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A.Word.A.Day--nous

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

nous (noos, nous) noun

1. Mind, intellect.
2. Common sense.

[From Greek noos, nous, mind.]

"The downfall of tyrant Slobodan Milosevic in a relatively peaceful 's revolution has created hope and despair in equal measure among those whose political nous tells them that this triumph of the Serbian people could have a serious ripple effect right here in Harare and other major centres of political dissent."
Diana Mitchell; Bells of Belgrade Toll for Zimbabwe; The Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe); Oct 12, 2000.

English is a global language. With the rise of electronic communication, worldwide trade and international travel, its status has far surpassed that of a link language. English is equated with success. Wherever you go-- from the luxuriant rain-forests of Costa Rica to the untamed wilds of Serengeti to the hodgepodge of Eastern bazaars--you're sure to find someone who speaks English, albeit in an accent far different from yours. If nothing else, English makes a disguised appearance in hybrids such as Franglais, Spanglish, Hinglish, etc.

Of course, this rise in popularity of English is not without a downside. Talk with someone for whom English is not a first language and you sense a feeling of loss. Reactions vary greatly--from the trace of helplessness of parents whose children can't appreciate a poem in their native language, to lawmakers making it mandatory for a company to also have a Web site in the language of their country before the company can do business there.

What do you think? We'd love to hear from you about this subject, whether English is your first language or not. Join us on the bulletin board to discuss. Meanwhile, taste a few words from the world's newspapers.

English as a global language will be discussed today in an online chat with David Crystal, author of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language and other books on language.

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Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family. -George Bernard Shaw, dramatist, critic, novelist, and Nobel laureate (1856-1950)
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