Saturday, May 3, 2008

Finding more of your words now. You have just hidden the very best ones in your children's books.


  1. Did you find tabitha twitchet yet?

  2. Fancy a currant bun then?

    I don't know what it is, but i've always found "Beatrix Potter" to be an immensely satisfying name, phonetically speaking.

    "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" will acquaint you with two more well-loved Britishisms: the semicolon and the hyphen!! Tool-shed, scare-crow, rabbit-hole, and home is where the big fir-tree is.

    Depending on your copy you might also notice the somehow-British predilection for putting a space between a word and an exclamtion point !

  3. You can read several of the stories online though some of them are a little obscure.

    That's interesting grumpus, about the space between a word and two-part punctuation marks. I've only ever seen that in French.

    So Max, what words do you want to know about? They all look perfectly normal to me ;)

  4. For me, the illustrations made the story so real. I loved these books when I was little. Read them to my own idiots when they were growing up.

  5. there's a very good film about Beatrix Potter, with Renee Zwelleger and Ewan McGregor. she had quite an interesting life.

  6. Caroline, you said Twitch was DEAD. You are sending me mixed signals here! Which is it? Dead from pigeon abuse? Or alive for me to find? :)

    Grumpus, I think I have decided to investigate Beatrix Potter (as well as a gentleman called Roald Dahl.) At least I have decided to order some books. I am still reading Enid Blyton. It occurs to me that I seem to be doing everything you tell me to do, Grumpus. Is that how you extraterrestrials begin to dominate Earth people's minds? Just askin'. It seems to be working. (Don't stop!) :)

    A., First, thank you for publicly admitting that you think I really can read. I appreciate that. But you bring up a point that is more serious. One that I have been making since I started this blog and which I haven't been able to get across to you British folk.That is, when I read an American version of a book, all of the words seem normal, even if you would find many weird words and ways of saying things if YOU were to read the same book. Conversely, I simply MUST be reading British versions if I am to see the words jump out at me. You, or any other Brit, cannot do that for me. This is because your impossibly crazy words look perfectly normal to you. That is why I am glad you people are FINALLY starting to suggest reading material to me. My list of words has grown ENORMOUSLY in the last 10 days. Of course, Grumpus sensed this from the very beginning, as one would expect from an empath not of our planet. And I have been following her advice from the beginning. Quiky as it may be at times... :)

    Ettarose, you were never little. You were BORN sexy. Stop trying to be modest. :)

    Marmelade, how do you know so much about so many things? You blow me away. Just when I think I have SOME of you figured out, you humble me again. You are MUCH too cool and hip (and young!) to be knowing about Beatrix Potter. And yet, here you are, knowing about her. I will see if I can find that movie. If you see it somewhere online to buy, send me the link. And thanks! <3

  7. To all: And that brings up another point. Stop dumbing down your responses to me so that an American can read them, ok? Speak to me, in your comments, as if you were talking to someone who was British. Let me come back and say, "What does THAT mean?" Your comments should be a good NATURAL source of words to me, but, instead, I know you are often using American terms to me that you think I will understand better. Claire does this to me a lot. Of course, she thinks I am just a.... Well! I think we ALL know what Claire thinks of Max, don't we? :)

  8. Reading Roald Dahl will be one of the best things you ever did. Trust!

  9. Grumpus, so I've heard, and am still hearing from several people. We'll see. I am impressed by things most ladies don't think about, though. Such as the fact that he had enough on the ball to make Patricia Neal marry him.

    Of course, he wasn't able to KEEP her. So there's that. But I suppose you were probably talking about WRITING. Wasn't he Norwegian, though? Hey, I've got a friend in Norway. Maybe she'll stop by and tell me if she knows about him. Doubt it. I mean, I doubt she'll stop by. I KNOW she knows him. Come around anyway, S.

    Thanks for the support Grumpus. If you truly recommend him, I will read him. Before, all I had was the lush's recommendation. Ummmm...did I say that out loud???

    By the way, I hear she's working up a serious post right now. I have never seen C. do a serious post. I would recommend you go read it and give her your support. She has supported all of you, now it's your turn to give back.


    max, that's the movie in the link upstairs. you hold me in such high esteem for no reason. i only watched it because of Ewan McGregor :-) but i ended up loving it.

  11. I don't care why you watched it. I'm jealous, but I still hold you in high esteem. :)

  12. Marmelade, thank you for the link. I think I will get it. I will throw darts at Ewan. But I will get it. :)

  13. It's not a deliberate dumbing down you know, when we use Americanisms. They are creeping steadily into everyday language.

    People, including myself, tend to laugh at French attempts to keep their language "pure" but there is a lot to be said for trying to preserve a culture.

  14. A., I guess there are two sides to everything. I, for example, am of the belief that languages have a life of their own and it is ridiculous to try and control the direction they grow. If the French are successful, that success will ironically mark the death of their language. Or at least a severe stunting of its growth.

    Several American states have passed so-called "English Only" laws. But what can they really do? Not much except insist that all government forms be printed in English. But that won't stop people in those states from speaking other languages, or from words from other languages creeping in.

    One's culture is, in my opinion, not simply a matter of preserving the past intact. Culture changes. Cultures evolve. I have as much right to input on my culture as my grandfather had.

    Whenever I read about the various states passing such laws, or of France insisting that only French be used, I always think of Orwell's Big Brother society. In fact, the very title of this blog is a tongue-in-cheek theft from Orwell's "double-speak".

    There is (my opinion, of course) a great difference between romantic memories of Glorious France, and the reality of living in today's society. Culture is not so much to be preserved as to be experienced, I say.

  15. OK, or I should say "all right", I phrased that badly. I entirely agree that only a dead language doesn't evolve so perhaps I should say protecting a difference.

    Many of the problems the French see are the result of the sheer economic power of the anglophone world forcing their films and songs on them. French culture could very rapidly be lost if they didn't have some help for their home-grown efforts, and they do produce some excellent films for example, but they just don't have the backing to distribute in the same way as a Disney for instance. That may change - I was so pleased to see La Vie en Rose winning so many awards.

    The "English only" states I assume are reacting to a large immigrant population? I wouldn't say they were trying to stop people speaking their own language or prevent words creeping into common usage, rather that they are trying to make sure everyone can speak English and so integrate better.

    Or am I being naive? I am certainly being verbose ;)



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