I used to do these every week, but now I do them when I have to stop and think about whether I am using the right word or see people using them interchangeably or using one when they mean the other. It's been 18 months since my last (!) This is one that, until a… Continue reading Wrong Word Wednesday #73: Annex or Annexe?
It's been a rather shocking year for politics. First, the UK decided to vote itself out of the European Union. In the aftermath (actually, before that), the remain campaigners accused the leave campaign of lying. Leave were told to stop using several key strategies, one of which was the claim that the UK sends £350m… Continue reading Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year
I know I can be a Grammar Nazi. I have to be - people pay me to be a be a Grammar Nazi! However, even I know that there are some grammar rules than practically nobody obeys. I'm not talking about using "less" when you mean "fewer", I mean those that help language flow. Something… Continue reading The Grammar Rules That It’s Ok To Break
Other titles in this series: Anglo-Saxons; Vikings Let's get one thing out of the way before we start... whether you call him William: Duke of Normany, William the Bastard or William the Conqueror the man who invaded England from Normandy was not French. He hated the French and they hated him. He was actually of… Continue reading Origins of the English Language: The Norman Conquest
I used to do these every week, but now I do them when I have to stop and think about whether I am using the right word or see people using them interchangeably or using one when they mean the other. This is one that made me pause for thought because I'm sure I've used… Continue reading Wrong Word Wednesday #72
A very good friend of mine has been in the US for just over a year. Similar to some of the musings on the differences between AME and BE I’ve written about recently, here’s a great analysis from somebody who is living it.
(Depending on where you live in the world and which version of English you speak). I went to an Asian pre-wedding party on Saturday night. The person getting married is the best friend of my brother. But hold it there for a moment. When I used the word "Asian" what did you assume I meant?… Continue reading Words With Different Meanings (US vs UK)
The pen is mightier than the sword -Edward Bulwer-Lytton. (And just as deadly in the wrong hands as Jack Nicholson's Joker proves in Batman: The Movie). Words can do many things. They can hurt an individual or they change humanity for the better or worse. They can be used to spread the truth and to… Continue reading Favourite and Least Favourite Words of a Linguistics Nerd
For the linguists and theoretical code geeks (are there such people?) around here, the mysterious Voynich Manuscript has always baffled language experts and code breakers since it came to light a century ago. Dating to the middle ages, it is a bizarre compilation of strange language, what appears to be herbal medicine recipes, illustrations of… Continue reading The Mysterious Voynich Manuscript
Around election time, the language of our politicians changes. We all know how much they use spin and photo opportunities to sway us to vote for them, but I've noticed that certain words get used more than at any other time during a Parliament. "Vote For Real Change": It's not simply about showing you are the… Continue reading The Language of Politics – UK Election 2015