June 23, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

By or for?

Interviewed on this morning’s BBC Radio4 ‘Today’ programme about the election of John Bercow as the new Speaker of the House of Commons, the MP Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire) claimed that this was a vindictive act on behalf of … Continue reading

June 18, 2009
by Graham
1 Comment

Weak form loss

John Wells has been talking (here and here) about the loss of weak forms from English. Two more that have disappeared for an understandable reason are the weak forms of penny and pence. Before decimalization of the British currency in … Continue reading

May 26, 2009
by Graham

Gender and Sex

In a comment on my post Gender in French, Pat Franczyk shows the danger of confusing the meanings of these two words. It has often been said that “language has gender, but animals and plants have sex”. The ambiguity of … Continue reading

May 2, 2009
by Graham

New words or old?

I’ve recently come across two words I’d never seen before. The immediate reaction is to think that the writer has either mis-remembered another word, or simply made it up on the hoof: “To cut this delay, the control unit briefly … Continue reading

April 24, 2009
by Graham

Blaenau Gwent

Mark Easton, the BBC’s Home Editor, reported on the employment situation in this constituency on Wednesday, 22 April, Budget Day here in Britain. However, he did not do his homework properly, for he made the classic mistake of non-Welsh speakers … Continue reading

April 20, 2009
by Graham


John Wells’ blog of 13 April deals with the inability of many BBC reporters to pronounce the unfortunate earthquake-stricken Italian town. As he says, the Guardian’s Alexander Chancellor takes the Pronunciation Unit to task for not doing its job properly. … Continue reading