Saturday, October 13, 2007

hmm, ugh, grr (or, what the dickens?) By A Lady

I don't know, all that lovely new stash to play with and I get distracted by English Literature and Ancient Languages , a book that Graham had left lying on the bedroom floor whilst he was outside hosing the septic tank (sorry, you didn't really need to know that bit).

The section that caught my attention was a discussion of the use of monosyllables and words of Anglo Saxon origin, which might sound dry as dust but contains some hugely entertaining nuggets.

Did you know, for instance, (and I certainly didn't, despite far too many years spent studying Eng Lit!) that we have Charles Dickens to thank for the following words and phrases:
butterfingers, the creeps, in the same boat, round the corner? Or that Browning "introduced hmm and ugh into non-dramatic verse .... and grrr into literature"?

And whilst we're on the subject of books, if you were travelling between Finsbury Park and Cambridge last night and saw a madwoman alternately crocheting and laughing out loud over Mrs Gaskell's Cranford, that would have been me! Yarnstorm (or, more precisley, her Gentle Art of Domesticity) made me go and buy a book I had hitherto avoided like the plague. Cranford is a wonderfully bizarre and entertaining novel, with lots of knitting and retail references. It is also a very slender volume, which means it slips neatly into the handbag whilst leaving room for yarn and hooks. Bliss.

(Incidentally, if you've been tempted to get your own copy of The Gentle Art of Domesticity, or are thinking of requesting it from Santa Claus, Amazon have it at a bargain price at the moment. (Yes, of course, Santa reads Amazon wishlists). (You can tell I've got a high temperature this evening, can't you? Grrr and Ugh.)

1 comment:

vintage twist said...

I'm fascinated by thses little gems on the origin of the English language eg. did you know that Churchill's famous "fight them on the beaches" was pure Anglo Saxon? The only word that did not come from the Anglo Saxon was "surrender", the Anglo Saxons didn't have that word it came over with the Normans in 1066.