Picture courtesy Analytical Grammar
that America was a somewhat less civilised place than England (especially since Trump), and now I know what they get up to on their Thanksgiving, my worst fears have been confirmed
I could just about manage family if I starved myself all day, but friends as well is pure gluttony.
Picture courtesy Analytical Grammar
This makes good sense. After all, U wouldn’t want to leave germs from your fingers on everything, would U? (When I tried it I found it quite hard to pick things up by the tongue method, but I’m sure it will come with practice.)
Picture courtesy Analytical Grammar.
‘I was moved to tears by the beauty of the prose’ Martin Amis
‘If there’s been a better book than this all year, I’ve yet to see it’ Kazuo Ishiguro
‘Where did I put my reading glasses?’ JK Rowling
These are some of the things our leading writers have said about other books (except the last one, which somehow slipped in) and may well do about my latest publication:
The whole November the 5th business is often thought of as a secret plot conceived by Guy Fawkes and other shadowy figures, foiled at the last minute just before Fawkes was about to ignite barrels of gunpowder beneath Parliament. The problem is, this story is full of holes.
Guy Fawkes was merely a hired hand, brought in because of explosives knowledge gained in the military. (I heard a discussion on the radio yesterday about whether he should be called ‘Guy’ or ‘Guido’. He was christened Guy but adopted, or was given, the name Guido while serving abroad as a mercenary and stuck with it.)
The real leaders of the plot, headed by Robert Catesby, weren’t shadowy at all but were well known figures in London, mostly wealthy gentlemen, with some even having positions at court. Not only that, but many of them had previously been convicted in connection with a previous plot, so were on the radar of the government’s very efficient and far -reaching spy network. The idea that they could have been not only plotting in secret for many months but actually digging a tunnel from a house next door to the House of Lords building, hacking away at its foundations with pickaxes in a busy, crowded part of old Westminster, is hard to credit. Not to mention the fact that there is no record of anyone ever having seen, blocked off or filled in this alleged tunnel – not at the time nor since, during which time the whole area has been excavated and rebuilt. The only mention of it was from a couple of plotters, during the course of being tortured and signing confessions which themselves show signs of having been doctored.
These and many other suspicious anomalies you will read about when you buy the book!
…and there is a time for a more sober approach. A few months ago I found myself having to help a group of people out performing CPR on a stricken person, and I was told afterwards that you are supposed to recite ‘Nelly the Elephant’ in order to achieve the correct rhythm. The idea of us all singing ‘Nelly the Elephant’ while the poor man’s wife was looking on somehow didn’t seem in keeping with the gravity of the situation to me –
which brings me to my latest offering from the people at Analytical Grammar:
I came across a word origin yesterday during the course of some serious academic research, which I would like to share with my readers for their delectation. Actually, I saw it on the telly, but it’s still a valuable lexigraphical contribution. Okay?
Most people are aware of Cockney rhyming slang, but there is or was another form of disguising what was being said called ‘Back Slang’. All it involved was reversing words, eg ‘Madam’ would become…well, maybe that wasn’t such a good example. But if you ask your grocer for two pounds of potatoes and he tells his assistant to give you ‘eno’ pound, be on your guard is all I can say.
This is because back slang was used by market traders so that they could discuss things in front of customers without giving the game away. For example making fun of irritating peoples, or conning them in some way.
I have to confess here that I’ve always thought the whole ‘slang as a means of disguise’ thing to be entertaining but pretty pointless, since I’m sure that the the public, police etc soon cottoned on to what rhyming slang terms meant, and back slang is an even cruder and easier ‘code’ to break. If you did overhear you grocer speaking gobbledegook, you would soon start to get suspicious. Anyway, here is today’s word origin.
And it is a very simple one. It’s now used (at least in the UK) to refer to an uncouth or unpleasant young man, but originally it was merely the back slang word for a boy: Yob.