Session 1

Do you facebook or skype? What search engine do you use to google something? When you clean your house do you hoover? Many verbs and nouns in English have come from commercial products. Learn more about some of them in this session.

በዚህ ክፍል ያሉ ክፍለ ጊዜያት

ክፍለጊዜያት 1 ነጥብ።

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Activity 1

6 Minute Vocabulary

Eponyms as nouns and verbs

There are a number of verbs and nouns that have come into the English language not just through history and tradition. Successful products and popular software have led to an expansion of English vocabulary - as well as providing us with useful tools! Callum and Finn discuss this topic in this edition of 6 Minute Vocabulary.

ድምፁን ያድምጡና ክንውኑን ይፈፅሙ

ፅሁፍ አሳይ ፅሁፍ ደብቅ

Callum
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary with me Callum.

Finn
And me Finn. Today we’re talking about words like Hoover and Xerox, which started as brand names of particular products, but now are often used to refer to other similar products.

Callum
And some of them are also used as verbs. Words like these are called eponyms.

Finn
There will be a quiz; and of course we’ll bring you a top tip for learning vocabulary.

Callum
But first let’s listen to Cath. She’s chatting a bit about brand names that have become part of the language.

Finn
And listen out for the answer to this question: how does Cath say do you use Facebook?

INSERT
Cath
‘I’ll google it.’ How many times a day do you think or say that? Google is the number one search engine today and people sometimes talk about googling even when they’re using a different search engine, like Bing or Yahoo. In the same way Facebook is number one for social networking and Skype for web chats. So do you facebook or skype your friends? And how often do you xerox a document or go rollerblading?

Callum
Right, that was Cath. And we asked: how does she say do you use Facebook?

Finn
And the answer is she said ‘do you facebook your friends?’

Callum
That’s right.  Cath uses facebook as a verb because Facebook has become so much a part of our lives that we need a verb to talk about using it.

Finn
So that’s a bit like using the word Hoover, isn’t it?

Callum
Exactly. Until the middle of the twentieth century, the Hoover brand was the biggest name among vacuum cleaners. That’s why we say that we hoover our carpets.

Finn
But today that means ‘use any vacuum cleaner’, doesn’t it? Not just the Hoover brand.

Callum
It does. So in fact that’s a bit different from the verb to facebook. Because that only means to use the Facebook site. But who knows? It might change and be used more generally in the future to refer to other social media sites. Now let’s have our first clip?

INSERT 1 CLIP 1        
‘I’ll google it.’ How many times a day do you think or say that? Google is the number one search engine today and people sometimes talk about googling even when they’re using a different search engine like Bing or Yahoo.

Finn
So, that’s another example, a bit like Hoover. There’s the verb to google, the brand name Google, and the noun googling to talk about the activity of using Google.

Callum
Yes, and like hoover and hoovering are good for other vacuum cleaner brands, people can be using any search engine when they use the verb google and the noun googling.

Finn
Now, one thing to remember is that trademark names like Google, Facebook and Hoover should have a capital letter. But the verbs and nouns that come from these names don’t.

Callum
Mmm. On to clip 2.

INSERT 1 CLIP 2
In the same way Facebook is number one for social networking and Skype for web chats. So do you facebook or skype your friends? And how often do you xerox a document or go rollerblading?


Finn
So, Callum, what do we do when we use Skype?

Callum
Well, we skype!

Finn
We do. Skyping is a popular way to contact friends and business colleagues around the world. And this software has given up this new verb, to skype. And then Cath threw in another couple of examples with this type of word, didn’t she?

Callum
Yes, she talked about xeroxing a document. Xerox is often used to mean photocopy, both noun and verb, and it comes from the company Xerox, which produced the first plain paper photocopier.

Finn
But we should mention that this is an American English expression. It’s not one we use very often in British English.

Callum
She also mentioned going rollerblading. Rollerblade is a brand of inline skates that became so popular that we now have the verb to rollerblade and the noun rollerblading.

Finn
And today they’re used whatever brand of inline skates we’re using.

Callum
Other common words like these are Kleenex meaning any kind of paper tissue and Aspirin for painkillers. But they don’t have verbs to go with them.


IDENT           
You’re listening to BBC Learning English.

Callum
And we’re talking about eponyms as nouns and verbs.

Finn
And time for the quiz! Number one: How else can I say do the vacuuming?

Callum
It’s do the hoovering.

Finn
It is! Number two: What’s another way of saying: I often talk to my friends on Skype?

Callum
It’s I often skype my friends.

Finn
Excellent! Number three: What does: Would you like a Kleenex mean?

Callum
It means: Would you like a tissue?

Callum
That's correct! And that’s the end of the quiz. Facebook your friends if you got them all right!

Callum
But before we go, here’s today’s top tip.  If the name of an object has a capital letter, it’s probably because it’s an eponym from a brand. Look it up in a dictionary, where it should be labelled ‘trademark’, and check whether there are useful verbs or nouns that come from it. Practise making new sentences with those words.

Finn
There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Do join us again soon for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

Download

You can download this programme from our Unit 27 Downloads page. Remember, you can also subscribe to the podcast version.

Vocabulary points to take away

Some brand names become part of the language:

Are you on Skype?

Some of these brand names are then used as verbs and other nouns:

I'll facebook you about it tonight.

I sometimes spend hours just googling.

The brand name has a capital letter but the verb and noun derivatives do not:

Are you on Skype?

Let's skype.

Brand names as part of the language

Hoover / to hoover / do the hoovering

Xerox / to xerox / a xeroxed document

Facebook / to facebook / facebooking

Skype / to skype / skyping

Google / to google / googling

Rollerblade / to rollerblade / rollerblading

Kleenex

Nescafe

Jacuzzi

Levi's

Ping Pong

Next

Now you've heard the programme read more about this topic and try some quizzes in the activities.

Session Vocabulary

  • Vocabulary points to take away

    Some brand names become part of the language:

    Are you on Skype?

    Some of these brand names are then used as verbs and other nouns:

    I'll facebook you about it tonight.

    I sometimes spend hours just googling.

    The brand name has a capital letter but the verb and noun derivatives do not:

    Are you on Skype?

    Let's skype.

    Brand names as part of the language

    Hoover / to hoover / do the hoovering

    Xerox / to xerox / a xeroxed document

    Facebook / to facebook / facebooking

    Skype / to skype / skyping

    Google / to google / googling

    Rollerblade / to rollerblade / rollerblading

    Kleenex

    Nescafe

    Jacuzzi

    Levis

    Ping Pong