Word for Wednesday: Radio

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Tomorrow – February 13 – marks World Radio Day and this year’s theme is diversity. 

Here is what UNESCO writes about this day on their website: 

Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard. Radio stations should serve diverse communities, offering a wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content, and reflect the diversity of audiences in their organizations and operations.”

Here are Spellzone, we really believe in the importance of diversity. Like radio, the internet is a powerful tool for elevating different voices. Our website is used by people all over the world and in our Word for Wednesday posts we love exploring the diverse origins of words in the English language. English has been heavily influenced by European invaders; art, music and literature; the colonisation of other countries; and immigration. Even common-sounding words can originate from far-away places, such as: ‘rucksack’ (borrowed from German) or ‘pyjamas’ (borrowed from Hindi). Words also come from peoples’ names, place names, and brand names. They are constantly being invented by artists and writers from Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling. The embracing of inventive slang means that words and their meanings are constantly evolving.

This diversity in our language makes spelling unexpected and sometimes difficult, but we also truly believe that it’s what makes English amazing. It’s a language full of character, colour, and possibility; a language with thousands of idioms that mean you can tell your story in endless ways.

Back to radio – the word has been used in English since 1907, based the earlier ‘radio receiver’ from 1903, ‘radiophone’ from 1881, and ‘radio telegraphy’ from 1898. Radio itself comes from the Latin ‘radius’ meaning ‘beam’. The word has been used in reference to  the medium of broadcasting sound since 1913. 

12 Feb 2020
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