February 19, 2009
by Graham
6 Comments

Language, Variety, Dialect

In a comment on last week’s post about ‘snow terms’, John Cowan takes me to task for comparing apples with lemons (a ‘malo-citrine’ comment is how he puts it) when I wrote that ‘lie’, ‘settle’, ‘stick’ and ‘pitch’ were alternative … Continue reading

February 14, 2009
by Graham
7 Comments

Snow terms

England has had far more snow this winter than for many a long year – 18 according to the Meteorological Office. When snow falls and does not immediately melt, what is it doing? In Scotland, it is said to be … Continue reading

February 5, 2009
by Graham
2 Comments

Apostrophes

Last week, Birmingham City Council announced that it was no longer going to put apostrophes in its street names. This caused an outcry in the press. I can only assume the council needs the publicity, because the placing of apostrophes … Continue reading

January 29, 2009
by Graham
4 Comments

Today’s “Today”

The Today Programme on Radio 4 has this morning once again demonstrated the ignorance of journalists about the nature of language – the main tool of their trade. This was particularly deplorable this morning (Thursday 29 January) as both its … Continue reading

January 23, 2009
by Graham
3 Comments

English Polish

Philip Taylor has asked about the anglicisation of Łódż. I have mentioned this place before, here, but only in passing, so perhaps it is time to give a bit more background.

January 19, 2009
by Graham
5 Comments

Where do you shop?

In Britain the answer might be at ASDA, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Marks & Spencer’s, Debenham’s, Harrod’s … But some would say “Tesco’s”, and I’ve also heard “Waitrose’s”. The ‘regular’ treatment of shop names is to add the genitive to … Continue reading

January 7, 2009
by Graham
2 Comments

r-deletion

There have been a few comments about my post on ‘vanishing r’, including one from Jack Windsor Lewis (his blog 145 on 29 December 2008). He suspects that the lack of complaints from the public about the ‘mispronunciation’ of veterinary/veterinarian … Continue reading

December 19, 2008
by Graham
3 Comments

Vanishing r

It’s well known that “Febuary” is a common pronunciation (and spelling – 706 million hits on Google, but with multiple warnings about “Did you mean to search for February?”), but it’s by no means the only English word that tends … Continue reading

December 11, 2008
by Graham
4 Comments

lure, allure

Following on from my last post, with /jʊ/ words being fronted and confused with /ɪ/ words, I’m reminded that a few years ago, a TV programme included a demonstration of falconry, and the expert said she used a /lɜː/. The … Continue reading

December 5, 2008
by Graham
0 comments

Rumbustious nuptials

In his post of 27 November 2008, John Wells mentions the substitution of ‘-uous’, ‘-ual’ for ‘-ious’ and ‘-ial’ in the pronunciation of these two words. There is a more widespread confusion in the minds of English speakers about words … Continue reading