Showing posts with label English language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English language. Show all posts

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Saturday snippets

Cowell MOOOves X factor, Brits go bald later, Pirate day, English examples and A banned Jedi

My internet connection has gone down and I am piggy backing on another one, so this may be all you get today, I apologise to anyone who doesn’t get a reply or comment in advance.

Saturday again, still no post from the smoke and the politicians are sniping at each other from behind the newspapers, wouldn’t it be better for us and them if they actually worked together, after all it was them who managed to get us into this mess by the wrong actions or inaction.

I have just received my new TV license, and the cost of all these wonderful, interesting, educational progs-£142.50 per year, cheap at quarter of the price.

First up:

Simon Cowell. That thoroughly nice chap who is only thinking of us wants to persuade ITV to move the X factor to a different time slot so that it doesn’t clash with my other favourite prog Strictly Come Dancing.

He is doing this purely for our benefit so that we don’t miss anything.

The fact that viewer numbers and ratings will take a hit, and therefore his chance to make more money has nothing to do with his “decision”.

And said “I'll try to persuade ITV to move it (The X Factor) back or forward, whatever they need to do," he said. "I'm prepared to do everything to give the public what they want."

I am a member of the public, and what I want is to see the demise of expensive, crowd fodder programmes that are not entertainment but time fillers.

Can’t we have some “proper” TV please, things like dramas, or comedy or sit-coms, anything
but these “ look at me, I can’t dance or sing” bollocks.

You can now take a test HERE to find out when you will go bald, sadly for some of us it is too late, but the good news is that we in Britain go bald later than those on the continent, and for those of us in the Home Counties the news is even better.

“Whilst continental men become fully bald at an average age of 52, British men keep their follicles filled until 58. Vain south east based office workers are most worried about losing their locks whilst lawyers, presumably because of their wig-wearing habits, are least concerned by baldness, the Europe-wide survey of more than 1.5 million men found.”

Test creator Dr Adolf Klenk said: “The age at which UK men lose their hair completely may be 58 but they start thinning and losing their hair much younger than that.”

Bit of a hairy subject that.

Sunday is “speak like a pirate day”, and this is not some local thing but an international event.

Scarves, eye patches, parrots and strange accents will be part of a special event being held in the Whitsundays today, complete with plank walking and pirate jokes.

The event began eight years ago as a bit of fun, but is now celebrated around the world.

Organiser of the Airlie Beach event, Captain Dan van Blarcom, says all pirates will be on their best behaviour.

"We're the polite pirates and we always use our manners and say please and thank you and ensure our visitors always come first," he said.

"That's pretty important in a town like Airlie Beach, which is a tourist destination and we want people to come here and have a good time.

"We're going to have some pirate hip hop music and other pirate songs and we'll be there waving our hooks in the air and having a jolly good time talking about booty."

He says those who don't enjoy themselves may have to walk the plank.

I love the “pirate hip hop quote” must be all those peg legs. The picture is my idea of a pirate.

The English language is pretty complicated, but here are some of the best words that can be found in the melting pot of the linguistic world.

Fornale, to spend one’s money before it has been earned;

Cagg, a solemn vow or resolution not to get drunk for a certain time;

Petrichor, the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell.

Stridewallop, is a Yorkshire term for a tall and awkward woman,

Shot clog is an Elizabethan term for a drinking companion only tolerated because he pays for the round.

Deipnosophist is a Jacobean word for a skillful dinner conversationalist.

Parnel, a priest’s mistress,

Applesquire, the male servant of a prostitute,

Screever, a writer of begging letters.

Slapsauce, a person who enjoys eating fine food

Chafferer, the salesman who enjoys talking while making a sale.

Blatteroon, a person who will not stop talking,

Wallydrag, a worthless, slovenly person,

So I suppose you could have:

A fornale was visited by a Chafferer, who failed to make a sale and went to dinner at the pub where he met a Slapsauce, and was joined by a Blatteroon and a Deipnosophist, at the bar were a Shot clog and a bunch of people including an Applesquire, who was looking for customers and a Parnel who wasn’t.

There was a man who had made a Cagg, and was being pestered by a Screever, and a Wallydrag.
As the fornale left the pun after his meal he was greeted by Petrichor and staggered home,

Ain’t English wonderful.
And finally:

Unless you are a Jedi in Tesco’s, Daniel Jones, 23, who created the International Church of Jediism, claims he was “victimised over his beliefs” by staff at the supermarket in Bangor, North Wales.

The religion, inspired by the sci-fi films, is practised by 500,000 around the world and requires believers to cover their heads in public places. But Mr Jones, from Holyhead, said that staff ejected him from the store over security fears when he refused to remove his hood.

Mr Jones, also known by his Jedi name Morda Hehol, told The Sun: "I told them it was a requirement of my religion but they just sniggered and ordered me to leave.

"I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone."
The handbook of the UK Jedi Church, founded by the Star Wars fan last year, states: "Jedis must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience."

Daniel added: "It was discrimination. I was really upset. Nobody should be treated like that.”
"I'll advise worshippers to boycott Tesco if it happens again. They will feel the Force."

A Tesco spokesman said: "Jedi are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all went hoodless without going to the Dark Side.
"If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers."

Words fail me.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The English language-easy peasy

In no way do I profess to be proficient in the “English” language because it isn’t; English that is, it is a hotch potch of Roman, German, French, Gaelic, Norse and any other spoken word you can think of.

It has a way of creeping up on you and biting you in the arse, just when you think you have mastered it, along comes syntax and you are buggered.

Apparently it started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what today is Denmark and northern Germany.

At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke a Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed west and north by the invaders - mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The Angles came from Engla land and their language was called Englisc - from which the words England and English are derived. (Old English)

So “English” isn’t even English, the invading Germanic tribes spoke similar languages to each other, which in Britain developed into what we now call Old English. Old English did not sound or look like English today. Native English speakers now would have great difficulty understanding Old English. Nevertheless, about half of the most commonly used words in Modern English have Old English roots.

The words be, strong and water, for example, derive from Old English. Old English was spoken until around 1100.

Then along came William the conqueror and the Normans, who brought with them a kind of French, which became the language of the Royal Court, and the ruling and business classes. For a period there was a kind of linguistic class division, where the lower classes spoke English and the upper classes spoke French.

In the 14th century English became dominant in Britain again, but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. It was the language of the great poet Chaucer (c1340-1400).

Modern English:- Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation (the Great Vowel Shift) started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many peoples from around the world. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language.

The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read.

Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard. In 1604 the first English dictionary was published.

There’s nothing like having your vowels shift to make you concentrate.

And finally: Late modern English-The main difference between Early Modern English and Late Modern English is vocabulary. Late Modern English has many more words, arising from two principal factors: firstly, the Industrial Revolution and technology created a need for new words; secondly, the British Empire at its height covered one quarter of the earth's surface, and the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.

Then there is American English-From around 1600, the English colonization of North America resulted in the creation of a distinct American variety of English. Some English pronunciations and words "froze" when they reached America. In some ways, American English is more like the English of Shakespeare than modern British English is.

Some expressions that the British call "Americanisms" are in fact original British expressions that were preserved in the colonies while lost for a time in Britain (for example trash for rubbish, loan as a verb instead of lend, and fall for autumn; another example, frame-up, was re-imported into Britain through Hollywood gangster movies).

Spanish also had an influence on American English (and subsequently British English), with words like canyon, ranch, stampede and vigilante being examples of Spanish words that entered English through the settlement of the American West. French words (through Louisiana) and West African words (through the slave trade) also influenced American English (and so, to an extent, British English).

Today, American English is particularly influential, due to the USA's dominance of cinema, television, popular music, trade and technology (including the Internet).

But there are many other varieties of English around the world, including for example Australian English, New Zealand English, Canadian English, South African English, Indian English and Caribbean English.

Which is a real pain when trying to write, and using the spell checker, because it hops from “English” English to “American” English, like a rabbit on steroids.

So there we are, a potted history of “English”, but I haven’t even started on Antanaclasis (Repetition of a word in two different senses.)


If we don't hang together, we'll hang separately —Benjamin Franklin

Or Paranomasia- (Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).)


Don't let your metaphoric retch exceed your metaphoric gasp

Or even Syllepsis -Using a word differently in relation to two or more words that it modifies or governs (sometimes called zeugma).


There's a certain type of woman that would rather press grapes than clothes — Ad for Peck & Peck suits

Or of course the good old Onomatopoeia

Use of words whose sound correspond with their semantic value.


The buzzing of innumerable bees...


'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense,

The sound must seem an echo of the sense:

Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,

And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;

but when loud surges lash the sounding shore,

The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar:

When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,

The line too labors, and the words move slow;

Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.

(Alexander pope)

And not forgetting Phrasal verbs which consist of a verb and an adverb (particle).

Phrasal verbs are a very important feature of everyday English language. They are used in spoken and informal English, and they are also in written and even formal English.

Understanding and learning to use phrasal verbs, however, is often a problem and there are many reasons for this.

The meaning of the phrasal verb often has no relation to the meaning of either the verb or the particle which is used with it.

This means that phrasal verbs can be difficult both to understand and to remember. Also, many phrasal verbs have several different meanings.

Act out (object)

MEANING: 1. When you act something out, you perform it or make it into a play.

2. Express your feelings or ideas.

EXAMPLE: 1. “The script itself is well written and well acted out by the cast”

2. “He has become desperate and is acting out his frustration by behaving like an idiot.”

Add up (1. no object)MEANING: Logically fit together.

EXAMPLE:"His theory is hard to believe, but his research adds up.

"Note: This phrasal verb is often negative."His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don't add up."

I could go on but I have a head ache, so I won’t (or should that be will not?).

Suffice it to say, I have found the best way to write “English” is just that write what comes into my head, and sort out the grammar, punctuation, spelling and tenses later, luckily I seem to be able to manage so far.

English-easy peasy No, but a wonderful conglomeration of bits and pieces from across the world, I like to think of it as “liquorice Allsorts” we all have our favourites, but when you see them together in the bag it is difficult to decide where to start.

I have also posted this over on AnglishLit just in case anyone visits.




Angus Dei politico