Link love: language (7)

Back in 2002, Ian Mayes introduced the apostrofly.

Two years and two months later, it returned.

I’ve been hearing a lot about eggcorns lately.

An editor’s haiku.

Is that really a question mark in your name, Professor Smith?? [via]

Language and prehistory.

Let’s not Rumsfeld Afghanistan.

Are you a cancelmoose?

Everybody loves their Jane Austen: an anti-pedantry page.

Eating crow, humble pie, one’s hat, and other indigestibles.*

Eddie Izzard, le “travesty exécutif”.

[more link love]
* Post edited to include this link.

8 Responses to Link love: language (7)

  1. The problem of differentiating oneself from all the other Smiths was probably best solved by P.G. Wodehouse, with his ‘Psmith’. ‘Smith?’ is a good approach, but a little too overtly attention-seeking.

    And thanks for the entertaining list of links!

  2. Stan says:

    Mise: You’re welcome! “Psmith” was a good solution which I had forgotten all about. I hope for Professor Smith?’s sake that his innovation has brought him more amusement than hassle. His web page shows a healthy sense of humour, and since he studies zombies he is probably prepared for apocalyptic levels of confusion.

    Given the prevalence of uptalk in Australian English pronunciation, I wonder whether Smith?’s Australian background played a decisive part in the name change.

  3. Claudia says:

    My grandfather (a fisherman from Petite Rivière, Gaspé, Québec, Canada) was Thomas Smith. He couldn’t speak a word of English. The story goes that, at one point, some Scottish fishermen ventured, far away from home, on the St-Lawrence waters, and stayed put in the small village. Lots of little Smiths (?) were born. Some intermarried. The Gaspé people had a very dictinctive, original French language. But none could pronounce the th of the Smith’s name. It was simply Smit. My mother told me that to differentiate the many Smith’s families, they put a number after the name. Smith 1, 2, 3…and so on. My grandfather was Thomas Smith 12. Didn’t work with the big Governement, of course. But it worked locally. Many of them (including my grandfather) couldn’t read and write. But they certainly could count. By the hundreds, and the thousands, when it was time to get paid for the number of fish they brought in. Easy to read: Smith 12, 2000 poissons. Easy to argue too, if the Company would miss the count by 15.

    When I was 4, my granfather, then in his 80s, and blind, came to live with us, in Montréal. At bedtime, he would tell me his fishing stories. I would listened fascinated, and was mesmerised by his extended big arms and his now-curved fingers, calculating the catch. That much meant 2000, and his fingers would add the 15, the 20, the Company would be trying to ignore. “Y m’ont jamais eu, les salauds. J’te dis que Smit Douze connaissaient ses poissons. Y vivaient avec moé dans l’bateau nuits et jours.”

    Pépère Thomas Smit(h) 12. Mon héros et mon protecteur. Le meilleur compagnon que j’ai jamais eu. I still miss him…

  4. Claudia says:

    Good links, Stan. Thanks. Travesti exécutif was funny. And so true. It’s the way we were learning English at school. Trying to fit in our limited vocabulary in the conversation. Watched a couple more of Eddie Izzard’s French efforts. His accent is very good.

  5. Stan says:

    Claudia: Merci pour cette histoire merveilleuse et amusante! Ton grand-père a l’air vraiment remarquable. Et quelle compétence, calculer la pêche complete (je peux dire ça?) seulement avec les yeux et les bras.

    Smith 1, 2, 3… reminds me of a friend’s story about a family in Donegal who were known locally as “The Taes”, “tae” being the Irish for tea. I don’t know their real surname. They were renowned for the quality of their tea and the frequency with which it was served. Each member of the family was named thus: Annie the Tae, Jimmy the Tae, and so on. Unless I am conflating their story with another, two brothers were twins with the same first name, which led to lifelong mischief.

    Izzard’s comedy routines can be funny. I think one of the many reasons Irish people like him is that we are a nation of exaggerators, and Izzard exaggerates with considerable skill and flair.

    [Corrections, at your request: the Smith’s name & the many Smith’s familiesSmiths’; Governement; grandfather; I would listened.]

  6. Claudia says:

    Oui, Grand-Père était remarquable. Longtemps après sa mort, ma mère m’a révélé que la Compagnie ne comptait pas les poissons, elle les pesait. Alors ses 2015 poissons était une histoire de pêcheur, comme on entend souvent. Le plus gros poisson est toujours celui qui s’échappe! J’ai bien ri, et l’ai aimé encore davantage. J’ai écrit mes souvenirs à son sujet car il a rempli mon enfance de magie et d’amour.

    Sean wrote a beautiful poem Her Voice, His Eyes. (April 7-2009) I was very moved by the memories it brought back. As I explained, in the comments, that’s what I had been for my blind grandfather.

    Thank you for the corrections. Very difficult to pluralise names. I don’t see the mistake in governement?

    Oui, tu peux dire la pêche complète. Ne pas oublier l’accent sur le è.

    Funny Taes!….

  7. Stan says:

    Le plus gros poisson est toujours celui qui s’échappe!

    C’est vrai ça, et ce gros poisson pousse avec le temps! Je suis content que tu as écrit tes souvenirs, mon amie: ces mémoires sont précieuses. Le poème de Sean et très beau et touchant, et il a dévoilé un rapport intéressant avec ta propre histoire.

    In English, government has no ‘e’ between ‘n’ and ‘m’. I could not underline the letter so I used italics and strikethrough, but the effect was not very conspicuous.

  8. […] the apostrophantom In previous posts I have mentioned the apostrofly, described in the Guardian style book as “an insect that lands at […]

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