Laughter and books make life a little easier

Posts tagged “English language

Taking words literally

I love words. I’d speak about them all day. I’d also use words to speak about more words, which is, I admit, not a very unique trait.

This little dialogue from The Truth by Terry Pratchett could directly be applied to me:

‘You talking to me about knocking back? Don’t know what a tosheroon is, do you?’ he said. The dwarf shrugged.
  ‘Yes, I do,’ said William. ‘There’s several meanings, but I think you’re referring to a big caked ball of mud and coins, such as you might find in some crevice in an old drain where the water forms an eddy. They can be quite valuable.’
  ‘What? You’ve got hands on you like a girl,’ said Harry, so surprised that the cigar momentarily drooped. ‘How come you know that?’
  ‘I like words, Mr King.’

– p.212, 2001 Corgi Edition.

It may or may not also be this single little conversation that has made William de Worde one of my favourite Pratchett characters.

But without going into a digression about how I love collecting words and being an obnoxious little know-it-all, let’s just say that I also find words quite funny. However, before the funny, I first have a couple of other things things to say.

 

Firstly, sorry for being MIA. University started again a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been spinning around like a crazy elf. (Kudos if you pick up the reference!) Everybody seems to think it is my goal in life to read a score of boring articles a week. Well, maybe not a score. But a lot. I was going to make a vlog again, but halfway through recording I noticed that the mic was not picking up my voice properly and I was basically inaudible. I didn’t feel like dubbing it, so you will just have to make do with my bland text.

I’m not sure what this means for the blog and how often I will have time to post. Perhaps I will start doing smaller posts, with only one or two frames. But I am definitely going to continue blogging! Unfortunately I am enjoying this far too much to stop! Smile Anyway, just be aware of this in case I go missing for 3 weeks!
Oh, and before someone asks, our academic year does run along with the calendar year.

 

Secondly, I… uh… received quite a lot of awards recently. Uh… 5, I think. I will make my next post about that, but firstly I need your help! Everyone seems to want you to tell your readers random things about you. However, I’m fresh out of ideas. I don’t even know where to start this time round. So if any of you have any random questions that you would like me to answer, let me know in the comments and I’ll include it! If I receive too many, I’ll just pick some.
Also, if anyone has any suggestions for blogs that I can pass these things on to, let me know as well! I wouldn’t complain as I never seem to be able to think of the required amount of new nominees. Winking smile

See? Working together we can get there! To the stars!

 

Thirdly, enjoy my

Taking Words Literally!

 

There are words that are so common we all know them and use them everyday. But have you ever noticed that some words can have very strange meanings if you look at them literally? No? Observe:

 

Rock music

 

Hollywood

 

Tablets1

 

Tablets2

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate every random person who happens to own a tablet computer. I just hate the show-offs, and believe me, there are enough of those in my classes. So right, you are able to afford one of these ludicrous new note-typing machines. That still does not give you the right to look down at the rest of us who cope perfectly well with a pen and paper and to come in late to class, wait until all eyes are on you, take out your shiny tablet and start to preen it. *

 

* Well, maybe I’m just a tiny bit jealous. Jealous of those who don’t need to lug heavy handbooks around, because they simply scan them onto the tablet. But I am certainly not jealous of having to look after a liability like that all day and be nervous that it will get stolen – with all my notes and books on it. I’m paranoid enough about my phone already, thank you all the same. Winking smile

 

Sorry, but I just could not resist sticking a random, old-fashioned London dandy into this cartoon. I don’t know how these ideas get into my head, or what exactly he is doing there.

Green fingers1

 

Green fingers2

 

PS.

Afterword

 

 

I hope everyone enjoyed this!

Sig2

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The Idiocy of the English Language

If you are at all acquainted with the English language, you may have noticed some common sayings and words in there that are really silly, once you come to think of it. For example, why is it called a boxing ring when it is actually a square? Why is the load of the ship referred to as cargo, but when a truck carries a load on land, that is referred to as shipping? Actors recite a play for an audience, but then they play at a recital. See? It doesn’t make sense! But that is English, unfortunately. That is also one of the reasons why English is such a hard language to speak fluently – incorporating all its nuances. Ask me – I’ve been there. There are so many things you simply have to know.

If you want to read more about the silliness of English, there is this poem. It is unfortunately not the original one that inspired this post – that one was printed in my English handbook and I can’t find it – but most of the cartoons of this post are also illustrations from it.

 

Now, without further ado (cliché!), let’s have a giggle!

Cover

*

 

Desert

You would not believe how many “desert peaches” I’ve seen at the grocer. I always wonder if they are all sandy and dry. And I’ve also had several people ask me if I would live in a dessert. “No, I don’t think so. It would probably be very sticky. And sickly.” Then they look at me as if I’ve gone mad.

 

Hot

Cold

What the hell just happened there? Please excuse the language: I just felt that was the only suitable comment to use. Winking smile

 

Humanitarian

Yes. And if fire fighters fight fires, what then do freedom fighters fight?

 

Why do we drive on parkways…

Parkways

Driveways

… and park on driveways?

 

Pineapple

Oh. Well, I just asked the dictionary, and apparently the word “pineapple” is derived from the Middle English word for “pinecone”. The fruit seems to have reminded whoever named it of a pinecone. If you say so. I can’t say I really see the resemblance. Except maybe in the shape.

 

So sometimes the connections do make sense. A lot of the time they do not, however. But no-one can deny that English is a creative language!

 

I hope you all have a great week!

Sig2


It is essential to your health that you read this

Well, no. Maybe not as bad as all that. Maybe not essential-essential. Maybe not pivotal… also, I think its crux has gone missing somewhere. But hopefully you will laugh –- and that will be good for your health.

Besides, I got your attention with that title, didn’t I? Winking smile

 

♠♣♦♥

Status update: I’ve been sick for most of this week. All this means is that I go even crazier and write even more nonsensical nonsense than usual.
Eating: Cookie!
Drinking: Water
Listening: “Kingdom of Avilion” – Jo Blankenburg
Reading: “Making Money” – Terry Pratchett

♥♦♣♠

 

Everybody knows the truism that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. But has anyone ever thought that this saying sounds rather senseless? Of course everyone knows that it means that if you eat an apple everyday, it will keep you healthy, and therefore the doctor will not need to come out. But why don’t you just go and say that then? Why dress it up in obscure semantics – do you want people to be able to draw some extra meanings and mind-pictures out of there? Do you want creative misunderstandings?

In other words, do you want me to play with your saying?

 

*drumroll*

I present to you…

 

Apple1

(Apparently fruit-drawing is not my strong point… Please excuse!)

 

Apple2Apple3

Well, I suppose it could work, but it would work even better if you got some of your buddies together to help you throw.

 

Apple4


Or…

Apple2.5Apple5

 

Or…

Apple2.5

Apple6

 

Eat your apples folks! Eat one for me too, willya? I cannot eat them – my jaw is formed wrong for that and it means I cannot bite into an apple. I suppose that also means I will never make a good vampire… And to get a knife and cut it into pieces (the apple, not the vampire) is just too much to bother with for something that does not even taste that good to me.

 

Apple0.5

 

Hope you all enjoyed reading it, and…

C’ya next week!

 

Sig2


I izz Grammar Nazzzi!! Arr!!!

This may be a tad rant-y. Sorry. But I hope it’s maybe slightly funny as well.

 

Grammar Nazi

How can you not like this little swashbuckling fella? So, you like him, yes? Well then, can you tell me why Grammar Nazis get so much hate? We’re just as swashbuckling as that little guy! Seriously, however…

Things that bug me about bad grammar is neither the occasional slip-up nor an honest mistake by someone communicating in an acquired language. No, it is when a native English speaker communicates in English, but is too lazy to either learn correct grammar, or to use correct grammar. When you try to argue with me using the old clichéd argument “Ugh, grammar is silly and unnecessary!”, you are only strengthening my low opinion of you. When a person with all the advantages in the world tells me that “I can’t be bothered to learn correct grammar”, it grinds across my raw nerves. Why? Because grammar is neither silly nor unnecessary. If there were no language rules – grammar – any attempts at communication would be mutually incomprehensible. If your grammar is incorrect, you will not be taken seriously within any mature circles.

But actually I cannot care whether you will wonder for the rest of your life why nobody takes you seriously. Why I actually get angry about people who cannot be bothered to get even the basics of English grammar correct is because… GUESS WHAT?! I am not a native English speaker!!! So if I can go to such an amount of trouble with my grammar in my acquired language that I have reached the point where am I bothered by the mistakes native speakers make in their language, why can’t you? Yes, you, you advantaged native English speaker who could have learnt English grammar with far less trouble than I had to through, if only you could be bothered.

 

Of course, I am human too, and I too make occasional mistakes in my grammar. But following below are a few basic grammar/spelling pointers, and I can guarantee you that I never make mistakes with these anymore. So, if you want to do me a favour, and you haven’t yet thrown your hands up into the air screaming “Oh, get a life! Why do you make it your business to be nit-picky over my grammar?”, learn the differences between these words. There is plenty of help for that on the internet – if your computer is too precious to leave and happens to be the reason why your language is suffering.

 

Grammar Nazi2

 

But there is not one English grammar mistake in this world that bothers me as much as… *drum roll here please*

 

The titanic battle between:

Grammar Nazi3

Yes, there is a difference. A big one:

“your” = possessive. It is used as an indicator that something belongs to you or someone else.

“you’re” = a contraction for “you are”. If you are not sure, try fitting “you are” in its full version into the sentence. If it fits Thumbs up! If it doesn’t, you know you’re wrong, and because you are not stupid you will then think whether your sentence has something possessive in it, and turn to “your” if so.

 

If all else fails, get a good grammar checker. Purr-lease? Nerd smile