Language in Peril (the other one)

September 16th, 2008 No comments

A RECENT headline in [The Irish Times] read “Grealish speculation upsets PDs”.
An alien with good English picking up The Irish Times and seeing this declaration could reasonably wonder, what sort of speculation is that? Something between grisly and relishing? Used in this way the name of the PD’s wandering star comes across as something out of Lewis Carroll, oh frabjous day, oh slithy tove, for we had come over all grealish.

The perplexed alien would assume that this was another new word, perhaps a mutant, and if he tuned in to a), a radio business forum, or b), some trendy indie blogger, he would soon come across grealish and maybe, just maybe, be able to work out its meaning. For we live in a world where not only is language subject to fantastic bursts of fashion, but tech talk and, most vitally, US-speak direct us along peculiar cul-de-sacs of communication. Read more…

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Still Hanging On

May 6th, 2008 Comments off

On Royalty, by Jeremy Paxman, Viking, 384 pp, £20.00, ISBN: 978-0670916627

Published Dublin Review of Books (www.drb.ie) 2008

By now many newspaper readers in these islands will know that the Duke of York is allergic to cats. The news emerged during the visit of the duke, aka Prince Andrew, to Dublin in February. Andrew, his entourage and various pillars of Irish society had been invited to dine at the British ambassador’s house. But when it emerged that, apart from the ambassador, other permanent residents of the establishment included one or more cats, panic ensued until a suitable feline-free alternative venue could be found. Read more…

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