Leonardo da Vinci nglish has a long and venerable history stretching back well over 1,000 years. Contributor to periodicals, including the Bangkok Post. Nevertheless, slang is often creative and may even border on the poetic. Rather, she was a character in The Rivals, a 1775 comedy by Richard Sheridan. The last of these was the original meaning of nice around 1290. When we say street cred not credibility or talk about the Fab Four instead of fabulous , we are employing apocope. Todd provides an exploration of the origins of the , then segues into a discussion of topics such as punctuation, spelling, word usage, word origins, irregularities of the language, peculiar and illogical rules and word meanings, and more.
Also, what's the plural of a computer mouse? This means using a single verb with two objects, where each object requires a different meaning of the verb. The winner in this category is axes, which is the plural of ax, axe and axis. A final intriguing figure of speech is zeugma. Alliteration is most commonly associated with poetry. Why do we have millennium but millenarian? And consider the goose with its plural of geese; Then a double caboose should be called a cabeese, And noose should be neese and moose should be meese And if mama's papoose should be twins, it's papeese.
Newton's first law of motion has here been split into two parts, the first two laws. Alliterative phrases are catchy and so easier to remember. We say a bevy of beauties, a coven of witches and a congregation of worshippers. There are three words that make plurals by changing two vowels, three words that form plurals by changing all except their first and last letters, a six-letter word that makes a plural by changing all except the first two letters, and even an old-fashioned plural that has no letters in common with its singular form. I could go on and on and on with such weird and wonderful examples, but the chapters in this book provide a depth of illustration and explanation way beyond what is possible in an introduction.
On a letter of reference, having a relaxed attitude to work may make you feel better than being called lazy; being economical with the truth sounds more pleasing than telling a bare-faced lie; and collateral damage is less offensive than killing innocent civilians. It is even possible for some letters to appear in a quadruple sequence. More amusingly Winston Churchill, on being told that he should never end a sentence with a preposition, is often attributed as noting, This is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put. Todd changed academic direction toward language and teaching, earning a degree in the teaching of English as a foreign language. At the other extreme is Polish, which can contain long sequences of consonants that seem unpronounceable to English speakers, such as the towns Bydgoszcz and Walbrzych. The reasoning goes as follows: plaster comes from Plaster of Paris, which rhymes with Aris, which comes from Aristotle, which rhymes with bottle, which comes from bottle and glass, which rhymes with arse.
While nowhere near Shakespeare, such combinations do at least conjure up new images. Shakespeare made up words, added prefixes and suffixes to existing words, combined words and changed nouns into verbs. Not a lot of meat on these bones though. So we had the U. This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to drop the product line.
Personally, I think bamboozle has a lovely sound to it, while crepuscular is not something I would like to be described as, purely based on the sound of the word. Many of these inventions fade away quickly, but some stay around to become part of generally accepted English. For example, in Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, the butler says that he would never hear of no foreigner never boning nothing out of no travelling chariot. For example, appear has a pair of ps. This 50-year cycle eventually became a jubilee. The tune includes the sequences B-E-E-F and C-A-B-B-A-G-E.
Over the following 200 years that word changed sense to timid, then fussy, then delicate and then careful. Finally, some words rely more on consonants than vowels, but other words have long stretches of consonants with no vowels in sight. Clearly, a bit of imagination or Fantasie in German was needed to think that it tasted of oranges. Can you call my bluff and identify the true sense? An object at rest will be in the wrong place. Even the most straitlaced speaker uses slang, albeit not the argot of modern-day ghettoes, but the vernacular of the ghettoes of 200 years ago or more that has now entered the everyday language such as bamboozle, fiasco and double-cross. Similarly, is it possible to make an educated guess about when the 1914—18 world war was first termed the First World War? The most commonly cited autoantonym is cleave. The alarm went off… …and we got up.
One particularly strange group is recursive acronyms, beloved of the computing community. Strictly, we should distinguish between metaphors where the comparison is direct e. Forty is the only number with its letters in alphabetical order, while one is the only number using reverse alphabetical order. Although most of us are familiar with metaphors from our literature classes at school or become aware of using such devices when we make a right hash of them, our use is normally unconscious. The linguist Peter Tiersma has found that whenever a set of objects can easily be construed as a single assemblage, a regular plural is in danger of congealing into a or an irregular plural.