  4. May Diwali promote peace and prosperity!
  5. May this Diwali bring with it the fulfilment of your dreams.
  6. May the lights of Diwali guide your path to a bright future.
  7. Sweeter than sweet, better than best. All the best. Happy Diwali.
  8. May this Diwali light up your future.
  9. May those flickering lamps flick away your fears.
  10. May you and your family be blessed this Diwali and New Year.
  11. Get into the flow. Rejoice in revelries. Celebrate the moment. Happy Diwali.
  12. May this New Year shoot you like a rocket and land you on cloud nine.
  13. It’s time to brighten up, smarten up, and liven up.
  14. Unwrap happiness as you unwind this Diwali.
  15. May your fears and worries be zapped into oblivion this Dipawali.
  16. May the spirit and blessings of Dipawali descend upon you and your loved ones.
  17. Happy Dipawali from the bottom of my heart.
  18. Just as rising tides lift all boats, may this auspicious time lift your spirits and hopes.
  19. From me to you, Happy Diwali.
  20. May you grab every opportunity that you come across and make the most of it.
  21. May the divine light guide your path and help you to successfully complete every journey that you embark on.
  22. May you never miss your train, lose your temper, or quarrel with your loved ones.
  23. May your coming year be smoother than Cadbury silk.
  24. My wish for you is that the shares you buy go high on the stock markets.
  25. Our sincere wish for you is that you do not get missed calls or useless forwarded messages in the coming year.
  26. Dress for the occasion, let your hair down and unplug happiness.
  27. I hope success and happiness follow you irrespective of whether your path is familiar or untrodden.
  28. Celebrate this festival with great pomp and ceremony.
  29. Utilise the day, keep the darkness at bay, spread light, and let happiness stay.
  30. Light a diya here and there, happy Diwali to you all everywhere.
  31. Roll out the red carpet for your dreams, prosperity and popularity.
  32. Fling your arms wide, embrace life fully, happily and joyfully. It’s Diwali.
  33. Diwali is a time for long-awaited family reunions, shopping sprees, plus fun and frolic.
  34. Enjoy this Diwali with sombre rituals and vibrant celebrations, full of colours and light, and follow the conventional rules of celebration.
  35. Have happy thoughts and festive moods when houses all around are lit with earthen lamps and candles.
  36. Get rid of the rigmarole of everyday life and give yourself a chance to escape monotony. Be happy, stay happy and make everyone around you happy.
  37. Soak in a general air of festivity and abandon during this festival of light, hope, and prosperity.
  38. Let festivals and celebrations spice up your life to the hilt for the rest of the year.
  39. Join the hilarious crowd, jump the bandwagon, paint the town red, and celebrate this Diwali like there’s no tomorrow.
  40. Forget your worries, put aside your troubles, cast your cares and join in in the fun.
  41. Ring in the New Year with renewed hope and great gusto.
  42. The Almighty has a long list of blessings to shower upon you this festival. It’s just for you to ask.
  43. Create festive moods and spread it like wildfire. Make pleasure and merriment contagious.
  44. Let the glitter be brighter this season with your wit, wisdom and wow.
  45. The Almighty has flung the doors to happiness wide open…lay claim to yours.
  46. The wait is over. May your dreams come true this year and you wallow in joy, achievement, and merriment.
  47. I know you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank this year. It’s your turn to enjoy life to the full.
  48. Get caught up in celebrations this festive season. Throw caution to the wind, will you?
  49. May you thrive in abundance, fly higher than ever before, and make your life a continuous celebration.
  50. May fortune smile upon you and you get what you have aspired for.
  51. May you be completely enthralled in the festivities during this Dipawali.
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Translation — an enigma

“It is the task of the translator to release in his language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.”

– Walter Benjamin

Translation–an enigma

What is translation? To what extent does it succeed in capturing the context and culture of the source text? Is there a process that one can follow?

Translation is a process that enables people to communicate in languages they are not familiar with. It is a vital part of the global economy, as it carries knowledge and cultural heritage. But sometimes poorly translated texts can cause misunderstandings, or are markedly different from the original text in terms of meaning and impact. And that happens in all areas—be it literature, the media, or movies.

Often, a non-Hindi film dubbed in Hindi for the Indian audience has several mistakes in translation. As an audience, people focus on entertainment, rather than what the original film meant to convey. It is common knowledge that when Hollywood and Tollywood movies are dubbed in Hindi, they often miss the point. For example, in Avenger: Endgame, there is this dialogue where Iron Man and Spider-Man chat about Spider-Man’s suit. The original dialogue is “Oh, Spidey! Iron Man has lent you a suit! But he’s still the boss!” But when it is dubbed in Hindi, it is “Sirjee iski darjee aap ho kya? Kya fitting hai!! Aisa kar chote, Friday isse ghar bhejdio”. Comparing both the dialogues, one can easily see how the translation is wide of the mark. Such poor translation can affect the essence of a scene.

The film Atrangi Re is originally in Hindi, and it comprises two different cultures from two states, one Bihar and the other Tamil Nadu. The best thing is that the director kept the Tamil part in Tamil, though he could have shown the it in Hindi, which made it sound authentic. While showing the two different cultures, he kept their languages as they were. For the Tamil part, there were subtitles in English, which made sense, because they didn’t change the meaning. This shows how we can deal with the essence of culture and language while translating.

Translators play a crucial role in today’s world since people are exposed to different cultures via entertainment and academics. The job of a translator is possible only when s/he is fluent in both the languages, the original and the target language. With the widespread use of social media in all sections of society, translation is gaining more and more importance every day. It demands hard work. A translator should have in-depth knowledge of nuances of both the languages to avoid misunderstandings and blunders or s/he may hurt people’s feelings. For example, here’s how ‘The American Dairy Association’ and ‘Coors’ caused blunders in their tag line because of translation.

First, The American Dairy Association. We all know their catchphrase ‘Got Milk’, their advertising campaign in America encouraging the consumption of milk. Unfortunately, when introduced it in Mexico, the tagline was translated as ‘Are You Lactating?’ Luckily, however, the error was detected soon and corrective measures were taken.

About Coors. The beer brand Coors went for the tagline ‘Turn It Loose’ a few years ago, which was fine until they translated it into Spanish. There the translation read ‘Suffer From Diarrhoea’, which definitely isn’t advisable while trying to market food or drink!

As proven by the examples, poor translation can become funny, and sometimes, offensive. This shows us how translation works in real-life, and how translation mistakes can offend people or even cause riots.

This website Top 10 Translation Problems and Solutions, gives useful information about some of the translation problems noted below.

  • Structure of the language
  • Cultural Differences
  • Compound words
  • Verbs are made up of two words:
  • Missing terms
  • Words with several meanings
  • Lack of technical knowledge
  • Limited Time
  • Personal Challenges
  • Quality Vs Expense

By Isha Parmar
School of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, AURO University, Surat

The blog writer Isha Parmar


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Title encouraging people to read

Reading Matters!

Do you think Reading Matters? Want to make reading a regular habit? Want to start reading, but don’t know where to begin? Well, here are 10 Young Adult (YA) books to help you with your reading goals. And, yes, reading matters! No doubt about it. These ten books will have you hooked onto reading!

I’m sure you have heard your teachers or parents say that you should read more and keep that pesky phone aside. Some of you may even have tried to read a book or two, taking that advice; however, giving up soon. Have you ever given thought to why so happens? Rather, have you given thought to why reading sounds like such a boring thing to do? Well the answer is simple: you haven’t figured out what books work for you. JK Rowling, the author of the world-famous book series, “Harry Potter” said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

You must’ve tried to read a classic or  a book that’s too long or a book about a topic you’re not interested in. Let us get this straight, I’m not here to convince you to read more books, I think enough people in your life have tried to do so and that’s what brings you here in the first place. I’m here to help you out with the process of reading more. That’s why I have curated a list of 10 books that beginner readers will be able to enjoy and at the same time develop important skills like reading comprehension, building your vocabulary, sentence structure, et cetera.

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio

Coverpage of the book Wonder

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school till the fifth grade. Now attending Bleacher Prep, all August wants is to be treated like an ordinary boy by his peers— the question is, will they?

Why you should read this book

I read this book when I was in the eighth grade, and finished it in just one sitting because that’s how captivating it was. Wonder is a beautifully written novel about childhood and school life. It is relatable and relatively simple for beginners. The strong message and the way it is delivered through the characters is simply poignant. If you want a book that feels like a warm hug, definitely pick this one up.

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Coverpage of the book we were liars

A gripping suspense story about a group of four friends whose friendship leads to chaos on a private island. Need I say much? I think the less I say about the book, the more fun you’ll have reading it!

Why you should read this book

Trust me when I say you will NOT want to put it down until you’re done. It’s a pretty short book and you’ll literally breeze through it so it makes a perfect read if you’re not the one to go for big books (trust me I have that big book fear too). If you’re a fan of  suspense and thriller movies you need to read this book right now!  Of course, this is a spoiler free zone, don’t you worry about that. But that being said, I cannot hold back saying that there’s something that happens that will absolutely blow your mind.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

3. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhatena

Coverpage of the book a girl like that

In this novel, we follow 16-year-old Zarin Wadia and she’s the kind of girl that your parents warn you to stay away from. In a very deliberate and interesting way, Bhatena begins the story with Zarin and another boy, Porus, dead in a car together, crashed on a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We follow her life, before the crash, told through different perspectives.

Why you should read this book

This book is a masterclass on how to write amazing characters. It’s a must read if you want to write mind-blowing characters. The contemporary setting and real-to-life characters makes this story extremely relatable. It’s definitely a treat to read for teens who are struggling to find themselves in this vast ocean of identities.

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Cover Page

The almost eighty-year-old actor and superstar, Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the story of her glamorous and scandalous life to the world. When she chooses the unknown journalist, Monique Grant for the job, everyone, including Monique herself is surprised.

Seizing this opportunity to kick start her career, Monique takes up the task and unravels truths about Evelyn, her seven husbands, and herself.

Why you should read this book

This is the perfect book for our social media obsessed generation (and I don’t mean that as an insult at all). The first sentence had me hooked onto it and I read it in just a day because it’s a total page turner. If you’re someone who gets bored while reading, you should definitely pick this book up. I’ll rate this one 10/10 on the “un-put-downable” scale!

Amazon link:

Click this link to explore or buy

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls Cover Page

In A Monster Calls, we follow 12-year-old Connor who’s dealing with a lot in life: his mother’s terminal illness, bullying at school and his dad. To add to his troubles, a monster comes and visits him. This book explores childhood, grief and relationships.

Why you should read this book

Patrick Ness creates a fantastical world with his writing. You should read this book for two reasons: its simple and elegant writing and its ability to pull at your heartstrings. The conceptualisation of the monster is done beautifully. Ness discusses serious topics in such a palpable manner which makes you want to devour his writing.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Cover page of The Hate You Give

16-year-old Starr Carter witnesses her best friend Khalil killed by a police officer— a clear act of police brutality since he was unarmed. After this incident, her world completely changes as she struggles to find a voice amongst the thousands that accuse Khalil of being a thug.

Now, with Khalil’s death being sensationalised, Starr, the only witness that night, can choose to stay silent or speak up.

Why you should read this book

The subject matter of this book is heavy and it includes a potentially triggering scene so reader discretion is advised before moving on. That being said, if you’re interested in learning more about the Black Lives Matter movement and what it stands for, this is a perfect starting place. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed YA novels on this subject as it discusses it with so much sensitivity and nuance. It’s gripping and extremely interesting as well. If you like to explore different social issues, you have to read this book.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Cover Page of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This novel follows our main character, Charlie, throughout 4 years of highschool. Written in the style of letters to an unknown someone, we don’t even know, Chbosky crafts the perfect coming of age story.

Why you should read this book

I read this novel when I was about 15 years old and absolutely fell in love with it. I think it’s  my most re-read novel of all time. What is so charming about this book is the way that the characters are written— they’re just so relatable, especially if you’re in highschool. There is a reader discretion for some sensitive topics, but I still think you should pick this one up. It’s the perfect coming of age story that will have you thinking about it for days after you’ve completed the book. It’s relatively short as well, so it’s super easy to breeze through.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

8. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Coverpage of The lightning thief

Greek mythology and adventure in a contemporary setting— need I say more than this? This series of 5 books follows a demigod, Percy Jackson who goes to Camp Half-Blood to learn the truth about himself. Throughout the series Percy and his friends embark on quests that will seal their fate.

Why you should read this book

There is just so much adventure packed into this series. It’s super fun to follow the main characters and their journeys as they try to complete different quests and missions. This series is also the perfect way to get started with Greek mythology and learn about Greek gods and goddesses in a fun and entertaining way. Definitely a must read series as Rick Riordan’s writing is so encapsulating— it will suck you into the world that he has created.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

9. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Coverpage of The Hunger Games

The YA dystopian series that started it all! The Hunger Games series follows Katniss Everdeen, a citizen of District 12 in the nation of Panem— a district riddled with poverty. When her sister is chosen as tribute for the 74th Hunger Games, a cruel game run by the rich people in the Capitol, she volunteers as tribute; a decision that changes her life forever.

Why you should read this book

This series is full of action and adventure. You’ll not be bored even for a second. The twists and turns that the series takes are so interesting to follow, you’ll just be craving for more! I read this book when I was 12 and fell in love with reading all over again after finishing it.

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

10. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Frontpage of Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom learns about his college professor, Morrie Shwart’s ALS on television one day. He hasn’t had any contact with Morrie since he graduated college. Now, knowing that Morrie is dying, Mitch makes an effort to rekindle their relationship. Follow Mitch’s journey as he flies to meet Morrie every week (on Tuesdays), for a “class” on life lessons

 Why you should read this book

 Tuesdays with Morrie is that kind of book that makes you feel all sorts of emotions. It will help you put a lot of perspective to life. But don’t you worry this book won’t tire you with endless philosophical life lessons; it’s just like listening to stories narrated by your grandmother!

Amazon Link:

Click this link to explore or buy

Now that you have a list to pick your first read from, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and pick up any of these amazing titles!

I know that many of you might be a little apprehensive about spending a lot of money on books since you might not end up liking them. In that case, there are few resources you can use to try out different genres without spending a lot of money.

First and foremost, you can become a member of libraries like the British Council. You could also use websites like Zlibrary, Lib.gen and Project Gutenberg to read free ebooks online. You can also use Storytel, a subscription service where, for only 299 INR per month, you can get unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks. Last but not least, start with shorter texts given on Fluentlingua website.

I think, by now, you’re good to go! Happy reading!

By Naqiya Shehabi
Auro University, Surat

Writer of the blog

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Top 15 Podcasts to improve your English Language Skills

Top 15 Podcasts to improve your English Language Skills

Do you find it difficult to make time to sit down and improve your English speaking skills, enhance your vocabulary, or sharpen your listening skills? Well, my friend, listening to podcasts is a solution! Not only do we have a multitude of podcasts to choose from, but they also allow us to focus on certain skill/s while gathering information or learning about different areas. Ah! You must be thinking, why podcasts? Well, you can listen to podcasts at any time of day or night at your convenience, even while multitasking. So, next time you go for a morning run, cook dinner, or riding a bus, don’t forget to plug your earphones in, and in no time you will see yourself enhancing your language skills in English. To make things easier for you, I have prepared a list of 15 ideal podcasts that will help you achieve your English language goals in less than a year–be it fluency in spoken English, or vocabulary development or grammatical accuracy. Believe me!

1. The History of English Podcast

History of English Podcast

Kevin Stroud, who is a writer and a producer is the host of this podcast and has been running it for the past decade. If you are as curious as him and his audience, in the history and development of English as a language, this is the podcast for you. Quick tip: If you are new to learning English as a language ‘The History of English Podcast’ is the perfect one to start with.

Suitable for levels: Beginner to Advanced level.

Listen to the podcast:

● https://historyofenglishpodcast.com/
● Apple Podcasts
● Spotify

2. Luke’s English Podcast

The best podcast for English

Luke, who is a teacher and a stand-up comedian, has been producing the podcast at home in his flat since 2009 and has a teaching experience of 20 years. The podcast has over 700 audio episodes including transcripts and videos and has received a British Council ELTon nomination. A podcast perfect for those who wish to learn British English, join him and his audience as he explores grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and other learning strategies in a light-hearted way.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to his podcast:

● Or download the LEP app on your iPhone/iPad or Android device.

3. English with Michael

Feature image of Level Up English Podcast

The Level Up English podcast is another podcast that helps you achieve your goals in British English and is hosted by Michael Lavers.The topics include something as basic as the Seasons and ‘How to avoid being rude?’ or ‘How to make friends?’; a podcast perfect for beginners as well as intermediate level. He also hosts monthly episodes, where he invites guests to talk more about Language learning.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

4. Culips

The man behind culip podcasts for English language learners

If you want to learn English for everyday use, you have come to the right place! Culips is a team of professional teachers, learners and podcast lovers that focuses on current English. It is one of those podcasts that feels like a string of friends chatting together. Join them to better understand common English expressions for everyday use, vocabulary building and much more; they also have a study guide that goes along with each episode in their podcast and includes detailed explanations, transcripts and examples to test your comprehension.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

5. The Joe Rogan Experience

Man behind Joe Rogan's English podcast

Joe Rogan who is a stand-up comedian is the host of The Joe Rogan Experience which is one of the biggest podcasts globally as of 2020, and also signed an exclusive deal with Spotify. Join him and his guests as they explore a wide range of topics like science, comedy, politics, American culture and more. The show has interesting English conversations including cultural references and idioms, perfect for learning American English for intermediate and advanced levels.

Suitable for levels: Upper- intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Youtube


6. English Learning for curious minds by Leonardo English

English learning for curious minds podcast image

Alastair Budge started the Leonardo English podcast with a simple idea: ‘What if there were a way for people to improve their English while learning interesting things about the world.’ The podcast began at the end of 2019 and releases a new episode twice every week. If you are as curious as Alastair and his learners join them to explore a wide range of topics from Philosophy to technology and politics; a podcast perfect for intermediate and advanced learners.

Suitable for levels: Upper-intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify

7. Overheard by National Geographic

Overheard, a National Geographic podcast

National Geographic, which is a much loved American TV show (and magazine) is well known for its photography and stories related to the environment and science. Overheard is a podcast that covers the conversations between the employees and other wild stories from the photographers, journalists, scientists and explorers. If you are interested in improving your listening skills and learning about new things at the same time, this podcast is for you!

Suitable for levels: Beginners to Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts
● Spotify
● Youtube

8. All Ears English

People making All Ears English podcasts

Hosted by ESL teachers Lindsay from Boston and Michelle from NYC is an American English podcast that also includes two IELTS specialists Jessica and Aubrey. The podcast is for intermediate level English learners and explores American culture and explains English expressions in a rather fun learning way. The podcast has a multitude of episodes on English Fluency, IELTS and Business English covering all the aspects of language learning, to choose from.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

9. Espresso English


If you are looking to refine your aspects of grammar and vocabulary, this is the podcast for you from among the top podcasts to improve your English. It focuses on complicated English collocations and phrasal verbs; and helps boost individuals’ linguistic abilities.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

10. Quick and Dirty Tips by Grammar Girl

Interesting podcast for Spoken English

The Grammar Girl is a podcast by Mignon Fogarty, the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips network, which has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers, quite a few times. It is a weekly 5-minute podcast that focuses on grammar while focusing on individual words or idioms; a podcast perfect for intermediate and advanced level learners.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Google podcasts
● Spotify

11. Learn English Podcast from the British Council

British Council podcast

The Learn English Podcast by the British Council is best suited for Beginner level learners and aims at both A1 and B1 levels, including discussions over everyday common situations.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Intermediate level learners.
Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

12. Ologies with Alie Ward

Podcast for word power

Alie Ward, who is a Daytime Emmy Award- winning science correspondent for CBS’s “The Henry’s Ford Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca”, and also the host of “Did I mention invention?”, is the host of this podcast. The episodes include a wide range of ologies to learn from and is perfect to improve your listening and verbal ability.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

13. 6-minute Grammar

BBC podcast 6-minute grammar image

The 6-minute podcast by BBC is perfect among the top podcasts to improve your English for those who are busy on the run. Aiming at intermediate level learners the episodes include a wide range of vocabulary, transcripts and thought-provoking questions.

Suitable for levels: Beginner and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:

● Apple Podcasts
● Google podcasts

14. Business English Pod

Business English Podcast image

Does your firm require you to speak English all the time? Well this podcast is the perfect fit for you; it covers all the happenings and topics that are likely to take place at an organisation, in real life.

Suitable for levels: Advanced level learners and Business personnel.

Listen to the podcast:

15. My favorite Murder

A true crime-comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. For the past few years, every show on My Favorite Podcasts live tour has been sold out. The episodes include a two-way conversation between the hosts, where one tells the story and the other reacts to it. Perfect to improve your listening skills on intermediate and advanced level learning.

Suitable for levels: Intermediate and Advanced level learners.

Listen to the podcast:
● Apple Podcasts

Well my friend, now that you have a list of amazing Top Podcasts to improve your English Language skills while being able to learn about different cultures and topics altogether, then what are you waiting for? The above-mentioned podcasts provide a wide range of topics for all the ESL students to learn from and improve their English language skills, at their own pace and convenience. Hope you find the listicle helpful. Happy learning!

By Muskaan Choudhary,
School of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Auro University

The writer of the blog Muskaan

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Title of the novel and the writer of the blog

Our Tools of Resurrection — The Dictionary of Lost Words

 “So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.”

  — John Locke


In 1857, the Unregistered Words Committee of the Philological Society of London decided to succeed Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755. Sir James Murray and his group of lexicographers took 40 years to publish the first volume (the letters A and B) only to find out later that one word was missing from the first edition. The word that was found missing was “bondmaid” and no one knows how that happened. However, this episode in the history of Oxford English Dictionary was enough to inspire Australian author, Pip Williams, to give her fictional narrative in her debut novel The Dictionary of Lost Words, a historical fiction set across four decades from 1887. The novel retells the compilation of OED’s first edition through her fictional protagonist Esme, the daughter of one of the lexicographers working under James Murray. This book began with two simple questions: Do words mean different things to men and women? And if they do, is it possible that we have lost something in the process of defining them?


Esme, a motherless child, grows up beneath the sorting table of Scriptorium, a real garden shed where Sir James Murray and his team of lexicographers compiled the first edition of OED. Her presence in the room is unseen and unheard. One day, she notices a slip containing the word “bondmaid” fluttering to the floor and flying towards her unclaimed, fascinated by the slip she immediately pockets it. From there onwards, Esme begins collecting more words that the editors have neglected or lost. As the story begins to unfold we see, young and capricious, Esme realizing that some words are considered more important than others. Dissatisfied by this neglectful treatment, she goes to the streets and interacts with poor working-class women to collect words that are considered “common” and “vulgar”. However, through her interaction with these women, she finds out that words and meaning related to women’s experiences are often unrecorded and considered unimportant and decides to make her own manuscript of “Women’s Words and their Meanings.”


Throughout the novel, we see the role of words, their importance and their necessity not only in Esme’s life but the life of every other character in the book. The word “bondmaid” itself is powerful because that word acknowledges the unacknowledged: Lizzie, an Irish maid who is not much older than Esme, however, is an important part of Esme’s life. Even when everyone leaves, Lizzie stays with Esme till the end. Lizzie is her “bondmaid”, ‘which means a young woman bound to serve until her death’. As Williams explains in her author’s note, the uses of the word “bondmaid” had been supplied by members of the public — which was an important part of how the dictionary was compiled in the first place — but the chit showing the final definition is still missing from the archives today. However, imaginary Esme serves the process carefully, remaining inconspicuous, as she begins collecting lost and forgotten word slips. Even as a child and later as an adult, Esme knew the importance of these abandoned words. She knew every neglected word had a meaning that was special for someone else. She knew that every lost word serves a meaning, has its own importance and needs. She realizes that those buried words have their own history that is just not important enough for these ignorant Dictionary men. Hence, Esme resolves to ensure that these important words are not lost or buried, that they need to be rescued and she will be the rescuer and starts collecting those chits in her maid’s trunk. Esme takes us, readers, with her on her journey of the formation of the pivotal ‘Dictionary of Lost Words’, a book that holds just as much importance as the Oxford English Dictionary in her eyes. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a story that exposes the weight of words and above all, it is a celebration of the English language. Through the fictional retelling of the Oxford English Dictionary, Williams is able to bridge the gap between linguistics and literature.


Through this novel, we as a reader realize the importance of words in our lives. As Yehuda Berg famously said “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” What is a life without a word? We forget how necessary words are in our lives, how beautiful, meaningful and sometimes impactful they can be. A simple word can start a story, can spark a conversation, can end a conversation, can change the meaning of everything. In a logical sense, words are important because we need them to communicate, but the way words are presented, spoken, and written is a whole different level of communication. Words have the ability to move something inside us, they can bring life to a sentence, meaning to a conversation, and be a part of our history. As Aunty Edith, a vital character in the novel famously says: “Never forget that, Esme. Words are our tools of resurrection.” Esme realizes that and she understands that these words are very important because they are her legacy, her book will keep her alive, even when she is long gone. The word bondmaid will keep Lizzie alive even when society has already overlooked her presence, she knew words like lie-child will keep Meg alive, just like Esme did. She knew words like morbs will record the pain a mother has to go through as she sends her son away in a war. How the word will keep a record of the anxiety and fear felt by the people they left behind. She knew words like sisters will give a whole new meaning to the fuelling desire for a financial and personal agency that has brought women together to start a war against a neglectful male-dominant world. She taught us that we can’t let ourselves forget how important words are. Whether it’s what we say or what we write, we can’t forget the power that our words hold, that they tell our stories as individuals as well as a whole, who use the same words to narrate our stories. Esme taught us that words can change someone’s life as they changed hers:


“Words are like stories, don’t you think, Mr Sweatman? They change as they are passed from mouth to mouth; their meanings stretch or truncate to fit what needs to be said. The Dictionary can’t possibly capture every variation, especially since so many have never been written down.”

                                                                                                Fictional — Esme


Moreover, The Dictionary of Lost Words is more than just a narration of the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a resurrection of a time when women were unseen and unheard. Just like Esme, they were surrounded by men who subjugated and oppressed their gender. As Williams states: “Over 90 per cent of the references [in the dictionary] were written by men. It was a gendered text.” Through Esme’s story, Williams gives a record of unrecorded words. Words like morbs meaning “a temporary sadness”, lie-child meaning bastard child, and, last but not least, bondmaid meaning “slave girl” is very significant in Esme’s life, as they are not only lost words but also a prediction of how her life will unfold. However, these words also help Williams to document significant changes in history. Through female characters like Tilda, Mabel, Lizzie, Edith and lastly her daughter Meg, Williams highlights the shift in gender politics and gives us an insight into the importance of every lost word. For Esme and Williams, the words change over time but they all have their own history. For instance, words like “sisters” are not only used for blood relations:


Women bonded by a shared political goal; comrades.
Sisters, thank you for joining the fight.’
Fictional — Tilda Taylor, 1906.


Just like Pip Williams, the author, we all have a unique relationship with words and dictionaries.  We love them, we hate them, we get confused by some meanings, we get delighted by some. There is always a fascination with the English language and how it works, how writing words down or spoken in a particular way can create a rhythm, conjure an image, or express an emotion. Through Esme and her creator, William’s search for a story, we see that words consist of vibration and sound where these vibrations and sounds create the very reality that surrounds us. Words are the creator; the creator of our universe, our lives, our reality, our history and without them, thought can never become a reality. In the end, from local suffragette to the desire of personal agency, from the loss of a mother whose son died in WWI to a woman who has to give up her only daughter because of her illegitimacy. The creative storytelling genius that is Pip Williams encapsulates what it means to be a woman, and through time and space, she magically retells us a story that is quite often left unsaid, a story of words. In the end, Esme’s collections of words, in all their forms, trace society’s changing attitude and question its legitimacy and create her legacy.

By Ashima Seth,
School of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Auro University.

Ashima Seth, the blog writer






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English as a global language

Learn Spoken English at Home — DIY

Learn Spoken English at Home — Free


Dear English language learner,


Do you want to study English from the comfort of your home? Do you want to get good quality and interesting self-study material to improve your English?

“Well, yes, but how?” I hear you ask.

Well, visit www.fluentlingua.com and click on “Learn” to enter into an exciting world of English. You will have instant access to six types of material, including audio-visual, to study, practise and test your English. And it is absolutely FREE. No log-in requirements, no passwords, no fee, no email registration, nothing; just your desire to learn English. What’s more, it isn’t run-of-the-mill type material. No, not at all. It is unique. It is carefully prepared, or chosen, and presented.


Read: Reading enriches your language and life. In this section, you will find material on a variety of topics. It can kindle your imagination. It might change your mood too. For instance, when you are feeling low or down in the dumps, read some short stories, essays, poems, inspirational passages, even prayers and you will come out smiling, relieved of your blues.


See: When you buy a gadget or an item of clothing, you spend a lot of time deciding what colour combinations or shades will suit you. Well, words also have shades of meaning. Almost every word has multiple meanings depending on the context and the co-text. Check this out for close to 300 words taught via vocabulary nuggets containing pictures and example sentences. You might try one per day and increase your word power daily, substantially. Surprise your friends with this new found skill of using words aptly and correctly in different situations.


Listen: Listening is the key to success in language learning. We have a number of audio files to improve your pronunciation—sounds, word stress, rhythm and intonation. Imitate—listen and repeat as much as you can.


Watch: There are many videos teaching various aspects of English such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. They will make you feel you are sitting in a classroom or learning personally from an experienced teacher. Quite a few videos cover different nuances of English. And learning them will be fun and fruitful. By the way, some videos contain explanations in Hindi or Gujarati for beginner level learners. Some videos, especially those dealing with fundamental areas of English such as tenses, modals and conditionals, are available in Gujarati, Hindi and English.


Test: The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. If you don’t honestly test your English, you will never know how much you know or what your level is. Our tests will help you do so. Moreover, our tests are not at all tedious; they are rather tantalizing, and will make you want to learn more. Go for them whole heartedly. Both results and feedback follow immediately and don’t leave you wondering how you fared in the test.


Study: Sometimes when you feel a little lazy but still want to use the time positively, this is the best section for you. Here we have prepared for you some presentations. You just need to go from one slide to the other and your grey matter will get lots of food for thought; I mean, language for communication.


Blog: Now, this is the icing on the cake. Our blog articles help you develop deeper insights into a variety of topics related to language and life. You are bound to find something that interests you. They give you ideas to brood over or talk about. People will like to listen to your views and opinions and educated comments—be it language learning, personality development, success or happiness.


So what are you waiting for? Make it a daily habit to visit www.fluentlingua.com and enrich your life from the comfort of your home.


Do please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thank you.


Happy Learning, Happy Sharing!


Best wishes,

Team Fluentlingua


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Title of the blog

Seven videos to improve your English

Dear friend,

The following seven videos will definitely help English language learners to improve their English. Please share this message with people who, you think, may benefit from such material.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Happy Learning, Happy Sharing!

Best wishes,

  1. Time and tense
    Solidify your knowledge of tense structures — 12 tenses. Each tense has a principal use and a few additional uses. If you study the tenses with time diagrams, it’s easy to master them. This video and some others on our channel will help you master the tense system. Do watch a few other related videos on our channel when you can. Some have explanations in Gujarati and Hindi
  2. Modals
    This video in Hindi explains the common uses of modal verbs. Learn how they are different from each other. Because, very often, many modals can be used for the same function, but the levels of formality or politeness may vary.
  3. Conditionals
    There are three major types of conditions in English. Master them with this video. You will find similar videos in the vernacular on our Fluentlingua website .
  4. Comparison
    You will often need to compare things, people and situations. The three common grammatical structures are Positive, Comparative and Superlative. Master them with this video. These structures are very useful if you are appearing for tests such as IELTS, TOEFL or PTE.
  5. Pronunciation
    You cannot ignore pronunciation while studying any language–English is no exception. Via this video, study the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) with symbols and sounds. Also see how each sound is different from its counterpart in Indian languages.
  6. Vocabulary
    Words play an important role in communication. It is advisable to make vocabulary study a life-long campaign. You can never do enough when it comes to word study.
  7. Learn English at Home
    After watching these videos, you might like to read, listen or test. Here’s a wealth of material for you to devour. Absolutely FREE.

I hope the above information helps.

Happy Learning, Happy Sharing!

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How to prepare for the IELTS

by Rashi Patel, a student who recently scored 8 bands

How to prepare for the IELTS test
IELTS preparation tips

Having been an IELTS student myself in Surat, Gujarat, I can understand the plight of every student in town who is preparing right now for this test. Here’s what I have to say.

The IELTS test can be very overwhelming at first, but with the right amount of guidance and practice, you can achieve the score you are aiming for. Do not let others’ high score or better performance in class stress you out. Remember, every candidate is unique, and everyone performs differently in different situations. Just prepare well and leave the rest to… well, you decide!

There are plenty of websites, blogs and videos on the Internet for self study, but it is advisable to find the right coach who can save you a lot of unrewarding labour. Remember one thing—IELTS is a test of English. Every aspect of language is important to get a desired band score. Some students just keep doing test papers. It’s useless. Your score will improve only when there’s someone to pinpoint your errors and make suggestions for an effective presentation. You might like to look at the Free Material uploaded on Fluentlingua website.

By the way, you perhaps already know that there are 4 parts in which the IELTS test is conducted. The following information may help you to prepare for each part.

  1. Listening: People say listening is the most effortless of all. But if you are not accustomed to the accent used in the IELTS test and have a flickering mind, you may find it difficult. Concentration is the key when it comes to listening. You must be able to listen to and understand each and every word they say, because sometimes they alter the answers after saying phrases like ‘oops’, ‘sorry’, and ‘by the way’. You can watch interviews of famous international celebrities, TED talks, BBC documentaries in order to become habituated to foreign accents.

  2. Reading: Most IELTS candidates find reading tough or boring. The most important thing in reading is practice. The reading section of the IELTS academic test has three long texts which range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. I suggest you spend 15 minutes on each passage; in that way, you will be able to finish your test a little early. In the extra time that you have saved, you can check your answers once again to see if you’ve misinterpreted any questions or made a mistake in the order of your answers in the answer sheet.

  3. Speaking: People always get nervous when it comes to speaking, and often suffer from occasional stuttering. You don’t have to practise a whole lot of topics and use a lot of fancy words. Just make sure to use appropriate vocabulary and avoid grammar mistakes. Also maintain eye contact with the test taker when you are speaking, by which they will know that you are confident. If you are too nervous to look at him/her in the eye, just focus on their glabella. 😉 A comprehensive video giving practical guidelines on IELTS speaking is here.

  4. Writing: Similarly to speaking, grammar plays a vital role when it comes to writing. Mind your punctuations. When in doubt, leave them out. Focus on the contents of the essay or graph or chart as much as possible. Language is just a tool to convey your ideas. Don’t use some fancy structures just to show off your knowledge of grammar. Try to write just a little more than the prescribed word limits. Connect your ideas using conjunctions, adverbs and suchlike to generate a cohesive passage. Remember the three golden key to success in writing—accuracy, brevity and clarity.

For more information about IELTS and immigration opportunities, visit Overseas Consultant in Pal-Adajan and meet Mr Priyang Bhatt. For all language related queries, contact Dr Dharmendra Sheth of Fluentlingua.

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Inauguration of Fluentlingua Pal-Adajan Centre

Dear well-wisher,

Today on the occasion of
Teachers’ Day
allow us to share with you a piece of good news:
the inauguration of our
Fluentlingua Pal-Adajan Centre
scheduled to take place on
Ganesh Chaturthi
Friday, 10 September, 2021.

Why did we select this day?
Well, Lord Ganesha is the god of new beginnings and a symbol of wisdom, writing, travel, commerce and good fortune. English helps in all these areas, doesn’t it? 😉

We look forward to welcoming you.

Best wishes,
Priyang Bhatt + Dharmendra Sheth
& our teams

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