Posts tagged ‘English language’

May 3, 2015

The may-hem and the bed-lam caused by the hyphen

I have, you will no doubt recall, had need to question the pronunciation of the letter “W”. Not with regards to accuracy but with regards to length. You may recall my crazed, unreasonable and frenzied rant… er, I mean, my well argued and reasonable request that we get rid of the letter “W”. Or at least pronounce the letter “W” in a different way so that it doesn’t take up so much time – a perfectly reasonable idea, I am sure you will agree. And not the ravings of a madman. Really.

read more »

January 24, 2015

The letter “W” and why it must go

The worldwide web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in the early 90s. (No, you haven’t accidentally wandered into a History lesson – all will become clear as I progress. Actually “clear” may be a little too high as an objective. I will progress but clarity is never guaranteed.) Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for a WorldWideWeb (please note – all one word!) became reality and search engines appeared. Said search engines referenced websites with addresses beginning with “www”, short for world wide web. This looked fine on screen but what happens when you say it out loud? That’s “double u double u double u“. A total of NINE syllables. I get tired by the second “W”. Three of them is just too much. “Worldwide” (in my dictionary) is one word so the abbreviation for “Worldwide web” should really be “ww”. That would have been a 33.33% reduction in verbal effort. Or if he’d kept to WorldWideWeb as one word that would have been just “w”. But it was not to be. So “www” it wwwas.

read more »

December 7, 2014

The moviness of English and the stayiness of maths. Alright? All right!

The problem with English is it’s always moving. “English and Maths” are often lumped together as a pair but they are an odd couple. English likes to move with the times, she’s hip and groovy, she’s down with the kids. Right on. Maths is still wearing that brown corduroy jacket with elbow patches.

When I was at school, “alright” was not alright. Mr Wright – which is a great name for a teacher and has an almost Dickensian fitness for purpose here – was my English teacher. He told me that “alright” was not acceptable. It has just occurred to me that if his first name had been Alan then Al Wright would be telling me that “alright” is not all right. Indeed.

read more »