Category Archives: Words

language of britain

Before I left everyone’s favorite query was either I would come back with a British accent or not.

My conclusion is that I shall not, though I play at it for fun. I’ve spoken American English (American Standard English, I flatter myself) for twenty-two and a half years; I’m not apt to forget it quickly. Plus, I’m an American, why would I want to pretend to be a Brit? I should never manage it anyway, since my nuclear team has a plethora of accents from around the Isle.

But there is pressure to conform.

Most quickly, I am absorbing different terminology.

Further than that, I noticed that I am adopting nuances of their sentence structures and “saying it as they’d say it”, if not just to be more accomodating.

“It was quite nice”. They seem to insert “quite” anywhere where a quantitative adjective is needed.

Basics, which you may already know:

Crisps are our chips. Here, pants are trousers, because as I discovered, “pants” here are what one wears under “trousers”. A redundancy means something like being let go from your job. Cling film is what we call Saran wrap or cling wrap

And get this, Band-aids here are plasters.

A bit more:

Apparently, “getting along like a house on fire” is a positive simile. “Are you winding me?” is the equivalent of pulling someone’s leg or the archaic “are you putting me on?”



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pleased as punch.

I had oft wondered the origin of this idiom. It wasn’t an uncommmon one around our household.

This morning, as I read Hard Times I ran across it. So it had to have been prevalent even before the mid-1850’s. Dicken’s work is rife with cultural references now out-dated, so my copy puts in little super-scripts and includes explanations for all of them at the end of the book.  They included on for this idiom as well.

“‘When Sissy got into the school here,’ he pursued, ‘her father was as pleased as Punch,’ ” was the sentence where it was used.

And in the back it said this:
“pleased as punch. In Punch and Judy shows, the puppet-hero repeatedly burst into self-congratulatory appluasse (usually after comitting some act of violence), so the phrase has taken on a proverbial status meaning to be excessively pleased with oneself.”

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Filed under Explaining things, Words

the “p” in dreamt

The other day, I was trying to spell “dreamt”.

In case you didn’t know, it’s spelled D-R-E-A-M-T.

I kept thinking there was a “p” in there somewhere. Say it. “Dreamt”. I said it over and over again, trying to figure out how to spell it without cheating and using spell checker, “Dreamt… Dre-amt… DREMpt.”

You can’t say it a bit of a “p” sound in between the “m” and the “t”. After pronouncing the “m” sound, you have to make a “p” sound to get your lips and tongue in the right place to prouunce the “t”. It’s virtually impossible to dodge that little puff of air known as our “p” sound.

Try it.

But be ye warned when you’re spelling it. There’s no “p”.


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total it up

Wycliffe calls their introductory linguistics and translation course Taste of Translation and Linguistics, or ,  TOTAL It Up!

It’s a week long course, covering anthropology, phonetics, phonology, grammar, translation, and literacy work. A few of my friends have taken it, and they said it was great.

Lord willing, I’ll be leaving my job about the same time in August, and I can take this during August before I leave for London the first of September. It’s about $200 to take the class, including room and board. I’m interested in linguistics and in continuing to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators, so I figure it’s worth a week and $200 to see if I could have a future with linguistics.

Linguistics is super-hard, though, and my mind got so dull with easy class the past two years. What kind of government jobs can you get being a linguist?

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Filed under Words, work, Wycliffe

“The World in Words”

I hope you don’t run into me within the next few days. If you do, prepare to hear at least one anecdote about my latest obsession, “The World in Words” podcast.

It seems to be hand-designed to interest me. I like everything they talk about, probably because they are talking about everything I like.

The podcast is all about languages.

The host is Patrick Cox. He’s talks about pidgins and creoles, language-learning trends, translation difficulties… It just too good. It’s put on by the BBC and Public Radio International (PRI). I first heard about it when Mr. Cox came to Wycliffe to interview Wycliffe USA’s president, Bob Creson.

I’ve downloaded all of the episodes I’ve missed and subscribed for future. Fortunately, it’s been broadcasting for a while, so it will be a week or two before I caught up and have to wait for the weekly installments.

Topic broadcasting simultaneously on {Mythopoetic}.

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Filed under mythopoetic, Words, Wycliffe

This one begins with a little quiz.


Digo.   Tira.   Guanano.   Mewkwaki.

These are:
a. the names of four cities in Guatemala
b. four types of plants in the Amazon
c. four ancient Mayan gods
d. the names of four languages

Your answer please.

Today at Wycliffe, they had a Scripture celebration. They dedicated Scripture for 11 different languages that were previously without any Scripture or what they had was little or poor.

One of these 11 was actually for a language in the continental US (didn’t know we had languages left here, did you?). They have completed several Scripture portions in the Meskwaki language, which is the language of the Algonquian people.

A lot of Algonquians live in the Iowa area, and the languages has just several hundred speakers today. Having the language written down and having literature in the language will help encourage literacy in the language and keep it from dying out.

This is just absolutely incredible. Thousands of people can now hear God speak to them in their own language through his Word.

That’s 11 down for Vision 2025!


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Filed under mythopoetic, Words, Wycliffe

“Da Jesus Book”

“God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat he wen send me, his one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus me no get cut off from God, but get da real kine life dat stay to da max foeva.”

Do you understand that? Do you recognize it?

It’s John 3:16 in Hawaiian Pidgin.

You might know it more along these lines: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

More, you clamor? Okay:

“So den, wat bout us guys? All dose peopo dat wen trus God befo time, jalike dey all wen run one race. An now, jalike dey all stay standing aroun us, watching us run da race, an showing us how fo do um. So we gotta gemo all dat stuff dat make us run slow, you know, dat bad kine stuff dat jam us all up. We gotta hang in dea an finish da race dat God wen pick fo us.” – Fo Da Hebrew Peopo 12:1

Five points to the person who can recognize this verse and put it into ASE (American Standard English).

Source: Da Jesus Book. Wycliffe Bible Translators. 2000.


Filed under Explaining things, Uncategorized, Words, Wycliffe