Friday, February 23, 2007

Rite as yu spik

It's always good advice to 'write as you would speak'. Thanks to colleague Uwe Becker for this photo.

Affix affectation affliction

I don't think she'll mind me mentioning this because it was a triumph, but a group of us went to see (colleague and distinguished linguistics expert) Judy Delin's debut in stand-up comedy. She had some fun with the language you encounter on the tube ('Dogs must be carried', 'Use all available doors', 'Alight for the Royal Institute for the Blind').

What is it with railways and the word 'alight'. Do they get off (alight?) on quaint pomposity? And why don't they do the full Russell Brand? Alight from the carriage and perambulate towards the exit portal. Not forgetting to mind the gap and take all your personal belongings with you when you arrive in at the next station stop.

'Alight' has a distant cousin, 'affix'. For some reason, we stick stamps to personal mail, but affix them to business mail.