These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 23, 2006.
Thursday, 23 March 2006
In an earlier post I refer to the claim that using an unfamiliar word can increase your brain power. If this is true, my IQ has suddenly shot through the roof. In an article in today's Times there are a number of words which must be unfamiliar to most of us outside Norfolk. (That is Norfolk, England, of course. Very flat, as they say.) Like the made-up words in Round the Horne, they sound a bit rude but aren't. Here's the story:
WHEN Norfolk schoolchildren are tussling in the playground, the shout will no longer be: “That girl’s teasing me!”
Instead, a victim might say: “I’m having a little bit of squit alonga the mawther.” To add extra spite, the bully would be called “slummican great mawther” — a fat young girl.
Tired of the misconceptions about the way people in Norfolk speak and concerned that their dialect — now spoken by only older members of the community — is slipping into oblivion, an action group called Friends of Norfolk Dialect (Fond) has successfully lobbied for schools to teach an appreciation of the local tongue.
That should put some colour back into the cheeks of the fond lover.
The project, called Lost in Translation, which is supported by Norfolk County Council, has received £24,600 from the Local Heritage Initiative — an offshoot of National Heritage — and will be introduced in 11 schools from April...
Tim Groves, a teacher at Sheringham Primary, said that most children would have had contact with the dialect only through their grandparents, but that with exposure, it was easy to understand.
Well, I have been to Sheringham and one or two other places in Norfolk. It is, as they say, very flat. It is also cold, and appears to be in a time warp, but is none the worse for any of this. However, my trips would have been greatly enhanced by a knowledge of the local dialect. Here are a few handy phrases to help you get by in Norfolk:
Do we go play on the titty totty tittermatorter?
Let’s go and play on the very small see-saw
That angle is slantendicular/on the huh
That angle is not quite perpendicular/not straight
I’ve got suffin goin about. I’ve got the uppards and downards
I don’t feel well. I’ve got diarrhoea
I have a tizzick
I have a troublesome cough
He’yer fa’ got a dickey, bor?
A Norfolk greeting, literally: “Has your father got a donkey, boy?” The correct reply is . . .
Yis, an’he want a fule ter roid ’im,will yew cum?
Meaning “Yes, and he wants a fool to ride him, will you come?”
"Slantendicular" is a wonderful word, slicing right through the formality of the Latin-derived model and making it English and homely. Use it today, please. But why "uppards", in the context above? And as for the first one, I believe we have a rival to "gruntfuttock", but this one is real.
On the subject of "handy" words and phrases, here is an extract from a review of Rough Guide phrase books which tittered my torter something rotten. The review is entitled, "The Postillion Has Been Struck By Lightning":
This phrase has entered the language as a verbal eccentricity, the rather odd opening entry in one of the first published foreign language phrasebooks in Regency times. Perhaps it’s not as ludicrous as at first it seems. Consider, if you were doing the Grand Tour in 1800, rattling through some little Alpine mountain village, and a dreadful storm broke out, you might well want to tell the indigenous populace if a bolt from above had finished off your coachman.
I have a wonderful collection of phrase books. My favourite has to be a French one from the 1920s, which contains such memorable phrases as:
Do not starch my cummerbund.
This wine cooler has grit in it. Bring me another.
Polish my dancing pumps.
(Note the autocratic omission of ‘please’.)
Another great one is an Italian phrase book given to my uncle when he was in the army in Italy in 1944, which has these gems:
Please direct me to the German tanks.
This weapon is not loaded. (Bet that was a lie, whichever weapon he meant.)
I do not wish to come with you. (Another lie too, no doubt, in some circumstances.)
I shall dig a latrine here. (Let’s hope this was never used in the Vatican or La Scala, Milan.)
Posted on 03/23/2006 5:49 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 March 2006
William Saletan has a very silly article over at Slate this morning arguing that gay marriage shouldn't be threatened by the "hyperventilating conservatives" who see it as a gateway to polygamy. His reasons? That one on one relationships conform better to "human nature" and polygamy inherently unstable due to the jealousy factor.
If you're going to make the "human nature" argument one might extend that to gay marriage as well, seems to me, but the argument that polygamy is inherently unstable is completely specious.
Muslims have been practicing polygamy for 1400 years and Fundamentalist Mormons have been practicing polygamy continually in this country since the 1830s (that's 175 years). How much longer must they carry on in order to prove their stability? He claims,
"Women shared [note the past tense - RB] husbands because they had to. The alternative was poverty. As women gained power, they began to choose what they really wanted. And what they really wanted was the same fidelity that men expected from them.
"Gays who seek to marry want the same thing. They're not looking for the right to sleep around. They already have that. It's called dating. A friend once explained to me why gay men have sex on the first date: Nobody says no. Your partner, being of the same sex, is as eager as you are to get it on. But he's also as eager as you are to get it on with somebody else. And if you really like him, you don't want that. You want him all to yourself. That's why marriage, not polygamy, is in your nature, and in our future."
Gays may be seeking relationship stability through marriage, but it is unlikely they will find it there. Meanwhile, polygamy will continue so long as there are people who believe it to be divinely sanctioned.
Posted on 03/23/2006 10:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 23 March 2006
Nobody does it better - makes me feel sad for the rest. Ken Livingstones does it again!
With his suspension for insulting a Jewish reporter lifted pending appeal London's Mayor Ken Livingstone strikes again.
From This is Local London
LONDON mayor Ken Livingstone has defended his insult against two Jewish billionaires in a new racism row.
Yesterday he slated David and Simon Reuben, the businessmen behind the massive Stratford City development in east London a key part of the 2012 Olympic facilities.
"Perhaps if they're not happy they can always go back (to Iran) and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs," Mr Livingstone said during a press conference at City Hall.
The Reuben brothers are not Iranian, but were born in India from Iraqi Jewish parents.....
The Times picks up the story
Yesterday Mr Livingstone declined to apologise to the Reubens and instead flippantly said: “I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers. I wasn’t meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran.” He said he had not been aware the brothers were Jewish and from their names would have thought they were Muslims.
He thought two men named David and Simon Reuben were Muslim. Is he a complete fool, or is he so arrogant that he takes us for fools? The Times comment that he is a lout. I wouldn't argue with that.
I can't quite work out what the Brothers Reuben have, or have not done regarding the Olympic building project that is so heinous. They apparently own part of the Stratford City site which is integral to the Olympic developement. I remember Stratford City when it was Stratford market, a not very good market as street markets went, next to the bus station. This, by the way is Stratford atte Bow we are talking about, where Chaucer's Prioress came from. She who spoke bad French (which failing persists as I prove). Not Stratford on Avon where Shakespeare came from which is more scenic.
The Brothers Reuben, who were born in Bombay, came to the UK in the 1950s and started with a scrap metal business, may have reservations about the 40,000 capacity mosque (I was going to say seater, but that's not accurate, 40,000 prostrater perhaps) that is being planned. They may be holding out for the best price for their land. I don't know. I do know that it will bring a lot of disruption to the area and I don't expect it to bring permanent jobs of the sort that provide stability and long term prosperity.
London Assembly member Brian Coleman said Mr Livingstone's ayatollah jibe was his "latest anti-Semitic remark".
Suggesting that the Reubens, who are Jews, go to a radical Islamic regime in Iran was "shocking, outrageous and grossly offensive to the entire Jewish Community".
David and Simon Reuben.
Ken Livingstone. Would you buy a burnt out bendy bus from this man?
Posted on 03/23/2006 3:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax