My latest article for The Week looks at a divide that not everyone is even aware is a divide: how people say the word succinct – and a few other cc words such as flaccid and accessory… and why there would be any divergence on the subject at all.
We have a paradoxical view of travel and time off in English. As I’ve already noted, we historically associated travel with unpleasantness. And yet we assume that significant time off will be spent away from home. In my latest article for The Week, I look at some of the other lexical paradoxes we have for leisure time:
Last week, I quipped on Twitter, “Says something that English and French looked at a Latin word for ‘torture’ and the English used it for travelling and the French used it for working.” The next day, my editors at The Week emailed to ask if I had a topic for an article for them this week or next, and I said… hmm, yes! It hit the internet today:
Why is it, exactly, that we use a word for decay (and not tooth decay, but decay of civilizations) for delicious chocolate and other treats? I knew you were wondering, so I wrote about it in my latest article for The Week:
“Tsk!” is a word that stands for something that isn’t a word that we use all the time because it’s not a word, but we mostly don’t use it for what we think we use it for. Here, let me explain in my latest article for The Week:
It’s been two and a half years since I last wrote an article for The Week. I’ve been meaning to get back into writing for them (meaning pitching articles to them and, when they greenlight a pitch – as they mostly do – writing it), and I’ve finally found the time and state of mind. This time around, it’s a topic that came up not so long ago on Twitter: the phrase “a fiction novel” – redundant or not? Read the article to get the goods:
My latest article for The Week is on accented characters, like ü and é. They’re not officially part of English spelling, but they just don’t go away. And in spite of some people’s uncoöperativeness, I don’t think they’re going to go away, either.
Patrick Neylan, Eeditor of business reports. Permanently angry about the abuse of English, maths and logic. Terms and conditions: by reading this blog you accept that all opinions expressed herein will henceforth be your opinions.
The Economist "Johnson" language blog
In this blog, named for the dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson, correspondents write about the effects that the use (and sometimes abuse) of language have on politics, society and culture around the world