Rudyard Kipling was born on this day

9780198723431Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born 150 years ago today in Bombay, India. He was educated in England, studied at the United Services College and began a career in journalism. Kipling later made the transition to writer and is best remembered for his mastery of short stories.

To celebrate his birthday, here are five interesting particulars about Rudyard Kipling’s life and works.

  1. Rudyard Kipling spent a blissful early childhood in Bombay, India with his parents and younger sister. At the age of 5 Kipling was fostered at a strict boarding house in Southsea to continue his education, where he was regularly beaten and bullied. During this traumatic experience in his formative years, Kipling retreated to the safety of books which had a lasting effect on Kipling and would later influence his writing.
  1. Kipling worked as a journalist for the Civil and Military Gazette and The Pioneer and later travelled as roving correspondent, opting for a career instead of university. It was through a journalism career that Kipling honed his writing skills and started crafting short stories for syndication in the newspapers he worked for.
  1. Inspired by his childhood in India and favourite magazine stories of his youth, Kipling started to write about Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in 1892. These animal tales would later grow into the Jungle Books, first published in magazines the following year. Kipling’s father, artist John Lockwood Kipling, contributed some of the work’s illustrations.
  1. A prolific writer in both volume and variety, Kipling’s was not only a master of the short story including the Jungle Books, Just So Stories and Stalky & Co but also was highly acclaimed for his non-fiction, war journalism, travel writing (From Sea to Sea), poetry (Barrack-Room Ballads), essays and speeches.
  1. In 1907 Kipling was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature. In his lifetime, Kipling was also offered a knighthood and the Order of Merit but declined both honours.

Want to know more about Rudyard Kipling?

Oxf9780199536450ord World Classics
The Jungle Books

9780199538607Oxford World Classics
Just So Stories


Marketing and Product Specialist, Stephanie Swain, loves books, food, and books about food. She is slowly trying to make her way through reading the Oxford World’s Classics.

Oxford’s Australian Words of 2015

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Each year the ANDC selects a Word of the Year. The words chosen for the shortlist are not necessarily new, or exclusively Australian, but are selected on the basis of having come to some prominence in the Australian social and cultural landscape during the year.

Oxford Word of the Year – 2015: Sharing economy

The Oxford Word of the Month is written by members of the ANDC and published each month by Oxford University Press Australia. Each Word of the Month looks at an Australian word or term in some detail, providing a history of the term and its role in current Australian society.
In 2015, the Word of the Month covered:

January: Fridging
February: Eggshell blonde
March: Ned Kelly beard
 April: Big Stoush
May: Spill
June: Hubbard
July: Hoon operation
August: Tip turkey
September: CUB
October: Flagfall
November: Schmick up
December: Humidicrib

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Summer Sweets: Pavlova

Pavlova with cream, passion fruit and strawberries

Pavlova with cream, passion fruit and strawberries

Adding vinegar and cream of tartar to the meringue mixture gives pavlova a crisp crust and marshmallow centre. A range of other ingredients can be used to decorate it, including kiwifruit, banana slices, berries and grated chocolate.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 75 – 90 minutes
Special equipment: baking tray, baking paper, electric mixer
Nutrition: good source of protein; high in saturated fat
Skills: whisking


1 table spoon (20g) cornflour
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon (5g) cream of tartar
1 1/3 cup (335g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5ml) white vinegar
1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
2 passion fruit
1 mango to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 110°C. Line baking tray with baking paper, marking it with a 24cm circle. Sprinkle paper with 1 teaspoon (5g) cornflour.
  2. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar has dissolved and mixture is thick and glossy.
  4. Add remaining 3 teaspoons (15g) cornflour, vanilla and vinegar and fold through with a metal spoon.
  5. Pile meringue mixture onto baking paper, using circle marking as a guide.
  6. Place in oven and cook for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until firm and crisp with no sign of browning.
  7. Turn off oven, open door and allow pavlova to cool completely in oven.
  8. Before serving, beat cream until thick. Remove pulp from passionfruit. Peel and chop mango.
  9. Spread shipped cream over pavlova and decorate with mango and passionfruit pulp.
  10. To serve, slide pavlova onto large serving platter and cut into wedges.

9780195570403This recipe is taken from Oxford’s The Food Book.

Sharing Economy – the term that defines 2015

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Sharing economy v. An economic system based on sharing of access to goods, resources, and services, typically by means of the Internet.

The term sharing economy has been named Australia’s 2015 word of the year.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre, based at The Australian National University (ANU), selected sharing economy due to its increased prominence and frequency of use in Australia in 2015.

Sharing economy had a special prominence in Australia in 2015 partly due to the impact of debates around the introduction of ridesharing service Uber into Australia, which has been seen as threatening the taxi industry,” Australian National Dictionary Centre Director Dr Amanda Laugesen said.

The sharing economy is facilitated by online technology, and while most often associated with ridesharing and accommodation sharing apps, it can also include collaborative efforts such as crowdfunding.

“The term sharing economy has feel-good connotations in emphasising sharing. Some regard it as a positive good for society, but others have pointed to its corporate dimensions and its potential to displace industries and businesses,” Dr Laugesen said.

Sharing economy was chosen from a shortlist including the terms dark web, lawfare, marriage equality, and periscope.

Dr Laugesen said this year a number of terms relating to economic, cultural and social change found their way into the media landscape, particularly those stimulated by the impact of digital technology.

Periscope is a live streaming app that allows a mobile phone to be used to record and broadcast video in real time.

“We saw new social media technologies such as periscope gain ground,” she said.

“The name is already being used as a verb. A number of official events have been periscoped, including an ACT cabinet meeting in August.”

Dark web refers specifically to websites that use encryption tools to hide the identities of hosts and users of a site, often in order to facilitate illegal activities.

“The term dark web also became more prominent through 2015, attesting to the more dangerous capacities of the web,” she said.

Lawfare refers to the use of the legal system to effect a political or social outcome and was used in Australia particularly in environmental activism contexts, while marriage equality refers to the legalisation of same-sex as well as heterosexual marriage.

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For interviews or media assistance, contact the ANU Media hotline on 02 6125 7979.

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Classroom resources for Christmas

shutterstock_90619411Christmas is nearly upon us, so we thought we’d share some classroom resources to help you and your class get in the festive mood.

Teacher trainers Stacey Hughes and Verissimo Toste from our Professional Development team have prepared some multi-level activities for you to use in your classroom.

 Christmas Activities

Christmas Activities, including:

  • Jigsaw Reading – pre-intermediate and above
  • Christmas Word Search – pre-intermediate and above

Christmas Cards Activities

Christmas Cards Activities, including:

  • Christmas Cards Activity – any level
  • Christmas Cards Worksheet – any level
  • Delivering the Christmas Cards – any level
  • The 12 Days of Christmas – pre-intermediate and above
  • A Christmas Wreath – young learners

Extensive Reading Activities

More Resources

There is a huge bank of free worksheets on the Christmas Corner area on Oxford University Press Spain’s website. Everything from Pre-Primary to Upper Secondary levels. All in English and all available for download.

Happy Holidays!

Originally posted on 12 December 2014 on the OUP ELT global blog.

Oxford Word of the Month – December: Humidicrib

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noun: an incubator that monitors and controls warmth and humidity, in which premature babies are kept until they are able to survive outside it.

On 23 July 1946 the Wingham Chronicle announced an ‘order placed for a humidicrib—a new invention for helping the development of premature babies, and the first device of the kind installed in any maternity hospital in Australia’. This is the first evidence for a term that would become widely known in Australia in the period following the Second World War. The word is a blend of humidity and crib, ‘a baby’s small bed or cot’. Three Australians are associated with humidicrib design and development in the post-war years: Tasmanian obstetrician William McIntyre, and South Australian inventor brothers Edward and Donald Both.

The treatment of premature babies in specialised cots was not a novel idea in the mid-20th century. In the 19th century various incubators were tried. These were similar to incubators used for hatching chicken eggs, and their primary purpose was to keep the premature baby warm. Further advances in the design of these incubators enabled them to regulate oxygen and humidity, as well as allowing for various monitoring and feeding options. The level of humidity in the crib is an important factor in controlling the rate of fluid loss in the infant.

While the treatment of premature babies had come a long way since the 19th century, the article in the Wingham Chronicle indicates that humidicribs were a rare sight in Australian maternity wards of the 1940s. Evidence from the 1950s and 1960s shows that the humidicrib was a sought-after and costly piece of equipment, often requiring fundraising and community support for purchase:

Approximately £70 is still required to liquidate the debt on the humidicrib, which really is the property of the town, and one of its most essential and humanitarian assets. (Scone Advocate, 5 March 1954)

At the Auxiliary meeting on Wednesday night a cheque for $1,200 was handed to Matron Simpkins for the purchase of a T.V. Set for the Male Ward, and approximately $1,000 towards a humidicrib. (Bourke Western Herald, 16 June 1967)

During the 20th century similar infant incubators were developed in different parts of the world, with names such as ‘incubator’ and ‘isolette’ being used in English-speaking countries. The term humidicrib is specific to Australia, and refers to an essential piece of equipment in today’s neonatal intensive care units:

We have a proud record of achievement in health and medical research in this country, from inventing the humidicrib and iron lung through to organ transplants and IVF research, cervical cancer vaccines and bionic ears. (Australian, 2 March 2015)

Humidicrib is included in the second edition of the Australian National Dictionary (forthcoming 2016).

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