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…]

Happy Hanukkah: hope it give us peace and love

To all our Jewish friends, here’s hoping you’re enjoying a peaceful and restorative Hanukkah.

Hanukkah celebration on HTWB

Happy Hanukkah!

At this time of the year there are a number of religious and other festivals, and it’s right that – as we honour all such festivals – we honour Hanukkah, with its lovely story that can inspire us for greater hope, light, peace and tranquility.

All qualities we need to cling on to even more in these turbulent, troubled times.

This year Hanukkah ends on the evening of Monday (December 10th, 2018), but for now…

Happy Hanukkah!

 

 

What NOT to write to cancer patients – please

Having had cancer twice myself, I cringe sometimes at the comments well-meaning people write on social media to a friend or acquaintance who is “battling” cancer. Encouraged by the tabloid media who love to dramatise cancer even more than it deserves, with “gruelling treatments,” “terrifying surgery,” “fighting for their life” and other exaggerated clichés, commenters tend to turn someone’s cancer journey into World War 3.

how not to write to cancer survivors

Much as the media love these terms, we cancer survivors never talk about “cancer-free” or “all-clear.” With cancer, you learn never to think “never.”

Some comments that may not do as much good as you’d like, and why …

“You’re strong – you’ll beat it!” Unfortunately cancer doesn’t discriminate about who it hits – it can occur in the fittest of athletes as easily as it can in someone who is physically weak. [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving, USA!

Have a wonderful Holiday!

Thanksgiving greetings

 

Be careful when carving the turkey…Cartoon about Thanksgiving

 

And don’t go too wild on Black Friday!

Thanksgiving article

 

 

What to write to someone who is depressed

This article is not about the professionals’ answers on how to deal with depression. It’s about how we as ordinary people should react when faced with a friend or family member who is dealing with it: the professionals are the next step, if necessary. In the meantime, how can we help our friend appropriately?

How to handle depression in a friend

The most important thing to your friend at this point is just to know you’re there for them

What about your initial response to a friend who is depressed?

[Read more…]

Remembrance Day 2018

November 11th 2018

For all who fell, and for all who served

Remembering my grandfather, Major Crawford Mack Hercus, who served with the Canadian Forces in northern Europe in World War One

Remembering my father, Captain Crawford MacGregor Hercus, who served with the Canadian Forces in northern Europe in World War Two

Remembering my mother, Jacqueline Forgan-Potts Hercus, who served with the Resistance Movement in northern Europe in World War Two

They survived, but so many of their colleagues didn’t.

Now my relatives are gone, too.

May they and all who served with them

rest in peace, and may we always be grateful

for their bravery, devotion to duty and

determination to protect us from evil.

Sz xx

 

css.php