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 […]
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Many seniors live in neighbourhoods that once matched their needs. Flash forward 50 years. Some adult children left Montreal during the ’70s exodus. While travel was frequent by parents and children, eventually the parents were the ones travelling less. Over time their parents’ support system shrunk as communities changed. Now, […]
In 1997, in his Encyclopedia of Words and Phrase Origins, Robert Hendrickson’s entry for “whole nine yards” states: “The expression did not arise in the garment industry but among construction workers, the nine yards referring to the maximum capacity a cement-mixer truck can carry—nine cubic yards of cement.” Hendrickson was […]
As a fledgling journalist in 1964, I was assigned to cover federal politics for United Press International in Ottawa and it was a tremendous learning experience, including linguistically. As I worked with an older crowd of top-notch reporters on Parliament Hill, I realized I did not speak English the way […]
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 […]
As the world laughs about the kerfuffle known as “pastagate,” Quebecers are shaking their heads in dismay as the Parti Québécois government pushes ahead with changes to Quebec’s language law. There is a lot wrong with Bill 14, even as the Pauline Marois regime has softened its hard line and […]
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 […]