More English language lunacy: pronunciation poem from 1922

Many thanks to my son Tom who found yet another incredible testament to the sheer lunacy of the English language, in a poem written back in 1922 by Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), a Dutch observer of English.

Poem about English language

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle, make the latter rhyme with eagle.

Trust a sensible, no-nonsense Dutchman to show us how ridiculous English can be…and I’m so glad to realise that it isn’t just me, but several other writers over the years, who have felt the same way.

Let me start the ball rolling here in 2018, with three areas of my home city, Milton Keynes, England:

Broughton (pronounced Brawton)
Woughton (pronounced Woofton)
Loughton (pronounced La-owton)

Enjoy…

Gerard Nolst Trenité – The Chaos (1922)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
   I will teach you in my verse
   Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse. [Read more…]

Why English is a lunatic language – listen, learn and laugh

Have you ever tried to explain to a non-native English speaker how pronunciations in English are, er, a little difficult to understand?

English language humour

I’m just going to stop here and let you laugh as hard as I did when I first listened to this…

Here follows the most delightful and funny exposé of English language lunacy that I’ve heard in a long time.

English language lunacy only needs a short introduction

[Read more…]

How to insult nicely in writing, with business jargon…

Jargon and slang as metaphors are wonderful tools to use if you want to insult or express rage in a business context without swearing or ranting.

business jargon and slang to use when youre angry

MBWA: Management By Wandering Around, suggesting that managers simply walk around rather than do their jobs properly…

Here is a selection for you to keep handy, excerpted from my jolly little book English Business Jargon and Slang…  [Read more…]

Know your business jargon and slang? Win a free mention and link on HTWB!

Do you know your business jargon and slang? Of course you do!

Get all 10 of these brain-twizzlers right and I’ll give your business a free plug

Business jargon and slangJust pick the right answers (no cheating or Googling, although I’ll forgive you if you buy a copy of my new book in which all the right answers appear…) [Read more…]

U.S. English vs. British English – What’s the Difference, Anyway?

“Two countries divided by a common language” … so said, allegedly, the great George Bernard Shaw. But is it true? San Francisco based freelance writer Laura Buckler shares her take on this evergreen debate, this time from an American’s point of view (rather than mine!) Here’s Laura…

US vs British English

The Brits are not the only ones to blame for changing the English language.

I spent a month in London. They mocked my English. In fact, a few people said I wasn’t speaking English at all. They said I spoke “American.”

Hey: I’m not angry. It was actually funny to see them laughing at my accent just as we laugh at Brits over here. [Read more…]

True-ish written facts about England in the 1500s…

It’s hard to know where humor starts and history leaves off here, but some of the following are ridiculous enough to be true. Click on the links to see what others have said about these popular sayings…

What did bringing home the bacon mean in the 15th century?

Do you “bring home the bacon” and then “chew the fat?”

Barely bathing
Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, next all the other sons and men, next the women and finally the children; last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it; hence the saying, [Read more…]

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