Post Tagged with: "English"

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Columnists

Word Nerd: We are totally surrounded by redundancies

I first became aware of a penchant for political verbal diarrhea back in 1993. CBC journalist, Hana Gartner, was interviewing then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached
Columnists

Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached

It was 1931 when American architect Alfred Butts joined the bulging ranks of the unemployed. There just weren’t many buildings being erected so Butts decided to construct something else – a game for adults.

"American troops in the field during World War I" by Moore, William E.; Russell, James C. - U.S. Official Pictures of the World War.
Columnists

Word Nerd: Down the foxhole of First World War vocabulary

As this year marks the centenary of the commencement of First World War, it occurs to me that one of the reasons for the immense popularity of the television series Downton Abbey derives from the dynamic era it displayed in earlier seasons. During the helter-skelter years of WWI great social […]

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Columnists

Word Nerd: In context, slang ain’t so bad

Harris Academy, a girls’ high school in South London, wasn’t impressed by the manner its students were rendering the language of Shakespeare. To wit, last October it banned the use of slang by students throughout most of the institution. School principal Chris Everitt introduced this list of eight forbidden words […]

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Columnists

Word Nerd: Nu, let’s sit and kibbitz about those shlemiels and schnorrers

Fewer than one-third of English words stem from the original Anglo-Saxon word stock and to some extent the language’s ascendancy lies in the internationality of its words. Even with its grammatical irregularities and illogical pronunciation and spelling, English is best suited to be the world’s bridge tongue because of its […]

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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Columnists

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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Columnists

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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Columnists

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 […]