While writing about the word Bluetooth the other day, I was struck by how obviously unusual it seems for a name for wireless technology, yet how equally not unusual at all it seems.
Another brief thought about gin and tonic. Yesterday evening, it occurred to me that another factor in the drink being called gin tonic in so many languages might be a knowledge of the English language’s fondness for forming compound nouns. People might hear what sounds like gin tonic or perhaps ginnentonic, and just assume that we’d just pressed the two words together, as we’re wont to do.
As I’ve said before, compound nouns are often tricky for learners of English, particularly speakers of Latin languages, who often use a noun+of (the)+noun construction in their native tongue, when we English speakers form a compound noun. It might seem then that forming a compound noun should be easy to learn: instead of saying something of the something, just put the two words together. Done! Except of course, it’s not quite so simple. Continue reading