Search found 82 matches

by John Barton
Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:59 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: odd pronunciations of English names
Replies: 6
Views: 11497

Re: odd pronunciations of English names

Yes, the 'z' or izzard in Dalziel and Menzies is pronounced as 'y' because that is what was intended. English scribes confused as 'z' the very similar old saxon 'g' or yogh - one of four letters of the English alphabet no longer used. But the OED contains words beginning with them. The case is simil...
by John Barton
Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:39 am
Forum: Word Games and Challenges
Topic: Lexicon Soup
Replies: 0
Views: 6128

Lexicon Soup

(Composed by a Greek vegetarian; the end words should be replaced by Greek Uncials. "Kai" is Maori for 'food'). LEXICON SOUP I often psi That life has delta Quandary for the eta. But what on earth can ever kappa Simple vege pi! If soya milk is something nu To that from kine that mu, I don't give one...
by John Barton
Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:18 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: odd pronunciations of English names
Replies: 6
Views: 11497

Re: odd pronunciations of English names

An obvious addition to the place names is Caius College, Cambridge (pron. 'Keyes'). For British surnames, around 800 more peculiarities are given under http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/surname-pronunciation. The TV programme "Downton Abbey" surprised me yesterday by mispronouncing "Ayscough"...
by John Barton
Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:05 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Pizza
Replies: 13
Views: 11393

Re: Pizza

There is a theory that pizza is not even an Italian word: When mass-production started, the bases were sliced on a huge bacon-slicer from a big sausage of dough. In setting the thickness, this was computed as the height of a a very short cylinder, using the formula for the volume of a cylinder as di...
by John Barton
Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:40 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Cult
Replies: 5
Views: 4050

Re: Cult

Whether or not offensive in themselves, there is little doubt that both 'cult' and "New Age" are usually used pejoratively. On the grounds that a 'true' religion must not be either cultivated (mad-made v. God bestowed) or deficient in the hoariness of time. Curiously, our scriptures must be ancient,...
by John Barton
Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:16 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings Archive
Topic: Phenomenal
Replies: 2
Views: 7440

Phenomenal

The ancient Greeks divided the world into two halves, phenomenal and noumenal. Things material and detectable by the senses, such as horses or air, versus purely mental concepts such as truth, beauty, love. But the meaning of the first has apparently been corrupted into 'spectacular'. Whence: "The r...
by John Barton
Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:52 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings Archive
Topic: Pro's and Con's
Replies: 3
Views: 8929

Pro's and Con's

Journalism seems to abhor 'small majorities' and 'large minorities'. And tries to convince us that motives must always be "ulterior". I imagine myself trying to convince a court that 'my motives were purely citerior' - an almost obsolete but very useful opposite found in the OED. As also cis- (monta...
by John Barton
Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:15 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Book sizes
Replies: 10
Views: 2233

Re: Book sizes

Convention all too often means abandonment of the past. I tolerate officials, so why can't they tolerate me? In supplying dates as "Pudding Monday", or "7ber/7bris" for September, etc? I sit in my armchair, refusing to be the "man in the street". Leaving things like gambling strictly alone (if I eve...
by John Barton
Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:16 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Book sizes
Replies: 10
Views: 2233

Re: Book sizes

I suppose it's a matter of perspective. We look at '24to' and the word 'vicesimoquarto' automatically flashes into our brain. Or perhaps 'twenty-four toe', suggesting some quadruped monster. But to standardize these terms ending with -vo, -to, -mo and -do, into a uniform '-mo-' (2mo, 4mo, 8mo etc) i...
by John Barton
Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:53 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: o'clock
Replies: 9
Views: 3545

Re: o'clock

The addition of 'o'clock' to the time of day is reminiscent of people who say they are '80 years of age', implying that they could be 80 years of several other things. '9 o'clock' could be expressed in monastic terms (nones), or ships' bells, but 'nine thirty' makes it specific enough to omit o'cloc...
by John Barton
Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:13 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Book sizes
Replies: 10
Views: 2233

Book sizes

Do only purists decry present usage in the printing and paper industries of abbreviations for latin ordinals? I refer to such barbarisms as 'sixmo' for sexto, 'twentyfourmo' for vigesimoquarto, 'thirtytwomo' for trigesimosegundo, and many more. More specifically, it is not these that appall, but the...
by John Barton
Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:48 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Does the US use One man's meat is another man's poison
Replies: 12
Views: 3695

Re: Does the US use One man's meat is another man's poison

This proverb is one of a rather long list of contradictory ones. The converse being:
"Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander".
by John Barton
Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:31 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Quotes of obscure people
Replies: 5
Views: 3622

Re: Quotes of obscure people

Almost the opposite of the "as my grandad said" habit, was the late Edwardian one of adding "As the Bishop said to the chorus girl" or vice-versa, to any remark whatever, in the hope that it will have a comic connotation or double-entendre. Strangely, it nearly always 'worked' after any trivial sent...
by John Barton
Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:38 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Quotes of obscure people
Replies: 5
Views: 3622

Quotes of obscure people

Quotes which become quite well-known often originate as careless throw-offs made by obscure persons who never expect them to register. An example is: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". The origin of this feminist masterpiece has been traced to an Australian journalist Irina Dunn, who...
by John Barton
Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:01 am
Forum: Addicts' Corner
Topic: Good Quotes
Replies: 80
Views: 88726

Re: Good Quotes

“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.” - Ramana Maharshi