When a word is not pronounced the way it is spelt, is it the spelling or the pronunciation that causes the difference? More recently, some suggested oxymorons smack more of social comment than a true lack of logic: military intelligence, Microsoft Works and civil engineer. For example, you might xerox a page from this book although the Xerox company has attempted to encourage people to use the verb photocopy instead, so that its rights over its name are retained or maybe hoover the carpet between chapters. To prevent patients biting through their own tongue, a bullet was placed in their mouth before the surgeon started work. In other paired words, although the two words still have similar meanings, one of these may not be so clear. Just two words together is enough to make illogical oxymorons, while other pairs of words form redundant pleonasms.
Others make the logical step of simply using a noun twice to indicate a plural. The easy answer is five, although you might guess six or, being particularly clever, five and a half if you include the semivowel y. Also, what's the plural of a computer mouse? For example, the title Ms as opposed to Miss or Mrs originates in the feminist movement following the Second World War. Today many rural and foreign speakers still don't think of children as plural, and have added a third suffix, yielding the triply plural childrens. Can you guess what their original meanings were? Along similar lines are the words ending in letter combinations that you would think would be common but are in fact restricted to one or two words only. And perhaps we would anticipate earthling as dating to the first science-fiction novels at the turn of the twentieth century, but the word is first found in print in 1593 albeit in the sense of a man of the earth.
For example, hitting the nail on the head and hitting the jackpot both involve hitting and have similar meanings. The simple presence of clichés such as these can help us to know that an article is taken from a newspaper, wherever we encounter it. Captured rare white elephants were considered sacred and needed special and costly attention. What about the Cantonese word gweilo, commonly used in Hong Kong English to describe foreigners as white devils and found in quite a few books? For example, the benefits of laughter can be found encapsulated in sayings from a wide range of countries. July 2008 The laws of infernal dynamics are an about the cursedness of the. A few words in English have interesting alphabetical characteristics, and we might call these alphabet words. Fortunately, in the pre-dawn darkness torrential rain prevented the fire from reaching a densely wooded area.
This may be because of the way letters and sounds are repeated through a word, as in zenzizenzizenzic meaning the eighth power of a number and syzygy meaning a conjunction of the moon and the sun. Indeed, replacing ago with the convoluted phrase have gone by from the day when makes it more difficult. Clearly, a bit of imagination or Fantasie in German was needed to think that it tasted of oranges. Nolst Trenité in the early twentieth century. Spoken language, on the other hand, is ephemeral and pronunciations change over time.
Finally, in contrast to all the repetitions of letters, long words in which no letter appears more than once are surprisingly rare in English. Rather, such figures of speech underlie much everyday language and so are difficult to avoid. How shall we find the concord of this discord? In fact, condom may be derived from the Italian word guanto; jazz comes from the Creole word jass; and pedigree originates in the Middle French term pie de grue. It shifted sense through pious to innocent at the start of the thirteenth century. There are also specific collective nouns for some occupations and objects. When we say something is fashionable, marketable, obscene or flawed, when we say someone is critical, generous, lonely or useless, and when we talk of accommodation or a bump, we are using words that Shakespeare originated. From an early age when we might hear of a teeny-weeny tootsy-wootsy on a piggy-wiggy through our namby-pamby and lardy-dardy days until we are a fuddyduddy, we use a higgledy-piggledy hodge-podge of reduplicated words willy-nilly.
In this emergency situation of crisis proportions, she is choked with emotion and struggling to make sense of the tragedy. Perhaps even more common are nicknames for places: Ireland is the Emerald Isle, and Australia is the Land Down Under. The chapters are fun and thought provoking, about all sorts of aspects of the language. Shakespeare made up words, added prefixes and suffixes to existing words, combined words and changed nouns into verbs. The meanings of other words have also been dictated by the times.
There is little evidence justifying any of the explanations. Plaster is slang for arse. Another illustration of the extreme inconsistencies of English spelling and pronunciation comes in homographs. The following spoof newspaper article contains several clichés. More noticeably, the pronunciation of some words differs.
Jazz a style of music a As a lively musical style, jazz comes from the Creole word jass, meaning strenuous sexual activity. These can then be combined to form a sentence: Rats live on no evil star. When we hear He went to the bank, we need to know the context to know which sense of bank is intended and so whether he went to a river or a financial institution. Given the amount of cross-fertilisation between the cultures through music, films or movies , literature, sports and so on, it seems likely that the two varieties will remain mutually comprehensible for the foreseeable future. To see how creative you are at making Tom Swifties, try to add an appropriate adverb to the following sentences to make a pun. The sheer quantity of phrases with animal origins is enough to make you clam up.