Son of a Bitch

Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to get too political. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s got their hot take on Donald Trump, so I want to keep things focussed on language: grammar, etymology, stuff like that. Hang on, let me just have a quick look at Twitter before I write… He’s said what!?…

On Friday, Donald Trump, somehow President of the United States, weighed in on the controversial issue of professional American-football players protesting against racial injustice and police inequality towards African Americans. He naturally employed all the gravitas and diplomacy one would expect of his office, and said the following:

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Only the Winningest

There are many clear differences between American and British English, particularly in terms of spelling and vocabulary. It’s natural enough, and I’m loath to say that one is better than the other. They both work for the people who use them, and that’s what matters. Recently though, I’ve been thinking about one area in which British and American English are very different: sport.

Even that word itself shows the beginning of the division: if you’re American you probably use sports when referring to the general concept of sport(s) (when I hear the word I always hear Homer Simpson’s final line from this clip:) Continue reading

My Left Hand: a Sinister Tale

I hope you appreciate how lucky you are to be right-handed. Of course you might actually be left-handed, in which case my apologies for the assumption, but statistically you’re probably right-handed. You’re also probably right-footed (90% of right-handers are also right-footed, and about 50% of left-footers). You might not have been aware that footedness is a thing. If sports involving kicking balls don’t occupy a position of any importance in your life, the concept may not have occurred to you. If you’re not sure which is your dominant foot, go kick the nearest person in the shin with each foot (not simultaneously, you don’t want to get hurt) and see which one hurts them more.

I’m entirely lopsided: both left-handed and left-footed. I was quite proud of this when I was a child. I felt it made me stand out. As a football fan, I was impressed by how left-footed players like Ryan Giggs always seemed to be so quick and dynamic and creative. My footballing career did not quite follow his trajectory, mind you. But mostly I just liked being different from everyone else. And I still do. But as I got older, I began to realise that it wasn’t so easy being left-handed… Continue reading