‘Words, Words, Words’

The title is the title of a book I have read, by David Crystal. A really interesting book for linguistics, language and etymologies of words.

Some of the things I made note of :

-Most frequent words

Screenshot from here

-‘Wordloans’

“A language has no life of its own. It exists only in the mouths and ears and hands and eyes and brains of its users.”

“English has borrowed words from over 350 languages around the world”

“..When we consider the way English is spreading around the world, and coming into increasing contact with other languages, one thing is certain: we ain’t seen nothin’ yet”

-‘Wordnaming’ – authors make up new words to name their characters

“Authors borrow words from the language for their character names. Then, if a character becomes really well known, the language borrows them back. We can now talk of a Romeo, a Shylock, a Fagin, a Scrooge, a Tarzan, a Lothario, an Artful Dodger, a Sherlock Holmes, a Man Friday. Characters can become adjectives: a Jekyll and Hyde character, a Big Brother attitude.”

-‘Wordbirths’

blinksync, noun, The guarantee that, in any group photo, there will always be at least one person whose eyes are closed

circumtreeviation, noun, The tendency of a dog on a leash to want to walk past poles and trees on the opposite side to its owner

hicgap, noun, The time that elapses between when hiccups go away and when you suddenly realise it’s happened

kellogulation, noun, What happens to your breakfast cereal when you are called away by a fifteen-minute phone call just after you have poured milk on it.

potspot, noun, That part of the toilet seat which causes the phone to ring the moment you sit on it.

-‘Wordfutures’

Winners from ‘The Guardian Text Message Poetry Competition’

“I left my pictur on th ground wher u walk

so that somday if th sun was jst right

& th rain didnt wash me awa

u might c me out of th corner of yr i & pic me up”

(Emma Passmore)

seasnd w msts n fruitlss mellwnss

n pungent smlls f grss ovr hay

we flp nto ponchos fr a mnts rest

n try nt t pln t rst f t day

(Graham Francis)

Jus left th clinic

bstrong cheri

arm ok no panic

need u 2 promis me

2 keep kissin

me left breast

cos baby nxt week

me right’ll b missin

(Peter Wroe)

-70 most beautiful words in English

In 2004 the British Council carried out a survey to celebrate their 70th anniversary. They asked over 7000 learners in 46 countries what they considered to be the most beautiful words in English.

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