Give ’em an inch…

Give Them an Inch

Measuring Tape by Sean MacEntee on Flickr

In these days of Brexit, I thought it would be nice to let people know where the terms for their precious pounds, shillings and pence and pounds and ounces come from. Good British weights, with a good British value. Or so you might think. I’m going to set my stall out, so to speak and say that I think the post-Brexit return to the old system of weights, measures and currency would be insane. The bewildering array of denominations in the ‘Imperial’ counting and measuring systems make meaningful calculations unnecessarily difficult and obfuscate the results from the scientific and engineering communities of the world. As I understand it, the people who want to return to this system are all around 75 years old and can’t be arsed to count in base ten like the rest of the world. Besides, British systems for British people, right? If you’ve got this far, I probably don’t have to try to convince you. If you’d like to know a bit more about the roots of these, the most British of values, read on.

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Doc Mock Shock

Doc Mock Shock

Doctor by Jeff Eaton on Flickr

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Sitting at the doctor’s desk while he or she nods meaningfully and makes copious notes on your life-threatening bunion or cold sore. What you may not be aware of is that these Hippocratic heroes and heroines are human. They are given to suffering from having a very bad day and to feeling generally miffed that they had to get out of bed to listen to your whining. It happens to us all, after all.

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Shag

Shag

“Shag” by Ella Mullins is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Oh boy. Did you ever realise just how many uses this word has? And how many pages of dubious photography I had to look at to get the picture I needed for this post? I was up all night, sweating and straining until my wrists were tired. It was all OK when I started looking for the pictures again.

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It’s all Greek to me

It's all Greek to me

Clifftop Church in Fira by Kevin Poh on Flickr

A few words in today’s post. First is a word that many people misuse, the second is one that I learned recently and thought may interest you and the third is one with Greek roots that serves merely as an excuse to shoehorn in one of my favourite Flanders and Swann numbers.

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So, what’s with the kangaroos?

Kangaroos

‘Curious Kagaroos’ by Bilby Summerhill on Flickr

This is a blog about words, language, grammar, basic linguistics and everything in between. I hope it will be informative, entertaining and at times, perilously close to interesting. You may well be aware of the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. Frank Zappa aside, I needed a name for my blog and all the good ones involving ‘words’ or ‘language’ were taken. I really didn’t fancy a portmanteau word and having seen some of the suggestions auto-generated by a computer, I don’t think we need to worry about the robots taking over any time soon. I definitely didn’t want a supposedly hip name  like ‘Wordr’ or ‘Grammr’ so I just ended up thinking “Meh. I don’t know.” From this, the vague memory of an apocryphal story about kangaroos came to me and, if you will indulge me, I’ll explain it to you by way of an introduction to what I intend to do in the coming weeks, months and possibly years.

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