Q&A 5 Language change, word frequencies, effectual, autumn, fall and our live show

A question and answer session where Vicki and Jay answer viewers’ questions about the English language. They look at the words efficient, effective and effectual, language change, hyphens and also fall and autumn.

Click here if you’d like to know more about the words efficient and effective.

Transcript:
Oh look, here we are again Jay.
Yes, this lesson is a Q & A – question and answer.
We haven’t done one of these for a while.
Yes, it’s good to be back
And we have an important announcement for you all.
It’s about the Live show, so stick around so we can tell you about it.
Yeah.
Stick around. That means stay with us. Don’t go away.
So let’s get to it.
Well our first question is from Trin Nguyen. Trin had a question about our video on the words effective and efficient. Trin says ‘Thank you so much for the clear explanation, but could you make another video talking about effectual. Is it the synonym of effective?’
So does effectual mean the same as effective? Should we show everyone what effective means first?
Yeah, let’s roll the clip.

Our windows are dirty so I’ve bought a new tool to clean them. Let’s try it out. Great results. It’s very effective.

So effective means getting the result you want, producing a successful result.
But what about effectual? Trin wants to know if it means the same thing.
Yes it does, Trin, they’re synonyms. But effective is a much more common word than effectual.
It’s a more useful word to know.
Exactly. I looked it up at Google Fight and you can see which word is more frequent. Effective is used a lot more than effectual.
What is Google Fight?
It’s a great website for comparing word frequencies quickly. You type in two words or phrases and it calculates a Google visibility score. It looks at the number of times people have searched for the words on Google and the number of results Google came up with.
Is it an official Google website?
No, it was set up by some guys in France I think, but it uses Google data.
There is a similar Google site called Ngrams, isn’t there?.
Yes, Ngrams is great for historical data and I went there too. It’s an official Google site. So at Ngrams I typed in effective and effectual and you can see – we get similar results.
Effective is the red line and effectual is the blue line.
That’s right. This shows you how often the words were used in books over two centuries.
Just books.
Yeah.
So effectual used to be more frequent than effective, but now it’s not. You can see how words rise and fall over time, because of course languages change. So Trin, don’t use effectual. It’s an old fashioned word.
That was a great question from Trin.
Yeah, let’s have another one.
OK, several people have been commenting about the pizza in our latest video. Paw El says How much is a regular pizza in the UK. I’m just curious, he says, because the price in the video seems horrendous for a pizza.
Horrendous – that’s a really great word. It means extremely shocking.
Unacceptable.
That’s right. Let’s see how much you paid for that pizza

I paid twenty five dollars.
I ordered extra toppings.
You know, I paid the pizza guy last week too.
Do you want us to contribute?
Oh there’s no need. He’s already paid for it.

I think you’re right Paw. $25 was a horrendous price. By the way, we paid for it in the US, not the UK.
How much do we normally pay for a pizza?
In Philadelphia it’s generally about $12 or $13 plus a tip. So maybe about $16. Unless you get extra toppings.
Then I must have ordered a lot of extra toppings. I was very hungry, Paw!
Shall we tell everyone about the live show now?
No, let’s have another question first.
OK. This one’s from Julian Perez. Julian had a question about the video we made on the prefix anti-.
Umhmm.
He said ‘Hello there. Thanks for sharing this video. I noticed that some of the words had the prefix anti- with a hyphen and others don’t. Is there any rule to use this prefix with or without a hyphen.
That’s a really great question. Well spotted Julian.
So what are the rules for hyphens? And are there any rules?
There are some rules, but they’re not straightforward. Sometimes it depends on meaning. Like we’re working on another video where a prefix has two meanings.
Oh yeah. With one meaning it has a hyphen but with the other it doesn’t.
And the other big factor is language change. Again, language change. Over time people just start changing how they write words.
So how do dictionaries decide how to spell them?
Well these days dictionaries have big databanks of language and they look at them to see what people are saying and writing.
So they can see if people generally hyphenate a word or not.
That’s right.
Do we use hyphens more or less these days?
I don’t know about prefixes, but with compound nouns it’s less.
So we’ve been using fewer hyphens?
Yes, you’ll find lots of words that had hyphens in old editions of dictionaries that don’t have hyphens any more.
Can we give everyone more help with the rules?
Yes. I’ll put a link in the details below to an Oxford University Press dictionaries page.
Great. Let’s tell everyone about the live show now.
Yeah. Last summer we told you we planned to start live shows in the autumn. But we didn’t.
Too many things happened and we needed to rehearse a lot.
But now we’re ready.
We actually had a question from Anatoliy Borys about that. Anatoliy wrote for the first time in my life I’ve seen the expression starting in the fall. They he wrote what means starting in the autumn?
Ah, autumn and fall. So he means what do autumn and fall mean?
And then he asks can you make explaining video about this.
So can we explain this? Aha, yes we can Anatoliy.
So can we make a video explaining this. Anatoliy, fall is the American word for autumn. And I’m British so I usually say autumn.
And I’m American and I say fall.
But it’s December now so our live show is a bit late because it’s not the fall or the autumn.
Well, you know technically, it’s still fall. Winter doesn’t start until around December 20th.
But here’s the important thing. The show’s going to be great. Get your diary out everyone.
She means calendar.
And mark the date. Next Sunday – that’s the eleventh of December.
December eleventh.
At 4 pm London time…
11 am New York time
… we’re holding our first live show. We’ll both be there and we’re featuring our old friend Fluency MC.

Once again it’s Fluency MC. Fluency MC. Once again it’s Fluency MC. Grammar through lyrics. Kick it!

Jason will be live in Paris and Vicki will be live right here in Philadelphia.
Jay is our Technical Director and he’s going to transport me to Paris.
Well, I’m going to try. But we’ve got lots of things planned – language practice, conversation, games, puzzles.
And a rap.
And there’ll be live chat so you’ll be able to ask questions and communicate with us.
You don’t want to miss this. It’s a historic event.
Yeah, you want to be able to tell your children ‘I was there at the very first Simple English Videos Live Show.’
So get this date in your diary.
Your calendar.
And if you want a reminder, sign up for our newsletter and we can send you an email 10 minutes before it starts. We’ll put a link in the details below. Tell all your friends about it. Jay’s going to transport me to Paris.
Well, I’ll try. We’d better stop now and go and rehearse that bit.
It’s going to be great. See you there everyone.
Bye.

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