Oh my word

Oh my word

What on earth is a nat-gih?

July 14 2019

A few weeks ago I became involved in the modern phenomena of podcasting. The podcast isn't about language, however, it discusses household tips. Nowadays the young would call them “life hacks”, but I refuse to countenance such a silly neologism.

Oh my word

Whatever became of Wallet Bayonet?

June 30 2019

The Oxford English Dictionary has released a list of new words included on its pages. They do this every three months, and the rate at which words are added is dizzying. This quarter’s tally is 1,400.

Oh my word

And you thought World War Z was a zombie movie . . .

June 17 2019

There is a war of words raging across the globe. The opposing forces are, on one side, the entire North American continent, and a battalion of etymology experts at the Oxford University Press (with support from The Oxford English Dictionary). And on the other side . . . me.

Oh my word

At what point does green become blue?

June 2 2019

Last week we talked about idiolects, concentrating on personal eccentricities such as peppering speech with phrases like “I’m not being funny, but…” or “As I was saying…” But your idiolect goes quite a distance further than a list of words and phrases habitually used. It is a fascinating aspect of how we personally interpret words and language.

Oh my word

Cats and dogs, stair rods, and Nanook — you’ve got to love a good idiom

May 21 2019

More than any other single aspect of the language, I find delight in the nuances of idioms. I’m fascinated by their ability to convey meaning in just a few words, yet if you take what is said literally it is often gibberish. Idioms, of course, are those figures of speech that don’t actually mean what they say. Kick the bucket (for death), lose face (a reputation drop), paint the town red (celebrate). English is full of them.