Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs: The English language has travelled so far through History and served as the prime medium of communication for so many cultures.



Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs - Official Website - BenjaminMadeira
Had Something to Do with Pigs - Photo: Richard Austin, Rex Features

Canada | Benjamin Madeira —


Canada's word-lady Katherine Barber: a delightful presentation. She was the editor of Canadian Oxford Dictionary and has published Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs. If language is not just as a means but an end in itself, if change in use of words causes you to be upset but etymology gets your juices flowing, this talk is for you.


Did you know that the word "travel" is derived from an instrument of torture? That "tragedy" originally was something to do with goats? That "grammar" and "glamour" started out as one and the same word?.



Today I would like you to listen to a podcast by Katherine Patricia Mary Barber, also known just as Katherine Barber (1959) and often referred to as Canada's word lady.

Katherine Barber is a former editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. She has been posting on the English language since july 2009. She is in fact an expert on the English language, and has written several articles about the English Language in newspapers, and given lectures on the English Language as well.

I came across her writings by searching online which blog had won the Love English Awards in 2013, and I found the nominees. It read: "Vote for your favourite blog about the English language".

The English language has been so absorbent, soaking up words and phrases from every language it has touched.

Podcast — Katherine Patricia Mary Barber - The English language ::

More about Katherine Patricia Mary Barber (born 1959)


She is a Canadian lexicographer and was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

Katherine Barber began her dictionary work with the Bilingual Canadian Dictionary project at the University of Ottawa. She has been interviewed around the world. The Canadian Oxford Dictionary won the Canadian Booksellers Association's Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year and Specialty Book for 1999.

Katherine Barber won the Libris Award for Editor of the Year in 1999, and was the winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2000 at the University of Winnipeg.

From 1984 to 1991, she was a lecturer in the School of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Ottawa.

From 1989 to 1991, she was a research associate with the Bilingual Canadian Dictionary project at the University of Ottawa.

Katherine Barber has published:
Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs and Other Fascinating Facts about the Language from Canada's Word Lady (2006) Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press

Newspaper clip, on April 28th, 2006, PDF, about her book "Six Words..."

Only in Canada You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language (2007) , Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press

Katherine Patricia Mary Barber can be reached at:





Blogger: since July 2009

Studies: University of Ottawa, University of Winnipeg






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  1. RT: Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs, Podcast Katherine Barber, MP3, 29min - http://www.benjaminmadeira.com/2014/09/words-about-pigs.html

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