“Boy, those Germans have a word for everything!” Part II

Sometimes you really appreciate the Germanness of English. I was thinking about this, naturally enough, after the resignation of the short-lived U.S National-Security Advisor Mike Flynn (yes it’s often written as National Security Advisor, but it’s logical to hyphenate it). While watching reports on Belgian TV, I noticed that the French for National-Security Advisor is conseiller à la sécurité nationale. Oof! 5 words instead of 2 (or 3, but National-Security can be considered as one, as it’s hyphenated), 13 syllables instead of 10. This doesn’t really give a true impression of the difference though, as French syllables are generally longer than English ones, as in English we have weak forms; short vowel sounds for unemphasized syllables. Think of how brief the io sound in national is, for example, and how many people almost skip it when speaking. Continue reading

Night of the Zombie Film-Maker

Today I came across the phrase zombie film maker (to describe someone who makes zombie films) somewhere online. I don’t really remember where now, but that’s not important. What struck me about this fabulous phrase was that it was crying out for some punctuation! Before I go any further, I want you to think about how it should be punctuated. Should it be:

zombie-film maker?


zombie film-maker? Continue reading

Brexit: A Political Portmanteau

I won’t spend too much time on my thoughts about the UK’s referendum. I’ll just say I’m sad. Sad because I have an idealistic belief in nations working together for their mutual benefit. Because I think that the British people who’ve suffered and been ignored in recent years were lied to by the rich and powerful into voting against their own interests.

So tonight I’ll try not to think too much about what’s going to happen to the UK, to the EU, and to me (I’d better remember to bring my passport if I want to drive to Belfast!)

Instead, I want to look at that word: Brexit. Continue reading

Making Connections

When I decided to call my blog English-Language Thoughts, I paused after first seeing the title typed out. I knew of course that it was the correct title, but it didn’t seem so aesthetically pleasing with that little hyphen in there. It makes it asymmetrical, too heavy and clumped together  on the left. English Language Thoughts would probably look much better.

Continue reading