This is an unusually personal and serious post for Glossophilia, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it takes to be a good editor. Over the past year or so I’ve been editing my late father’s diaries, as well as discussing with my family the words that will mark his gravestone. Both experiences — especially in such an emotionally-laden context — have made me reflect more on what a delicate and important process the editor’s job is. As a professional editor of nearly 35 years, in a world that’s driving this particular role/profession towards sure and imminent extinction, I’m aware of and keen to expound the value an editor brings to our world of communication. It’s a complex job that goes far beyond just the nuts and bolts of linguistic proficiency. Here’s my take on it.
It’s Guy Fawkes Day, and here’s the rhyme we all know (followed by two of its predecessors). Remember remember! Continue reading
Are you familiar with the phrase “going by Shanks’ pony” — and do you know where it originates? If you’re American you might know it as Shanks’ mare … Continue reading
No world leader can trump Trump in the high stakes world of grammar and spelling errors. But Boris Johnson came fairly close when he flubbed one of the three letters he sent to Brussels a few days ago — and it was in the letter he actually signed that he made his gaffe (so you can’t wriggle out of this one, BoJo). Read it here and see if you can spot the mistake:
Today is National Poetry Day in the UK, and the national day’s theme this year is “Truth”. To celebrate, Glosso presents two poems by British poet Marc Woodward — both of which address this year’s theme with searing and witty relevance. The first poem is a “golden shovel” — a poetry form invented by the US poet Terrance Hayes in which all the poem’s line-ending words, put together in order, form the line of another existing poem. Woodward’s poem An Egret In Jerusalem speaks for itself, but by way of a brief introduction: historically egrets used to migrate to England from the continent, but since the 1970s they have gradually become residents of the island nation. The second poem, also relevant in today’s Great Britain, plays on King Henry II’s infamous line “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, which he is said to have uttered over Christmas in 1170 with dramatic consequences. Enjoy both poems: we’ll be hearing more from Marc on Glosso’s pages in the future. Continue reading
Hurricane Florence makes landfall / Wikimedia CommonsHurricane names are curious — they’re often so strangely obscure. How are they named, and who names them? Why do they have names at all? And is there ever a downside to naming these mega-storms? It might not be good news for a few sorry souls … Continue reading
What’s the difference between a capitonym and a homonym? Is a capitonym a type of homonym? Or is it something else entirely? Read on to find out more … Continue reading
There’s a new novel out, published earlier this month, that will probably appeal to glossophiles (and Glosso-philes) everywhere. Describing itself, as books can do proverbially these days, the novel by best-selling author Cathleen Schine “celebrates the beauty, mischief, and occasional treachery of language.” Continue reading