Not a word you come across every day, this one.
If you’re understandably unfamiliar with it, it’s a term for a building reserved for the quarantine of lepers or poor people with other diseases. I was reminded of it while writing earlier about the word quarantine and its Venetian origins. Continue reading
… whatever will be, will be.
You might know the song. And you might know the language the title is in. Or you might think you might know…
You’ve probably noticed that I talk a lot about Romance languages here. These are languages largely derived from Latin. Currently there are five main Romance languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian.
Usually, when people cry, they cry out loud. But of course you can cry silently, can’t you? That hasn’t always been the case though.
While listening to the radio today, the DJ introduced the song “Honesty,” by Billy Joel. Only, being a French speaker, he pronounced the H as we do in words like house and happy. This might seem odd though, because the letter H is always silent in French.
Well, never, of course. But these two words are quite often confused by English-language learners. It makes sense really. The two words obviously sound similar, and that’s particularly true for speakers of languages which don’t make such a distinction between the ch (/ʧ/) and k (/k/) sounds. And of course it’s logical to create an association between the two things: where else are you going to keep your chicken?
Affairs of the heart are always complex; I think that goes without saying. The English language has a few words which demonstrate this complexity. Bittersweet is a fairly straightforward, literal one. Another similar word is poignant, meaning evoking a keen sadness and regret. Even that definition doesn’t quite convey all of its connotations, as it refers to a nostalgic, gentle kind of sadness. It’s not exactly positive, but it’s a soft, contemplative type of sadness. Continue reading