This was a conversation I had in the reception area of a storage company on one of my first days in Australia back in 2008. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary ‘cap’ can refer to (a) ‘a head covering,’ (b) ‘a natural cover or top,’ (c) ‘something that serves as a cover or protection,’ (d) ‘an overlaying or covering structure,’ (e) ‘a paper or metal container holding an explosive charge,’ (f) ‘an upper limit,’ (g) ‘the symbol ∩ indicating the intersection of two sets’ or (h) ‘a cluster of molecules or chemical groups bound to one end or a region of a cell, virus, or molecule.’ While I may not have had all these definitions at the top of my head, as someone who had studied English as a foreign language in Iran for many years, the general thrust of all these meanings of ‘cap’ was clear to me. The problem was that none of these meanings of ‘cap’ seemed to make sense in the context in which I found myself.
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- 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
- 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)