January 29, 2009
by Graham

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

October 26, 2008
by Graham

English spelling reform

This year has seen the centenary of the Spelling Society, formerly the Simplified Spelling Society, and inevitably there has been a lot of comment in the press, mostly uninformed criticism of anyone (particularly John Wells, as its President) who supports … Continue reading