Browsing All posts tagged under »French«

Numbers, Planets and One-armed Deities

May 3, 2011


You use them every day of your life, but did you know that every time you write in your diary, look at a calendar, arrange a date or look at a timeable, you’re opening up a world of numbers, mythology, celestial bodies and deities? This week I was on the Tube when I saw a […]

Laurent Gbagbo: as complex as his consonants?

April 11, 2011


It would appear Laurent Gbagbo is bound to be behind bars before too long, having been busted from his bunker. Like how I alliterated the [b]s in that sentence? Including Gbagbo? In French, and – in the case – so in English, Gbagbo is rendered as /bagbo/ – completely steamrollering the nicest linguistic feature of […]

Bahhhhrain, but not Frrrrrance. Why Anglicise selectively?

March 17, 2011


As the news swings back from earthquake- and tsunami-hit Japan, casting its gaze back on events in the Arab World, one of my favourite things about newsreaders is back on our screens. Ever notice how some people who read the news change accents when reading some foreign cities or names? If you have, you’re not […]

Call a spade a spade. And a trough a trough.

March 15, 2011


One of the joys of working where I do is that you are always having to explain idiomatic expressions, and work out the equivalent in the foreign language. If I looked up the history or etymology behind each one I’d never make it to the studio, but when my colleagues asked me for a translation […]

How Japan gave the world tsunamis

March 11, 2011


Today’s events in Japan will likely ricochet around the news for the next few days: as with events such as these, the death total will never be “final” as too many people will have been swept away – never to be found. The 8.8-magnitude (MW 8.8) earthquake hit just off the north-east coast, off Japan’s […]

Gesundheit! Yì Băi Suì! We all fall down.

February 28, 2011


One of the delights of moving to a new country is learning how to react to events in the local way, with all the things that come with learning a new language. What do you say, for example, if you stub your toe? Get a fright? Or smell something untoward? And my favourite, what you […]

Where art thou? Why we’re so chummy with God

February 22, 2011


I was at my granddad’s funeral the other day. (Don’t worry, this post will get chirpier.) It was terribly sad, of course, but as the ceremony went on, the atmosphere brightened as we remembered his life. At the end of the service came the unbiquitous Lord’s Prayer, and uh-oh… it’s the new-fangled one that just […]