After writing yesterday about how the word revolting comes from the stomach (not literally: that’d be, well, revolting), I was thinking about just how much of a role that organ plays in the English language.Continue reading
The Peasants are Revolting
An easy joke, that one there in the title. But have you ever wondered why revolting has two such distinct meanings which let us make the joke in the first place?Continue reading
I thought about one of those odd little cases in English of a word having two very common but seemingly quite different meanings. I was watching something in which someone convicted of a crime mentioned making an appeal, when I wondered: why can we also say that something is appealing to us?Continue reading
I came across an interesting mistranslation recently (well, I come across quite a few around Sicily, but you get used to the more ordinary ones after a while). Continue reading
What it Takes
I’ve been thinking recently of lots of the finer details of learning a second language. Maybe that’s because I’ve because I’ve been doing some speaking examining, and that really requires you to pay close attention to what people are (and aren’t!) saying. Continue reading
What Do You Call a Male Bimbo?
You’re probably familiar with the term bimbo, a pejorative term for a stupid, vacuous (but attractive) woman. It’s one that seems to be used much more in writing, particularly tabloid journalism, than speaking, but one most people well-acquainted with English will probably know.
And recently, bimbo has been joined by himbo, a vacuous, stupid (but attractive) man. Only fair, of course, that there’s a word for the gander as well as the goose. Though the fact there was no male version of bimbo until it was coined recently is also quite revealing of the structural patriarchialism underlying a lot of languages. Or you could also look at it as being male stupidity being taken for granted so much that there was no need to create a specific term for stupid men. Whatever way you see it though, it’s quite curious that bimbo wasn’t actually always so gender specific. Continue reading
A Decimating Blow
If you’re a regular reader, you might remember me writing about the verb to decimate some time ago. The gist was, to decimate had never been used to mean destroy or reduce by 10% in English, so it was incorrect and unjustified to “correct” people using it to mean to devastate or kill a large proportion of a group of people.
And I still basically stand by that assertion. Basically… Continue reading