Well I thought I’d posted this earlier but no it went into the ether never to be seen again, so, frustratingly, here’s my second version….. Have you heard this one? An HMV voucher’s not just for Xmas; it’s for life. Ha ha! But it’s not so amusing if you’re one of the poor buggers who received them for Xmas and cannot now redeem them. Nor is it funny for the even poorer souls who spent good money buying these as presents and they are now worthless (I think there should be a law against companies simply declaring these things as unredeemable without any notice period). And it’s even less amusing if you are one of the 1000’s of unlucky sods who face unemployment now after working their rocks off up to and through the hectic Xmas period. How must that feel? Happy 2013 to all staff eh.
Have you nerticed the quirkyness of English? Not the people; the language. It’s the most significant on the planet and yet it is just about the most irregular, polyglot, rapacious (in its ability to borrow), adaptable, frustrating and evolving language mankind has ever known. Despite its influence it is almost certainly one of the hardest to master because of its many peculiararities. And we speak it every day and rarely trouble ourselves with its intricacies. But as regular readers will know that’s a dead cert subject for me to reflect upon. The Eurozone’s in crisis, austerity beckons and yet I about words when I ought to be hard at work. Take that word ‘work’. It’s innocuous isn’t it? As we all know it means to toil or be employed. But have you noticed how it is pronounced – like werk? Nothing funy on the face of it but look at a host of other words spelt the same way like pork, cork and fork. In dozens of cases it’s an ‘or’ sound in the middle. Why is work pronounced differently? Don’t you find it odd? And here’s something odder; there’s already a word beginning with a w and pronounced like ‘pork’ but it is spelled ‘walk‘. Interesting, the letters ‘al‘ as in ‘pale’ or ‘talc’ or ‘real’ are pronounced as ‘or‘? Is this what they mean by perfidious Albion? How on earth do foreign students ever grasp our language? But they do with seemingly apparently ease, and yet after 5 years in Italy, which has an almost perfectly constructed language, I probably know no more than 10 phrases and 100 words, sigh.