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2D: English’s quirks

The English language has very many strange quirks – some derived from the influence the languages of many different invaders over many millennia, others derived from rather more recent influences. I’ve chosen two articles to illustrate this.

The first is this article from BBC News which discusses the origins of one of my least favourite hackneyed metaphors: that of “battling” cancer. Their short but interesting discussion tracks this back to Richard Nixon’s “war on cancer”, but the fact that the BBC is discussing this use of language at all is almost more interesting than what they have to say.

The second article on language is almost a decade old, but only came to my attention very recently. It was written by Jack Winter for The New Yorker, and is called “How I Met My Wife“. To avoid spoiling the linguistic surprise, I’ll say no more than that!

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays – except the Wednesday in two weeks, which I’m skipping because it’s New Year’s Day. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them!

This 2,094th post was filed under: 2D.

Some recently published posts

‘Inappropriate’ A&E attendances / April 2019, 3 minutes long

Cruise ships and me / April 2019, 6 minutes long

Some thoughts on print newspapers / April 2019, 5 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / April 2019, 4 minutes long

Thoughts on the restoration of ex-BBC Television Centre / April 2019, 5 minutes long

Some random old posts

How – and more importantly, why – is Clarke still in office? / May 2006, 3 minutes long

Swinging for the first time / April 2005, 1 minute long

More Labour Spam / April 2005, 7 minutes long

Jerry Spinger: The Opera cleared by Ofcom / May 2005, 1 minute long

Gay engagement announced in Times / February 2005, 1 minute long

Criminally bad service? / August 2006, Less than a minute long


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