Author Archive

  • Language is wine upon the lips

    Posted by on March 03, 2010

    One of my favourite quotes is by Virginia Woolf: ‘Language is wine upon the lips’ she said to her husband Leonard one evening, over a bottle of Blue Nun. What a lovely sentiment. Profound, enigmatic, erotic. Note what she did not say. She did not say: ‘Language is Dr Pepper upon the lips.’ Woolf made […]

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  • Nadsat and the power of slang

    Posted by on February 08, 2010

    There was me, that is Sarah, sat in front of the puter in my woolly toofles, after a hard day’s rabbiting, fagged and in need of a bit of spatchka, trying to gather together my messels and make up my rassoodock as to what slovos to write for this bloggywog. And I must confess, O […]

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  • Are you lovin’ it?

    Posted by on November 23, 2009

    If you’re an English grammar aficionado – and even if you’re not – brace yourself, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Actually, I think you should sit down for this; I’m going to break it to you in stages. You’re already sitting down? OK, you might want to clench your buttocks or squeeze an […]

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  • Why it pays to hedge your bets in English

    Posted by on July 01, 2009

    Hedges are essential for communication in English. Hedges are what keep Britain ‘Great’. Without hedges the social fabric of our nation would be torn apart; there would be constant brawling in post office queues across the land; co-workers would smash office chairs across each others backs; the banking system would crumble; our government would implode; […]

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  • Ich bin ein Smoggy: reclaiming regional pride

    Posted by on June 22, 2009

    A couple of weeks ago I was reminded both of my north-east roots and sociolinguistic theory in quite an unexpected way. While pottering around the house one Saturday afternoon, I heard a knock at the door. Standing there, tracksuited and trainered, was a young lad of about 18 with a large sports bag. He launched […]

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  • Buon appetito! Why are there no words in English to express my culinary triumph?

    Posted by on June 16, 2009

    It would be no exaggeration to say that I have a history of both triumph and tragedy in the kitchen. Delia Smith I am not. I don’t believe in recipes; I’m not going to be told what to do by all those egotistical, narcissistic celebrity chefs; I cook by my own rules. The result is […]

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