Post Tagged with: "English"

Word Nerd: Homer, Queen and talking about death
Columnists

Word Nerd: Homer, Queen and talking about death

“To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest I recalled this droll quip that highlights the inexact language associated with death after listening to a CBC podcast titled “A Word About the […]

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Word Nerd: Original blackmailers being blackmailed?

“Scottish independence; Navy frigate contract will be held after U.K. split vote,” read an August 2012 headline in The Scotsman. This story related how lucrative contracts to build the next generation of Royal Navy frigates would only be announced after the Scottish referendum on independence scheduled for autumn 2014. Not […]

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Word Nerd: The pure gold of synonym chains

Although in the Middle Ages it is unlikely that gold fetched more than $1,500 an ounce, we still should pity the Middle Ages alchemists who futilely endeavoured to turn lead into gold. For all they had to do to perform such a metamorphosis was to create a simple series of […]

Editorial: Bill 101 has been an effective instrument
Editorials

Editorial: Bill 101 has been an effective instrument

When the Office Québécoise de la langue française was proposed 35 years ago, it was the object of both delight and scorn. For the PQ government of René Lévesque, it was necessary to stop the erosion of French in Quebec. For many anglos, it was a direct assault on the […]

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Word Nerd: Pronoun envy and the singularization of they

Although the English language offers its speaker a large vocabulary, it is missing some useful words, particularly in the realm of referencing other people. For example, many are not comfortable with referencing their inlaws as Mom and Dad, yet are not comfortable with calling them by their first names. Some […]

Word Nerd: Donkey kicked that arse out of the lexicon
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Word Nerd: Donkey kicked that arse out of the lexicon

In January, I listened to a podcast at lexiconvalley@slate.com that discussed the proclivity of New Yorkers to drop their Rs in speech. This phenomenon is known to linguists as non-rhoticity and is common to several English accents in North America and abroad. Podcast host Mike Vuolo by way of example […]

Word Nerd: Few Irish words in English? Put a kibosh on that load of malarkey!
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Word Nerd: Few Irish words in English? Put a kibosh on that load of malarkey!

Tis claimed that on Saint Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish. While this may or may not be true, it is a fact that the original Brits were the Celts who arrived in Britain and Ireland by 500 BC. After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century AD, the country […]

Word Nerd: Black English: Where African rhythms resonate
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Word Nerd: Black English: Where African rhythms resonate

In February, in the United States and Canada, we celebrate Black History Month to honour the achievements of black men and women throughout history. As such, let’s reflect on the speech patterns of black people. While negative attitudes toward black English persist, we have to look to yesteryear to see […]

Word Nerd: “Bespoke” crosses the pond. Crikey!
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Word Nerd: “Bespoke” crosses the pond. Crikey!

Some years ago while on a trip to England, I encountered some words and expressions that made me realize the importance of being bilingual in the English languages. For example, I asked someone in London where I could find an ATM. She looked nonplussed, but her companion translated, “he means […]

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Word Nerd: Skunk’s aroma wafts through English words

If a reader peruses this article, should I be a) disinterested, or b) nonplussed? It depends on the meaning ascribed to the three italicized words. Let me explain. Traditionally, “disinterested” meant impartial, but nowadays the majority of people use it to mean “not interested.” I regret this modern usage because […]