Lopping sweaters

A spoonerism is an error in speech. In a spoonerism, the speaker swaps the initial consonant of one word with the initial consonant of another word.   Spoonerisms take their name from an Oxford academic, Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930). Perhaps the best known spoonerism is one often attributed to Spooner himself, though possibly apocryphally.…… Continue reading Lopping sweaters

ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

London has just extended the boundary of its Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Drivers of motor vehicles causing heavy emissions must pay to drive in the ULEZ. The word ULEZ has the shape and feel of some Croatian words. The common prefix u- means ‘in’ or ‘into’ and is derived from the preposition u. (In other…… Continue reading ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

Anglicised Germany—again

Here’s a link to a map of German in which the place names have all been translated into pseudo-English. https://www.facebook.com/TeutonicTongues/photos/a.2123278127942706/2699877216949458/ We recently stayed in Hambury, from where we did day trips to Henver and Lubbitch. On the way back, we changed trains in Theesbury and Minchin Ladbatch and Ea. I’ve linked to this map before.…… Continue reading Anglicised Germany—again

English Grammar Day

I went along yesterday to an event at University College London (UCL) called English Grammar Day. This was the first time I have been, though it has been held for the last 10 years. The event seems to be aimed mainly at school teachers and academics. I give below summaries of the 6 talks, which…… Continue reading English Grammar Day

Aux Champs-Élysées

An attempt will be made on 4 June to break the world record for the world’s largest dictation event. It will be held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris for 1,700 participants. The existing record-holder is an event for 1,473 participants at the French national stadium (Stade de France) in 2018. https://www.20minutes.fr/paris/4035705-20230510-inscriptions-plus-grande-dictee-monde-champs-elysees-ouvertes As I’ve said before,…… Continue reading Aux Champs-Élysées

Obstructing vision with a transparent adverb

One of life’s great mysteries is the offside law in football. It causes a lot of discussion and controversy among football fans and commentators, as well as among players and managers. A comment on a recent controversial decision about offside made me look at the wording of the offside law. I discovered a surprising (and,…… Continue reading Obstructing vision with a transparent adverb

Another error in spaceflight

‘This is another error in spaceflight’. This is what I heard a NASA Planetary Scientist saying on the radio one morning recently. She was talking about the previous day’s unexpectedly short maiden flight by SpaceX’s new rocket Starship.   The rocket exploded just a few minutes into the flight, so ‘error’ might seem like the…… Continue reading Another error in spaceflight

Albert Grammar Zone

Seeing this advert in the window of an estate agent in Auckland excited me unreasonably. Is there really a grammar zone in that city? What does it mean? Is some minimum level of grammar a prerequisite for living there? Is bad grammar illegal? Do they tolerate rhetorical questions? The reality is more prosaic, as I…… Continue reading Albert Grammar Zone

Answer to a puzzle

Here is the answer to the puzzle I posted a couple of weeks ago. Puzzle [A man] had sent home a letter simply addressed: WOOD JOHN ENGLAND and it was safely delivered. Those Post Office people are very smart. Can any of you read that address in its completeness? Answer The letter was intended for…… Continue reading Answer to a puzzle