A son of one of my ancestors was born in Axbridge (Somerset) but later settled in the village of Llantwit Major in Glamorgan (Wales). According to Wells (2014), Llantwit Major is an English-speaking area and its name is actually English, though that name begins with the characteristic Welsh syllable llan-, meaning church. Wells states that the…… Continue reading How do you say Llantwit Major?
Heard on the radio this morning. A British politician has just resigned from the shadow cabinet over a disagreement with his party leader. An interview asked another member of the party why the person had resigned. The interviewee responded that “He will not say anything to keep his job”. That comment was interesting, if only…… Continue reading He will not say anything to keep his job
When people say goodbye in German, they don’t usually say Auf Widersehen, they mostly say tschüß. I always used to wonder where this odd word comes from. Now I know. “In rapid speech, its possibly Wallonian variant adjuus (sounding close to Spanish adiós) yielded the almost unrecognizable word tschüs.” Monthly gleanings for October 2019 |…… Continue reading So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
Some of us learnt in school English lessons about a Japanese verse form called the haiku. We learnt then that a haiku contains a fixed number of syllables (17), divided into 3 lines: 5, then 7, then 5. Our English teachers encouraged us to experiment using that form in writing short, pithy verses in English.…… Continue reading How many syllables are there in a Haiku?
Many people now use ‘kind regards’ as their default sign off on emails. This sets my teeth on edge. I was brought up to describe other people (or their actions) as kind, but never to describe myself (or my own actions) as kind. Such self-praise was viewed as an unforgiveable example of ‘blowing your own…… Continue reading Not so kind regards
At the end of July, Digby Jones, former Director-General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), tweeted about the pronunciation of Alex Scott, one of the BBC’s main studio presenters during the Tokyo Olympics. He complained about her “very noticeable inability to pronounce her ‘g’s at the end of a word”, such as “fencin, rowin,…… Continue reading Droppin’ g’s = bad speech?
I posted this piece in May 2021. It drew large numbers of comments from spambots, so I have deleted the original and am reposting it. After the recent death of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, newspapers and magazines devoted acres of newsprint to his life. Some mentioned the name he was known by in the…… Continue reading Number one big fella him bilong Misis Kwin
I see Cologne has named a tram after the local Kölsch dialect band Bläck Fööss. Amazed to see the band is still going. In my gap year 40+ years ago I spent a couple of months trying to sell magazine subscriptions door to door between Cologne and Düsseldorf. The two guys who ran the sales…… Continue reading Cologne names tram after dialect band
Phonetic spelling of ‘use’. Written by someone from Liverpool? (In Liverpool, some people say yous as a plural of you.)
Crooked usage: a street name, not a commentary. Seen on a bus in Finchley (London) in 2016. Too slow to get a photo myself but here’s a link to someone who did. Is This London’s Oddest Street Name? | Londonist