Cornwall and the Linguistic Diaspora

You can sometimes find acquaintance and commonality in the most unusual places. I first found Alexis Chateau’s blog around two years ago. I can’t quite remember how, maybe it was the chronicles of her travels around the southern US states. Yet it ended up being her posts on Jamaican culture that I found the most […]

The Power of Words: Best and Worst Political Slogans

Words are powerful. I’ve written on the subject of political oratory repeatedly. Two years ago, I discussed my discomfort with the media’s character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn being “unelectable”, for example, and in the run-up to the General Election in 2015, I listed some common politician stock phrases. Here, I want to discuss election campaign […]

Meaningless Words and Terms Advertisers Use

This is going to be one of my “Grinds My Gears” type posts. Some types of business speak really grind my gears, as I have already discussed. Advertising though is a whole other kettle of fish. There are some words and terms that I really would not be upset if I never encountered them again. […]

The Grammar Rules That It’s Ok To Break

I know I can be a Grammar Nazi. I have to be – people pay me to be a be a Grammar Nazi! However, even I know that there are some grammar rules than practically nobody obeys. I’m not talking about using “less” when you mean “fewer”, I mean those that help language flow. Something […]

Origins of the English Language: The Norman Conquest

Other titles in this series: Anglo-Saxons; Vikings Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start… whether you call him William: Duke of Normany, William the Bastard or William the Conqueror the man who invaded England from Normandy was not French. He hated the French and they hated him. He was actually of […]

Here’s Some West Country Regional Slang My Lover!

There’s something really wonderful about the English language’s history of regional slang. It came from this tiny island and has been affected by Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans (and I am still putting together my latest in this series so I won’t delve into this aspect too much). What is had done though, is brought rise […]

Figurative Speech: Metonymy

This is an interesting one. In many ways, a metonymy is the opposite of a metaphor but they both do the same thing. A metaphor compares a thing to something unrelated by way of implication or suggestion (a brilliant shining diamond bore down in them from the sky) and a simile is a direct comparison […]

Quirks of the English Language: Place Names With Weird Pronunciation

As I like to travel about quite a bit (mostly by train at the moment, but I do drive) I’m often struck by the weird and wonderful place names I see around. As part of my MA in Landscape Archaeology, I did study some place name etymology and I often find myself trying to work […]

Figurative Speech: Oxymorons

Oxymorons – they can be amusing or ironic, or they can give you a headache as you try to get your head around them. We use oxymorons all the time. They are terms that make sense initially, but appear to present a contradiction by fusing together two different and opposing words or terms. Be careful […]

Words With Different Meanings (US vs UK): Cider Edition

A bit of a follow up from a previous post here. As a west country lad, it is pretty much expected of me to like cider. I freely admit to this being a recent addition to my alcohol tastes. I have friends in Bristol, lived in Devon for five years and my girlfriend lives in […]