Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, traditionally a day of extreme rest for those who celebrate Christmas, due to the exhaustion caused by the previous day’s eating, drinking, and resting. Unless you’re one of those simply awful people who get up at 5am to queue for the stock that clothes shops couldn’t sell during the year, now reduced in price. Then it’s probably quite a tiring day, but that’s your fault, isn’t it? For the rest of us it’s a day for watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and eating Quality Street and turkey & ham sandwiches. Continue reading

Which Witch did the White Whale Whistle at?

Poor Wales, they put up a great fight, but a win for Portugal was a fair result, and at least they can be quite proud of getting to the semi-finals at all. Hearing the word Wales in the last few days made me think of the many childhood jokes based on the fact that Wales and Whales sound so similar.

You might have noticed that I’ve just said that Wales and whales sound similar. Not the same: similar. Hang on, you might be thinking: they sound identical! What’s he talking about!?

And you’re right: they are identical. But I’m also right: they’re similar. Isn’t English wonderful!? Continue reading

Come on Wales!

To celebrate the historic occasion of Wales playing tonight in the semi-finals of their first ever European Championship, I want to write something short about English words of Welsh origin. Short, because there aren’t that many! I think this is largely because Welsh both looks and sounds so different from English that it’s different for Welsh words to enter the English language. But there are a few, such as… Continue reading