Thursday, 18 January 2018

Historical/linguistic stuff!

President Macron is going to lend us the Bayeux Tapestry.

Here is a link to an article which points out, among other things, that the tapestry is largely, if not totally, the work of women!

An expert on the radio points out that the story of the arrow in Harold’s eye might be the result of a poor repair to the tapestry. Originally, she suggests, there was probably a sword bearing down on him. The apocryphal arrow in the eye might never have existed. You might say it was a slip of the embroidery needle!

The radio reports of this item talk about the depth of our shared history and cultural involvement. There are two possible views of this. My first visit to France, at age 17, was a few days in Paris followed by a couple of weeks in Normandy, where I was told that England is just “une province Normande”. And then I have come across other folk who say that really France, or at least Normandy, historically belongs to England. Does this make any difference to Brexit!

Oh, and one last thing about the Bayeux tapestry - well, two, since a friend of one keeps going on about it not really being a tapestry (?) - masses of BBC reporters yesterday simply could not pronounce the word. I was hearing BayOO and BayOH, when surely the final syllable should be like the “e” of “the”! Where are their language experts?  

On reflection, I think my friend says the Bayeux tapestry is not a tapestry because it is embroidered rather than woven. Another bit of pedantry!

Somebody drew my attention to a list of words which some people feel should be destroyed. Some of these I have never heard of. Others are just silly:-

Word                                    My comment

Bae                                       No idea
Holibobs                              Baby talk for holiday?
Chillax                                 A combination of relax and chill out - another annoying expression
Totes                                    Totally, completely (annoying)
Amazeballs                          Amazing(ly annoying)
Cray cray                             No idea
Banter/Bantz                       Banter is always annoying
Fam                                     No idea
Nom nom                            A silly replacement for yum yum - partuclarly annoying when   written
Wine o'clock                      Almost as annoying as “waiting for the sun to go over the yard arm”
Yolo                                    No idea
Lolz                                    A texting borrowing - annoying
Well jel                               No idea
Coolio                                Presumably an annoying expression of enthusiasm
Awks                                 Silly
Methinks                           This only really annoys me when people write it as “me thinks”, which is just plain ignorant
Gawjus                              Another silly one
Hun                                   This annoys me as much as my cousin calling me “cuz”
Tellybox                           Daft
Hubs/Hubby/Hubster       Never heard husbands referred to in this way
Staycation                        A pretentious excuse for not going away on holiday
Be like                             An attempt to get down with the kids?
Whevs                             Does this mean “whatever”, said in that scornful way that kids have?
I know right                     Never heard this
Preggers                         Yuk! very annoying!
Epic                                 Another of those fleetingly popular expressins of enthusiasm - cf “magic,  “brill”. The best I ever heard was in French when for a while young people would say “le pied”!

Others added in comments to the above list were these:
manflu - I have recently heard suggestions that this is a real thing, as men’s immune systems are more fragile / less resistant than women’s.
Prolly - apparently short for “probably” - silly
Starting a sentence with 'so'. All the time! - Interviewees use this, to very annoying effect, as a kind of thinking pause at the start of an answer to a question.
Reach out - yes, indeed!I should like to “ reach out” to people to stop using this.

Working the other way, here is a link to words and expressins that might usefully be reindtroduced into the language.

From that list of no-longer-used words, I discovered that “slugabed”, a word I use with reasonable regularity, dates back to the 16th century.

Clearly my use of language is antiquated.

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