One is wan

Oct. 23rd, 2016 09:49 am
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I have a cold, and an LJ poll on one, won, and wan.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
While there may be disadvantages to the lack of any central body with responsibility for English As She Is Spoke*, there is a decided plus side, which is that no-one can come along and say "We've decided that [word] is spelt differently now" or "we've re-written all the rules about commas."** There is something to be said for the free and easy approach of owning a copy of Fowler in order to argue why you choose to ignore it against the alternative approach, which might be epitomised**** by the following extract from Wikipedia, brought to you by looking up further my German teacher's comments on whether to write du or Du:

In der Schriftsprache werden das Pronomen „Sie“ und die davon abgeleiteten Formen großgeschrieben. Bis zur Rechtschreibreform 1996 gab es auch eine Höflichkeitsform für „Du“ in der Schriftsprache, in der dieses Wort großgeschrieben wurde. Von 1996 bis 2006 wurde „du“ in neuer Rechtschreibung ausschließlich kleingeschrieben. Seit der neuesten, inzwischen vierten Revision der Rechtschreibreform kann „Du“ bei persönlicher Anrede wieder großgeschrieben werden.

Google translate does it for us. Only the culture that produced Nietzsche could produce a sentence like 'Since the latest, now the fourth revision of the spelling reform'. One can just hear the existential despair that rolls off it.

*Would that there had been a committee in 1400 or so to consider whether the Great Vowel Shift should be allowed. Also, I would vote for re-introducing "æ".

**Danish, which I see has since managed to change the comma rules that were new when I learnt*** them.

***Or should that be learned? I think I can choose.

**** The English version is epitomised by the fact that I can choose not to write epitomized. Of course, English is nothing in comparison to Norwegian, in which it would probably be entirely correct to write epyttomised as long as you came from the particular valley in which that was correct and all your other spelling matched it.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
There are many people on my flist who are impressively fluent in several languages. Then there are the rest of us, for whom the sensation of watching this vid will probably feel very familiar.



I particularly like the way it keeps giving one hope before turning incomprehensible again.

AKICOLJ/DW

Jan. 19th, 2016 10:44 pm
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Help me, I seem to have forgotten a word and inexplicably do not own a thesaurus.

I want a synonym for "evangelist" in the sense of "person attempting to persuade another of a religion" rather than "John the E- ". I feel sure there is a word that exists that I can't quite remember and that would be better for my purposes; possibly I am wrong, but suggestions as to what it might be will be very gratefully received!

I seem to have failed to have an early night again, but never mind. At least this time it was in pursuit of fic.

ETA: Americanisms especially welcome.
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
I have suspected for some while that the government has a secret plan to turn back time, the Tories because they think everything has been going downhill since the Great Reform Act*, the Lib Dems because it's the only way they're going to get into government again for another century.

This afternoon, I received disturbing evidence that the plan may be succeeding. As I manoeuvred my trolley away from the supermarket check-out and towards the exit, I heard a young man* exclaim, "I say!"

I didn't think anyone, ever, said "I say"** any more. I am certain I have never heard anyone say it before. I would have noticed. I first came across it in children's books, and though it's absolutely ubiquitous in interwar fiction, it seems bizarrely unsayable now. I think I tried once, but felt like such an idiot even in the contemplation that I never did.

The world is reversing on its axis. It is the only explanation.

*Definitely not a hooray henry. Quite the opposite.

**Exclamation mark optional.

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