Why We Call the Planet Earth, and  What I’ll Miss about It

You might be aware that we could all be killed soon. Or else the planet will be rendered uninhabitable for a few survivors. I don’t think it’s very likely, but at least if we are all killed there’ll be no future generations left to wonder how we could let two immature, insecure babies destroy us all because of their thin skins and senses of inadequacy.

It probably won’t happen, and even if it does does, the planet will probably survive. Still, the news has got me thinking about how much I’ll miss the planet, and wondering where it got the name Earth

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Beards are in at the moment. Or at they were in somewhat recently. Even if they’re not in anymore, there are still a lot more of them around than there were a few years ago. For a humble bit of facial hair, the beard has inspired a surprising number of words in the English language, though not as much as people think… Continue reading

“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


First, let me say a big thank you to every one of you reading this. Yesterday I got a lovely notification to tell me I that reached gained 100 followers on WordPress. Which was a lovely surprise. As I’m writing about quite an uncool, niche topic, and just sharing my own thoughts every day, without really planning things, I didn’t expect to attract too many followers. And yesterday was also my first time with over 100 views, which was a nice little instance of serendipity. These numbers may not be so big in the grand scheme of things, but I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read blog, so I’m delighted for every single person who follows me.

So if you’re reading this, and enjoying it, thank you so much, and I hope to keep your mind occupied with mindless trivia about this beautiful language. Continue reading