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

From judicial decisions to judicious decisions?

The House of Commons discussed yesterday a government proposal that would allow the UK government to ignore some injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Reportedly, Minister Robert Jenrick said the government would use this power only ‘highly judiciously’. His choice of the word judiciously is interesting. The judges sitting in the ECHR…… Continue reading From judicial decisions to judicious decisions?

Untranslatable words

People are endlessly fascinated by words that are claimed to be untranslatable. A recent request by the American dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster led to many suggestions of words that are untranslatable. On 28 February 2023, the publisher tweeted a question: ‘Non-native English Speakers, what’s a word from your language that you think is perfect that doesn’t…… Continue reading Untranslatable words

Words to watch in 2023

Which words and phrases will enter wider circulation in 2023? This year’s edition of The Economist magazine’s annual publication The World in 2023 discusses, among many other interesting topics, the magazine’s ‘best 23 guesses’ for the terms that will become part of public discourse this year. I list the 23 terms below, with brief definitions,…… Continue reading Words to watch in 2023

Status of British Sign Language in Britain

A recent announcement by rail company led me to a bigger piece of news that I’d missed. Small news The UK train operator TransPennine Express announced in December 2022 that it would start providing departure boards in British Sign Language (BSL). TransPennine Express launches British Sign Language departure boards – Rail UK In that announcement…… Continue reading Status of British Sign Language in Britain

2,000 year old Sanskrit puzzle solved?

A PhD student may have found a way to simplify the analysis of Sanskrit grammar, overturning a time-honoured way of reading a classic grammatical description. In his PhD thesis, Dr Rishi Rajpopat (of St John’s College, Cambridge) analysed the oldest surviving descriptive grammar of any language. This is Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī, a comprehensive grammar of Sanskrit,…… Continue reading 2,000 year old Sanskrit puzzle solved?

New spelling may rool OK?

Last month, the English Spelling Society provisionally endorsed a new spelling system which it hopes will ultimately eventually replace the highly irregular system used today in spelling English. The new system is called Traditional Spelling Revised (TSR for short). The Society believes that adopting TSR would help children and students to predict pronunciation from spelling,…… Continue reading New spelling may rool OK?

Goodbye Snowdon, hello Yr Wyddfa

The Snowdonia National Park Authority decided in November 2022 to use the Welsh names Yr Wyddfa (for the mountain Snowdon) and Eryri (for the region of Snowdonia). This will apply ‘in both Welsh and English contexts’. https://snowdonia.gov.wales/paper-on-place-names-principles-approved-in-order-to-safeguard-and-celebrate-welsh-place-names-within-the-national-park/ According to a press report, the Authority will: in Welsh correspondence, use only Welsh names; in English texts,…… Continue reading Goodbye Snowdon, hello Yr Wyddfa

You can vote for the Oxford Word of 2022

Oxford University Press is letting the public help decide on the Oxford Word of the Year for 2022.   Oxford’s lexicographers are giving the public 3 candidates, defined at https://global.oup.com/news-items/homepage/vote?cc=gb&WT.ac=vote: metaverse n. A (hypothetical) virtual reality environment in which users interact with one another’s avatars and their surroundings in an immersive way, sometimes posited as…… Continue reading You can vote for the Oxford Word of 2022