Author: carrie_wp

Divided by a common language?

Whether George Bernard Shaw actually uttered this much quoted phrase or not is of little importance.  What is indisputable is that there are some profound differences between British English and that spoken by our cousins across the Pond, that go far deeper than the superficial (but still hilarious) embarrassment of ‘pants’ for trousers and ‘panty Read More …

Semantic loss or how ‘shit’ turned into ‘stuff’

  Another great article by the phonologist and Guardian writer, David Shariatmadari1, gave an introduction to the fascinating phenomena of semantic bleaching and grammaticalisation. The former relates to the process whereby a word’s original meaning is reduced or lost altogether, and the latter to the way that, simultaneously, the word’s grammatical content increases. Force or Read More …

Why ‘reading the air’ is essential in Japan

In Japan the expression ‘kuuki yomenai’ (literally, someone unable to read the air) was added to the national lexicon a few years ago, perhaps in response to the influx of international company executives who were singularly unable to do so. Reading the air means to read between the lines by listening intently for implicit messages Read More …

Careless talk costs time. Who’s in control?

Is the preference for texting over talking causing a decrease in interpersonal communication skills on the phone and face-to-face? What has happened to the art of conversation? A recent article by BBC Technology1 features the concerns of several experts who warn that we’re in danger of losing our finely honed ability to indulge in vocal Read More …

Paranoia strikes

At first I thought it was my imagination. Then of course, I took it personally: ‘What did I do?’ Or conversely, ‘What didn’t I do?’ Had I been abandoned and relegated to the bottom of the friendship league? Next, I attempted to resuscitate the art of conversation by calling friends to indulge in that forgotten Read More …