Thursday, 1 December 2016

Fog and language!

Today has been a day of fog. White-out all over the area. Not quite bad enough to cause major traffic problems but damp and grim all over the place. And nowhere near as bad as the fogs and smogs of yesteryear. We were talking about this on Saturday, during our train journey on the Santa Express. As one of our group pointed out, almost all of the houses we were passing would have been puffing out smoke from coal fires back in the fifties and sixties when we were growing up. Cue a bit of nostalgia about walking to school with your scarf over your mouth, blowing your nose and producing a nasty black mess in your handkerchief, and those evenings when the buses were cancelled and you had to make your tentative way home on foot.

One of our members waxed lyrical about how she and a friend made it through the fog to a Beatles concert, having decided that if they were having trouble getting there, then so would the performers and, therefore, it was worth getting there even if a bit late. They made it, screamed their way through the concert and, faced with the problem of getting home again, were very relieved when one of their fathers turned up to take control! Such stamina we had in the sixties!

Today pollution is in the news again. It seems that all those trees which have lined many city streets for years and years, those trees that we have long believed to be absorbing the CO2 and releasing oxygen, have in fact been preventing pollution from escaping upwards and away from us. In fact they create a kind of pollution tunnel! Oh, no!!! Here's a link.

The other thing is speed bumps. Because cars have to brake, sometimes violently, and then accelerate away, extra pollution is released into the atmosphere. It strikes me that if perhaps the drivers kept to the speed limit for the area with the speed bumps, maybe they would not need to brake and accelerate quite so violently! Mind you, that is just my possibly scientifically ill-informed opinion!

Something else altogether is a matter of language. I have long been agitated by the fact that "fun" has changed from a noun to an adjective. It's one of my little fads. We used to say that something was "a lot of fun" or "not much fun", using those constructions because "fun" was a noun, as is "cheese". Nowadays people, at least young people, talk about something being "very fun" or "not very fun". Wrong! You never hear people taking about "very cheese"!

Now I find that the word is one of the latest anglicisms to migrate to France. Time Out France has produced "Le classement des villes les plus funs". Like every good French adjective, it is made to agree with the noun it describes. Well, technically/grammatically, since "ville" is feminine, it should have had an 'e' as well as an 's', but perhaps "funes" would have lost the anglo-pronunciation. Scores or I should say "les scores", were given for dynamism, atmosphere, restaurants and bars, variety of district life, how welcoming they are, and cost of living.

Madrid came fifth, beating Barcelona. So much for the Catalan capital being the place to go! If you want to know more, here is a link.

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