Monthly Archives: March 2019

Tempura, vindaloo, and other Portuguese foods

My latest article for The Week is about foods that are generally considered emblematic of the cultures we associate them with, but actually carry names that show their true origins in quite different cultures:

10 signature foods with borrowed names

 

A post in praise of long titles for books, in which I clarify “long,” give luxuriant examples, describe the function, compare with lengthy titles in other spheres of life, dismiss objections both silly and obnoxious, and cap off with further examples

Some people dislike the long titles that many old books had. They scorn them or laugh at them.

I rather enjoy them.

In fact, I find them relaxing. I’ve encountered a couple just recently that really eased my nerves. Continue reading

The Dock on Queen St.

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Homey, if your home has a canoe hanging from the ceiling

Listen to the audio of this on Patreon. You really should, you know. It’s free and everything.

Nostalgic for the lakelands of cottage country? Wish you were sitting on the dock of the bay? Or perhaps you just want wood floors, wood tables, old-school wallpaper, comfy padded chairs, and a place that clearly has musical performances at the back some evenings and weekends? Obviously, you need to go to Queen East. There are plenty of coffice spaces in this stretch east of the tracks, and each one has its own variation. This one’s the cottage-style one. Its owners are from Sudbury. And you can sit in here and almost imagine you’re not in Toronto – just sit near the back and don’t look towards the window. Continue reading

Special characters and diacritical marks

I’ve recently done a presentation and a webinar on handling words from other languages in English context. (If you’d like me to present it – or another topic – for your organization, ask about my availability!) For it, I created a handout that’s a handy reference for word people. I’ve decided to make it available for everyone. So here it is!

Special Characters and Diacritical Marks

Who “r” you?

My latest article for the BBC is on “r” – that sound we make in many different ways, and sometimes not at all, depending on who we are and where we’re from. It has a very interesting history, and not just in English!

What a single sound says about you

 

exply

If you imply something, it’s implicit. If you comply with something, you’re complicit. So why don’t we say you exply something if you make it explicit? I hereby decide and declare that henceforth it shall be so. You can now say “Don’t make me guess what you mean! Just exply it!” Of course, then we’re on our way to saying replies are replicit, which I’m also fine with. And don’t say we already have explain and explicate. Look, implicate isn’t the same as imply and replicate isn’t the same as reply. And complain, complicate, and comply are three different things. Continue reading

Pronunciation tip: Kilkenny

I first learned the name of this city in southeast Ireland from a limerick (ironically). Then I knew it as the name of an ale. Then, for some reason, I started hearing people say it as though it were a modified version of Kokanee, with the stress on the first syllable.

People. People. Here is how to say it, for heaven’s sake. Also how to drink it.

Oh, and for more Irish pronunciation tips, see Pronunciation tip: Sláinte, Céad míle fáilte and Pronunciation tip: more Irish.