My week has been punctuated erratically by the ping of my inbox informing me of the arrival of a draft document for editing or proofreading. I have spent several happy evenings with my green pencil* scribbling notations across freshly printed pages as I consider questions of punctuation.
Thanks to the Romans, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, the Vikings, and the French, English is an interesting and varied language happy to absorb new words and adapt to new influences. English has embraced words from around the world, and massively simplified the Germanic inflectional system of Anglo-Saxon.
And yet, I feel, there are still basic deficiencies in our language.
My daughter, Lyra, is learning a poem for a school poetry competition. She wanders around the house muttering lines and rhymes to herself, making up new ones when she forgets the original (which she often does).
Listening to Lyra’s evident enjoyment of the poem I began to wonder what it is about rhyme that we find so appealing.
Designing my first website this week, discussing blogs and the netiquette of cyberspace, got me thinking about how adaptable languages are. English offers so many ways to create new words. Continue reading