• Britain Wins Gold!

    This social commentary on the London Olympics/ Commonwealth Games uses positive language to highlight a major social issue in the UK. Which unexpected social issues might your country win gold in?

    Corner Pottergate and Lower Goat Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, UK



  • Vegging out

    It’s clear from the context that this is an abbreviation of vegetables. The abbreviation is probably more common in spoken English than the full word. For example, the now rather outdated description of typically unimaginative English cuisine is “Meat and two veg”. Norwich Market, Norwich, Norfolk, UK


  • Brambles in Norwich - Linguistic Landscapes

    Rules for life in a shop window.

    What are your mantras for living?

    Brambles, Exchange Street, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

  • My kind of peoples

    Phrasal adjectives are supposed to be hyphenated. Guess the people at Oxfam didn’t care about that when they made up this poster. I prefer it without the hyphens too: makes it cleaner and easier to read. What kind of peoples are you? Decode that Mr. Grammarman ;)

    Location: St. Giles Street, Norwich

    It takes all sorts in context

  • Drinks Not Drunks

    A polite way of warning customers who have already had too much to drink that they won’t be served.

    The notice works because serve is one of those interpersonal verbs that can take both a direct object and an indirect one, though the drunks probably won’t be clear-headed enough to get the point!

    Location: Louis Deli, Upper St Giles Street, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

    Louis' deli in Norwich

  • ifs and butts

    Since the introduction of the smoking ban in all public buildings wall-mounted ashtrays have become a familiar piece of ‘street furniture’ all over the UK.

    The idiom 'No ifs or buts' is used to forestall excuses or objections (which might begin with If or But). The homophone butts (i.e. cigarette ends) might work well here to encourage smokers to use the ashtray, but the local taxi firm who have sponsored it have confused the message by using it to attract potential customers.

    Location: exterior of The Hog in Armour pub, Charing Cross, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

    Linguistic Landscapes - a pub in Norwich

  • -ish

    Looks as though the new owners of this shop realised that the grand re-opening was going to take longer than they had first thought.

    Originally a suffix used with times (five-ish) and colours (greyish), -ish can now be applied to almost any adjective to make its meaning more approximate. 

    Ish has also become an independent word used to indicate doubt or uncertainty:

    – Did you enjoy the movie?

    – Mmm…ish

    Location: St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

    Linguistic Landscapes - ish - shopfront

  • One activity that our visiting teachers always seem to love is the NILE Cultural Exchange. This is a NILE-wide discussion activity which really gets teachers talking to each other and sharing ideas from their context. See some pictures here from last week’s activity and read Johanna Stirling's why, what and how?Read more...

  • Go camping!

    Which leisure activities collocate with the verb ‘go’? This camping superstore lists a few!

    Location: GO Outdoors, Heigham Street Industrial Estate, Norwich, UK

  • Functional phone language

    Helpful telephone company provides payphone users with some example phrases at Norwich railway station.

    Location: Railway Station, Norwich, UK