Heh heh: Uranus!
No other celestial body has been so generous to the English language in terms of puns as Uranus, owing to its pronunciation. But you’ve probably noticed that there are two common pronunciations: Uranus (/jʊərənəs/, emphasis on the first syllable), and Uranus (/jʊreənəs/, emphasis on the second syllable: look, this is the one that sounds like your anus). Which one is correct? Continue reading
Recently I was talking to a student about the pronunciation of the word duty. And as is so often the case with English, it became one of those well-it-depends moments. Continue reading
Happy New Year!
The time does fly, doesn’t it? Continue reading
I had a moment of inspiration today about the word ocarina. In case you’re unaware of what it is, an ocarina is small wind instrument that probably became a lot more famous around the world after it was prominently featured in the 1998 N64 videogame The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Of course, being as cool as I am, I was already familiar with the instrument, as it had featured as a useable item in the 1993 Gameboy game The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
Anyway, today I saw a picture of an ocarina somewhere, and it made me wonder if the word’s related to geese somehow. Continue reading
I was rooting through my George Orwell books this weekend, and realised that it had been a long time since I read his account of of fighting in the Spanish Civil War, and grabbed it. It was only today at work when I questioned whether the title was a strange one.
Was it A Homage to Catalonia?
Or An Homage to Catalonia?
A minor difference, perhaps, but also perhaps all the difference in the world. Continue reading
Yesterday, I picked up a bargain at a Record & CD Fair: an old vinyl copy of Pink Floyd‘s The Wall for €38. Considering it’s a double album, that’s not such a bad deal. The second-most famous song on the album is probably “Comfortably Numb.” Listening to it last night reminded me of how odd that word comfortably sounds… Continue reading
You probably won’t be amazed if I tell you that the past simple and past participle forms of regular verbs in English are formed by adding -d or -ed. You also wouldn’t be very surprised if I told you that that E is usually silent, except when it follows a T or D (e.g. contrast commenced and finished with started and ended).
What about a word like beloved then? Continue reading