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Picture of Richard English
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We have one chain over here, Marks and Spencer, that has always done that. It's fairly up-market though and it's the only store that I've ever seen which uses that wording on their checkouts. All the rest have "... or less".

My local Safeway (now Morrisons) have had the correct wording for some years. They have also been the recipient of my pedantic wrath in some of their other signage including:

"Safeway - The Baker's" (the baker's what, I wonder?)

And:

"Customers over the age of 21 will only be served on a Saturday"

What they meant, of course, was that customers under the age of 21 would not be served on Saturdays - though why they didn't say so I cannot imagine. They changed it when I wrote to them.


Richard English
 
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I thought it had been a little while since I managed to log on but now that I see all the new threads it feels like I've been away for about a year!!

I have to confess that some things do bother me in the misuse of English but I'm not as fussy as many on the board. I think that may be because my Degree is in literature as opposed to language. I did complete one language course and it bored me to tears. I generally prefer subjects where there is no right or wrong answer, just grey areas for debate. Having said that, I hate sentences that start with connectives such as 'and'. Other pet hates are the confusion surrounding 'rob' and 'steal', though that may be due to the area in which I live. I can probably say the same for people who drop the 'H' in words. My wife is from Manchester and she does it all the time despite my best efforts to correct it Mad

despite these quirks on my part, I'm generally flexible to a degree as I think that there is some truth in the argument that if enough people use language in a particular way it will become correct. I know that sounds very lax of me but it seems to me that this argument could be used to justify things like American English. We have all been able to cite examples where our use of language differs and American language is still correct because lots of people speak it. I grant you that this is quite a simplified argument but I'm you get my point.
 
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Picture of Caterwauller
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I think that the difference in how much a person goes on about poor grammar, and their "need" to correct people around them is more an indication of their temperament than their educational field.


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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"Customers over the age of 21 will only be served on a Saturday"
That reminds me of the famous London Underground sign, "Dogs must be carried on the escalator." That gives rise to visions of people scurrying around trying to borrow a dog so that they are allowed on the escalator. Smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I can probably say the same for people who drop the 'H' in words. My wife is from Manchester and she does it all the time despite my best efforts to correct it Mad



Awwwww, a veritable 'enry 'iggins, 'e is! Wink

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In fact, the dropping of the initial "h" is delored primarily by the "middle classes". In the upper echelons of society it is not uncommon - as I remember very well when I heard a very "country" lady exclaim, "...I don't like the way these young gels wear these "pony tels". They make their 'eads look like an 'oss's harse"


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
In fact, the dropping of the initial "h" is delored primarily by the "middle classes". In the upper echelons of society it is not uncommon - as I remember very well when I heard a very "country" lady exclaim, "...I don't like the way these young gels wear these "pony tels". They make their 'eads look like an 'oss's harse"


I must be "fraightfully country" then, because I drop the initial "h" most of the time, especially when I'm excited. I stammer too and if I'm really excited or upset I can't speak at all Frown.

I tend to be a much sloppier speaker than I am a writer, mostly because I now have short-term memory problems and need to get my words out before I forget what I'm saying (I often stop halfway through a sentence because I can't remember what I was talking about Frown). This isn't so much of a priority when writing because I can see what's gone before.
 
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Picture of arnie
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Interestingly, "people of learning" would drop the initial "h" in a number of words, such as "hotel". It was always "an 'otel", not "a hotel". "Herb" is another word that was afforded this treatment. That practice appears to be dying out, thankfully.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I must be "fraightfully country" then, because I drop the initial "h" most of the time, especially when I'm excited. I stammer too and if I'm really excited or upset I can't speak at all Frown.


Here in the USA we have a brand of women's undergrments called "(H)aines for (H)er". Are THOSE the "H"s you drop when excited? It must be quite a spectacle! Big Grin

quote:
I tend to be a much sloppier speaker than I am a writer, mostly because I now have short-term memory problems and need to get my words out before I forget what I'm saying


You aren't alone in that, Dianthus! Been dropped on my noggin myself! Two university diplomas and I'm fixing lawnmowers for a living! Frown
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
In fact, the dropping of the initial "h" is delored primarily by the "middle classes". In the upper echelons of society it is not uncommon


It is also very common amongst the working classes. I assure you that my wife is not from the 'upper echelons' but then, she is from Manchester, so how could she be Wink
 
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Originally posted by Asa Lovejoy:
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Here in the USA we have a brand of women's undergrments called "(H)aines for (H)er". Are THOSE the "H"s you drop when excited? It must be quite a spectacle! Big Grin


No, you really would not want to see that - not with my figure Frown.

You aren't alone in that, Dianthus! Been dropped on my noggin myself! Two university diplomas and I'm fixing lawnmowers for a living! Frown[/QUOTE]

I know the feeling Frown. I've got a BA in English and I got halfway through a Master's in IT (I had to drop out because of ill-health) and I cleaned hospital wards for seven months, then spent four and a half years in a law firm typing details of dead people into a database all day and every day for a few pence over the minimum wage Frown.
 
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Picture of Richard English
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It is also very common amongst the working classes. I assure you that my wife is not from the 'upper echelons' but then, she is from Manchester, so how could she be

Actually I meant to imply that it was common amongst the lower and upper classes, but deplored by the middle classes. Sorry if I didn't make this as clear as I might have.


Richard English
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I meant to imply that it was common amongst the lower and upper classes, but deplored by the middle classes. Sorry if I didn't make this as clear as I might have.


So what would Hyacinth Bucket (That's pronounced "Bouquet") say? Big Grin
 
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Originally posted by Asa Lovejoy:
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I meant to imply that it was common amongst the lower and upper classes, but deplored by the middle classes. Sorry if I didn't make this as clear as I might have.


So what would Hyacinth Bucket (That's pronounced "Bouquet") say? Big Grin


Many people who habitually "drop their aitches" and are trying to "talk posh" usually insert them in inappropriate places instead so they would say something like "'ave you hany" for "have you any".
 
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generally I don't like to get too proscriptive about language, but I HATE -and hear all the time!- 'should of/would of' etc...it's not OF, it's HAVE! grrr..lol xxx
 
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I overheard (i.e. shamelessly earwigged) a fascinating conversation on the bus yesterday. The girl sitting next to me was asking a male friend if he thought her boyfriend would appreciate a pair of 'errings for his birthday. Only when it transpired that said 'errings were silver and came from Debenhams (a department store not noted for selling fish) did I realise that she was talking about earrings. Mostly her accent was pure London, but the 'errings and a description of her top as being "turkwise" (turquoise) aren't standard for London at all...

Ros
 
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Picture of BobHale
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Originally posted by hepburn26:
generally I don't like to get too proscriptive about language, but I HATE -and hear all the time!- 'should of/would of' etc...it's not OF, it's HAVE! grrr..lol xxx


Depending on your accent it can be impossible to hear the difference would've and would of but I used to have a colleague who always WROTE "would of". As he was writing reports that had to go to some quite high ranking police officers we always had to go through them and fix them afterwards.

That REALLY annpoyed me.

And BTW, welcome hepburn26.
 
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My computational linguistics professor last semester made a point that if we used hapax legomena when we meant hapax legomenon, he would take off a point on our test. I thought that was a bit harsh, but we were taking linguistics, so we should do such things right.
 
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Originally posted by Seanahan:
My computational linguistics professor last semester made a point that if we used hapax legomena when we meant hapax legomenon, he would take off a point on our test. I thought that was a bit harsh, but we were taking linguistics, so we should do such things right.


I'd never encountered either of those terms, so I had a Google and found this definition.

I've just found these instructions on how to search for hapax legomena in the online OED.

Also this, which analyses Orwell's 1984 as translated into Lithuanian.

I thought I had a good vocabulary, but I had to keep a window in my online dictionary wide open when I read this one. Some of the words in that article don't appear in any dictionary (eg vibgyoric), but a quick Google sent me down a very interesting sidetrack and I found this, with its Google description: "For instance, VIBGYOR denotes a mixture of seven essences. (From the book: „Schätze
der Alchemie: Edelstein-Essenzen“, Hans-Nietsch-Verlag, Freiburg)"

Thanks for introducing me to all that, it's absolutely fascinating and I'm now much enlightened in several different ways Smile.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Dianthus,
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Welcome Hepburn26 (another British woman! Wink), and it is good to see Ros and Sean back again too!

quote:
but I HATE -and hear all the time!- 'should of/would of' etc...it's not OF, it's HAVE!


Bob beat me to it, but I was going to say that when people speak quickly (as do most British speakers, correct? At least that's what Bob tells me in OEDILF workshops), "should of" and "should have" can sound the same.

Thanks for reminding me again what "hapax logomenon" is. On Di's link, I loved the word "honorificabilitudinitatibus" (a nonsense word meaning honorableness)! In looking it up in the Grandiloquent Dictionary, I also found "hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian," meaning "pertaining to extremely long words." Now, what on earth is the difference between that and "sesquipedalian," unless it, too, is a nonsense word.
 
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You're right.
It's a nonsense word.
 
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The dog can jump; the dog may jump. One is an ability, the other a proposition. If you say, “can I have a drink?” then I can reply, “yes, you can if you can swallow fluid.” I may not, but I can.

Fewer? How can there be more few?

Less people? Does that indicate that amputations have occurred?

It would seem that the English language has failed to be concise once again...

Richard English wrote:

"Safeway - The Baker's" (the baker's what, I wonder?)

...the baker’s safeway, of course! Wink

And:

"Customers over the age of 21 will only be served on a Saturday"

...the only thing wrong with that sentence is the only:

" Only customers over the age of 21 will be served on a Saturday"

...although the following may be preferable...

" On Saturdays, only customers over the age of 21 will be served "

...but why? And how do they police it?

...and why is it that the English can’t speak English without ‘acking it to ‘ell? Wink

beans
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Originally posted by Seanahan:
My computational linguistics professor last semester made a point that if we used hapax legomena when we meant hapax legomenon,


Medium/meida and datum/data are also constantly confused. I doubt that most people around here know that one is singular and the other is plural.

The can/may confusion also bothers me. When someone asks, "Can I help you," I reply, "I don't know whether you can or not, but you MAY try." Few know what I'm talking about, and assume me to be a psychoceramic. (That's a crackpot!) Roll Eyes
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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"Customers over the age of 21 will only be served on a Saturday"

...the only thing wrong with that sentence is the only:

Well, I don't know, Beans. I think it also should say, "21 and over," rather than "over 21."
 
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Originally posted by Ros:
I overheard (i.e. shamelessly earwigged) a fascinating conversation on the bus yesterday.

I’ve only heard earwig to mean an insect of the Dermaptera order. I’ve never heard it used as a verb before. So I looked it up.

Here’s what I found on the OED Online:

quote:
earwig, v.
1. a. To pester with private importunities or admonitions. b. To influence, bias (a person) by secret communications; to insinuate oneself into the confidence of (a person).
2. in pa. pple. ? Having a ‘maggot’ or craze in one's brain. nonce-use.

The earliest citations were, respectively, from 1837 and 1880. Your use of it to mean “eavesdropping” is a new one.

I had to look up maggot to fully understand the second definition. The OED Online says it means, in this sense, “A whimsical, eccentric, strange, or perverse notion or idea. Now arch. and regional,” and cites it’s earliest written use “a1625.”

I couldn’t stop there. Here are some more definitions I found, followed by the earliest citation in parentheses.

quote:
maggoty, a.
I. General uses.
1. a. Full of whims and foolish fancies; freakish. (1667)
b. Austral., N.Z., and Brit. Regional. Angry, bad-tempered; esp. in to go (also get) maggoty: to lose one's temper. (1890)

2. Full of maggots; containing maggots. (1699)
Also fig.

(under maggoty)
II. Special uses.
3. maggoty-headed, -pated adjs.

1667 *Magotie-headed [see sense 1a]. 1970 R. DAVIES Fifth Business IV. iii. 196 Your one human responsibility is a madwoman about whom you cherish a maggoty-headed delusion.

1850 N. & Q. 10 Aug. 173/2 ‘A *maggoty-pated fellow’ is often used to imply a whimsical man.

maggotish, a.
Obs. Rare
Strange, peculiar, or eccentric; whimsical. (1699)

maggotry, n.
Foolishness, absurdity. Obs. (1706)

maggotiness, n.
Obs. Rare
The condition of being maggoty.
1727 N. BAILEY Universal Etymol. Eng. Dict. II, Maggottiness,..fulness of Maggots or small Worms; also freakish, whimsical Humour.


But let’s not stop there. Maggotorium, has meant “a place where maggots are bred for use as bait by anglers” since 1958. Couldn’t that be used figuratively to mean a person filled with strange, peculiar, eccentric, or whimsical ideas, or at least to the head or brain of such a person? OK, I’ll shut up.

Tinman
 
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Interesting that the OED doesn't include the slang use of to earwig, meaning 'to eavesdrop'.

Both the Dictionary of UK Slang and the Macquarie Book of Slang (Australian) give this meaning, although Macquarie indicates that it is prison slang over there.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I hear people use the word "antidote" when they really mean anecdote. Do you have any antidotes about that to share? (LOL) GRRRR!


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Originally posted by arnie:
Interesting that the OED doesn't include the slang use of to earwig, meaning 'to eavesdrop'.

Both the Dictionary of UK Slang and the Macquarie Book of Slang (Australian) give this meaning, although Macquarie indicates that it is prison slang over there.

Yes, I should have looked at those before I commented.

Tinman
 
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Tinman, I had no idea of those definitions of "maggot," especially "whimsical!" I can understand, "strange," "eccentric," "absurd," ...but somehow "whimsical" would never come to mind! Roll Eyes Of course maggots (don't click the link if you have a weak stomach!) have been used in medicine, too.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Tinman, I had no idea of those definitions of "maggot," especially "whimsical!" I can understand, "strange," "eccentric," "absurd," ...but somehow "whimsical" would never come to mind! Roll Eyes


Back in the 1980s, I belonged to a group which sang madrigals. Several pieces were entitled someone-or-other's "maggot". Sheet Music Digital.com defines "maggot as "a fancy".

I've had a google and I've come up with a few examples with audio clips and they're well worth listening to.

Mr Isaac's Maggot (Midi File)

There are three different versions of Dick's Maggot here (Midi Files)

Mr Beveridge's Maggot (Midi File)

Jack's Maggot (Midi File)

and many more.
 
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Dianthus,
Thank you so much for your links... maggots have never been so entertaining... such wonderful music to my ears, growing up with the Irish songs sung to me!

My toes are tapping! Smile
 
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Originally posted by KHC:
Dianthus,
Thank you so much for your links... maggots have never been so entertaining... such wonderful music to my ears, growing up with the Irish songs sung to me!

My toes are tapping! Smile


Happy to be of service and I'm glad you like them Smile!

We always sang the madrigals unaccompanied, but we were joined sometimes by a group of instrumentalists who played while we had a rest, so it was nice just to sit and listen to them. They often played these "maggots" and it amused us when they announced to the audience "we will now play so and so's maggot".
 
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...then there is 'to get maggoted', which means to become intoxicated (in oz)...

...'over the age of 21' and '21 and over'; i would guess that is an american v british thing, much like the date (d/m/y - m/d/y). i can see where the former would be confusing for americans, for whom the former is not a commmon phrase. consider 'over the age of consent'. but i agree that...
"On Saturdays, only customers 21 years of age and over will be served."
...would clarify it well enough.

i, still, would like to know why. 8)

beans
 
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