Today is 11 November, Armistice Day, on which we commemorate the end of the First World War. Or, World War I. That’s how we refer to the conflict now, but it’s actually had surprisingly many names.
Would you like tea? You would? Great! But please, take a seat, because this is going to get complicated.
Today, you can get an idea of how my “creative” process works. On Saturday morning I was going for a run around the university here, NUI Galway. In order to ensure I met my modest distance target, I went down a little-used path, behind the old quadrangle.
Yesterday, I wrote about why Great Britain is so-called, but if the Great is to distinguish it from Brittany, why not use a word more clearly related to size, like Big or Large? Why use Great when so many people assume it’s meaning in the name is to indicate how wonderful Britain is? Continue reading
I’ve been away for a few days, and found myself unexpectedly without reliable WiFi. I was in Brittany which, if you’ve never been, is a really beautiful part of France with great landscape, food, and drink. As a travel destination it’s great, but it’s also linguistically very interesting. Continue reading
Cow – Beef
Calf – Veal
Pig – Pork
Deer – Venison
Sheep – Mutton
Chicken – Chicken
Not hard to spot the odd one out, eh? Forgetting about chicken for a moment, have you ever noticed that in English, we have special names for the most-commonly consumed meats, separate from the names of the animals themselves? Continue reading
Reading through the blogs that I follow, I’ve noticed that the subject of many of them is the fall. That melancholy time when the leaves change colour, the tourists fade away, and the evenings gradually get that little bit darker each day. It’s a beautiful time of year in many ways, but, not being American, whenever I see the word fall, I hesitate for a brief moment before I realise what people mean. Because of course, I say autumn, not fall. Why do we have these two, very different, words? Continue reading