A surprising statement on the back of Colloquial Basque. “By the end of this rewarding course you will be able to communicate confidently and effectively in Slovene in a broad range of everyday situations. “
I recently made a surprising discovery. A very good course for independent language learners and a very bad one were both written by the same person. A very good course In the mid 80s, my wife gave me Colloquial Hungarian, by Arthur H Whitney. This was a 1982 reprint of a course book first published…… Continue reading Good course, bad course
I guess “badger” is a verb not a carnivore.Seen at Basel airport in 2013Franglais is a name used for excessive or unnecessary use of English words or expressions in French.
I’ve written before about confusion about the term dropping your g’s. The Time columnist Claire Foges waded into this debate on 20 September. Her article argues that people can improve their life chances by learning to speak and write what she calls Standard English. I agree with her on that. But her comments show some…… Continue reading Different accent or bad diction?
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?