scribbles tagged ‘language’

woking

Monday, January 27th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

I pronounce ‘Were’  like the ‘ur’ in ‘blur’  with an ‘w’ added to the front = wur

I pronounce ‘Where’ like ‘air’ with a ‘w’ on the front = wair

7pm one evening, at the end of a long day an Italian colleague said “I’m working with Michele“. Myself and another English person simultaneously reacted with “Working?!”, shocked that anyone would be able to continue working.

Italian: “Yes, working to the Hotel”

We understood. “Oh, Walking

The Italian encouraged us to say ‘walking’ a few more times, then imitated us. His British accent for this one word became impeccable.

“How did you do that?”

“It sounds like that Chinese pan, the Wok, I say Woking

And indeed that’s what he said, it was easy to understand and sounded awfully posh.


2 bits of fabulous banter »

OS measurementation of what?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

what's this for?One of the joys of working for an engineering company is learning the new language, the language of Engineering

For example, this item raised a smirk from me and so many questions. What is this? What does it do? Who would buy it? How would they use it? Does it come with any attachments? Does OS mean ‘Operating System’? Should I buy one in case of emergencies?

What do you think?

 

 

 


5 bits of fabulous banter »

car over football

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

what does it mean?Mumsie: But how do I keep the email address so that I can find it again?

Wendy: You can ‘Save’ it in an address book on your computer. Can you see anything here that suggests ‘save’ or ‘keep’?

Mumsie: No

I look at the symbol of the floppy disk and wonder what dipstick in the Microsoft visual design icon set development team thought that a floppy disk would be meaningful to youngsters who’ve never seen one and oldies like mum who’ve never used one. While I can’t imagine a universal symbol for ‘save’, ‘keep’ or ‘store’, this symbol clearly misses the mark now and will miss the mark even more with the younger generations to come.

Wendy: What does that look like?

Mumsie: the car driving over the football?

Wendy: Yes! Brilliant, that’s exactly what it looks like, a ‘hummer’!

Mumsie: What’s a ‘hummer’? Someone in a choir who’s forgotten the words?

She’s quickly learnt the symbol now I’ve told her that it means ‘save’, the car saving the goal strike. Mumsie is very bright. Gotta love her and question who was recruited by the windows 8 user testing team to test the legibility of this icon.


1 wonderful musing »

pay for that code!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Build sounds like Billed


2 bits of fabulous banter »

imitation of spoon

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

A college of free men are making imitation spoons, presumably for the free market, so they can spoon en masse. Quite shocking really.

Butcher works - a 'Freeman's college


what do you think of that »

wendy house works

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Works: ButchersWorks: ChallengeMany of the red-brick industrial buildings in downtown Sheffield are called “Works”.

There’s something rather disturbing about the name “Butcher works“. Apparently it’s “one of the most important surviving cutlery and grinding workshops“. They would have made knives at the Butcher works.

There’s something inspiring about “Challenge works“. The Challenge works in Arundel Street is described in it’s listing as “an edge tool manufactory with workshops, office and warehouse, appears to have rapidly evolved into a multi-occupancy site, with an electro-plating company sharing the site in 1888. The Goad Fire Insurance plan of 1896 identifies various trades being carried out on site, and the presence of tool forges set behind the street frontage range, itself identified as office and warehouse…   …a significant survival in a once densely populated manufacturing quarter of Sheffield

Works: UniverseWorks: GibsonThere’s something very reassuring about being told that “Universe Works”  The only online references for it are to rent apartments. as a downtown residence in a converted industrial building I suspect this address is now high chic.

The “Gibson works” is also a listed building, it was originally a ‘Pewter’ works built in the late 19th Century.

‘Works’, both a noun and a verb. Lets take a moment to establish that “wendy house works” because we are and we do.


what do you think of that »

omnishambles

Monday, December 31st, 2012 | tags: ,  |

silly name,  or is it?I’m thrilled that the Oxford English Dictionary names the ‘word of the year’.  The thought of a group of word specialists discussing the merits of different new words they’ve heard this year has kept me entertained for months. Omnishambles is this year’s UK word. It is defined as:

a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations

Here are example situations where I might use this word in everyday converstion:

  • even an omnishambles could not have produced a lasagne of such disastrous proportions
  • climate change was blamed for the public transport omnishambles
  • we christen this baby ‘omnishambles’

The Oxford dictionary chooses a different new word for American English.  This year they chose GIF (Graphics Interchange Format).  A much more sensible word that’s a tad less fun. I can’t imagine actually using GIF’s creatively in my normal conversation (though I have some fun GIF’s on Sparkle).


8 bits of fabulous banter »

nag a ram

Sunday, August 5th, 2012 | tags: ,  |

anagram search engine suggestionOn the long freaky weather summer evenings a single girl has to find novel ways to entertain herself. One way is to look for anagrams in common names and phrases.

Being a relatively internet savvy single gal I decided to use an online anagram tool to help me out. Googles search suggestion really rather ticked my fancy


4 bits of fabulous banter »

on not taking things literally

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 | tags: ,  |

Vineyard Christian (VC): Can you speak in tongues?

I can speak conversational french, but given the context I don’t think that’s what he meant, he might find this  comment flippent or sarcastic and definitely inappropriate for such a serious question

wendy: I don’t think so

VC: let me pray for you

wendy: sure, thanks

I listened to his words as he easily chose things to say to me, a stranger. Words and thoughts as gifts through his language of prayer


what do you think of that »

apply a mechanical clock

Friday, May 18th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Mechanical clocks should be available on the NHS because of their outstanding health problem diagnostic qualities. No home should be without at least one.

Grandma's ClockMechanical clocks that strike and chime have been blamed for causing some people sleep disruption. This diagnosis is actually an  “Urban Legend“. In pre-urban venacular it’s:

Pish, tush and nonsense

A chiming or striking clock is actually an early warning system for potentially dangerous health problems.  These clocks will only disrupt sleep when one or more of the following pre-conditions applies – the person presenting the  clock-disrupted sleep symptoms is:

  1. not actually tired (sedentry lifestyle)
  2. profoundly troubled by something else (Freudian displacement theory)
  3. change intolerant (lacking awareness of Habituation theory)

The clock has actually uncovered the easily treatable conditions that are presenting as sleep disruption.  Treatments are

  1. exercise until your body is tired
  2. friends –  to help find out what’s troubling you, and explore possible solutions. If this isn’t possible the NHS does provide counsellors, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists but you’ll probably have to wait until the problem blows beyond the clock-stops-sleep symptoms before you can acess these professional services
  3. patience – it takes time for people habituate to new environments, new sounds

This consultation was provided free of charge by Dr Wendy

Thankyou


2 bits of fabulous banter »

I’ve been inboxed!

Friday, April 6th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Bellevue Starbucks WirelessPhrases used to publically declare that people will follow-up on something in a more private conversation:

  • I’ll inbox you later”  (On Facebook)
  • let’s take this offline”  (In an email thread)
  • let’s take this offline”  (During a group meeting)
  • “Can you give me a hand carrying the drinks” (In a pub)
  • “Let’s freshen-up” (In a restaurant)

 


3 bits of fabulous banter »

Jackson’s knitwear department

Saturday, March 31st, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Wendy in Jacksons Corner  ShopTwo mature ladies perusing the various wool brands:

I’m cold

It was colder last week, it’s not like we live in the Arctic, you’ll just have to man-up


1 wonderful musing »

the cloud

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | tags: ,  |

UK is partly cloudy?!Somewhere in the UK is almost always partly cloudy

When my phone announced that the UK was partly cloudy I was baffled by it’s desire to share the obvious

Luckily the weather announcers here in the UK have developed creative ways of describing these clouds, to keep us entertained on many an overcast day.  How can anyone fail to find many ways of describing and falling in love with skies like these:
the cloud


what do you think of that »

the cupboard has a hangover

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

The year started well as I rolled out of bed in my warm brushed cotton, red tartan, pyjamma set. Mumsy buys the best christmas pressies with her Marks and Spencers loyalty card. As the teapot brewed I lifted the cupboard‘s lid and logged in.

.Net error messageThe warm, fluffy feeling started fading as Microsoft’s .NET framework announced an ‘unhandled exception‘ in MY ‘application‘.  My cheeky little application had the afrontary to so something without proper handling? Naughty!’

This verbose .NET Framework message appeared to offer me 2 choices in the first paragraph:

  • ignore this error (continue button)
  • force my application to close (quit button)

The second paragraph is written in jargon about turning on functions, configuring, clients, trace-logs and SDKs.  This is 2012, good practice for producing software error messages has been around for decades. Why is Microsoft still showing me outrageously poorly designed dialogs? Especially first thing in the morning of the new year.  pfft. I choose to ignore this message because it didn’t enable me to make an informed decision – which ‘application’ of mine is exceptional?

 

Firefox crash reportA few moments later I got a BIG clue about the exceptional  ‘application’. Mozilla:

  • raised it’s hand with a message
  • started its conversation with me by  apologising. Nice! This takes ownership for having caused the problem and sets the tone of the conversation with me as one of respect to me
  • tells me firefox will try to fix the problem – doesn’t expect me to fix it
  • politely asks for me to give them diagnostic information. Which I did

I really like the tone of voice, the attitude, of Mozilla when talking to me

As I poured my second mug of tea another potential culprit for the ‘application’ that Microsoft .NET framework found ‘exceptional’ raised it’s hand

 

The large, ugly, Sony Viao update dialog insisted that I update my netbook software then told me I had to reboot the cupboard.  It’s direct instructional approach feels rather rude. I follow the instructions because I’ve been trained by years of poor software to feel helpless and follow this type of condescending instruction

Viao Update

It’s like being in the 1990’s all over again

Do0-do Doo-do

 


6 bits of fabulous banter »

quirky collective nouns

Saturday, November 19th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

The English language has some fun collective nouns for animal groups:

Picture showing two crows with the title 'attempted murder'a shrewdness of Apes
a cloud of Bats
a flutter of Butterflies
a murder of Crows
a seething of Eels
a business of Ferrets
an implausibility of Gnus
a troubling of Goldfish
a loveliness of Ladybirds
a parliament of Owls
a mutation of Thrushes
a chime of Wrens

As the winter nights draw-in the endless possibilities of entertaining new collective nouns snuggle into the wendy house:

a ________________ of celebrities
a ________________ of Journalists
a ________________ of activists
a ________________ of celebrities
a ________________ of lawyers
a ________________ of bankers
a ________________ of MPs
a ________________ of commuters
a ________________ of cyclists
a ________________ of doctors

 


11 bits of fabulous banter »

Peak travel times are not defined by times

Saturday, October 15th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The Italian tourist on Paddington station asked me

“what times are off-peak travel times?”

Gradually realising the sysem craziness I reply

“That depends which direction you are travelling, peak time applies to trains into London in the morning and out of London in the evening, so if you are travelling into London in the evening – there is no peak time

but I’m not sure”

Then I asked my Londoner friend for clarification

“Are there peak time restrictions on the tube?”

My friend didn’t know about ‘peak times’ so we assumed that tube trains within London didn’t have travel restrictions based on time of travel. How could this Italian distinguish between tube trains and other trains when they use the same stations?  Should we say ‘you can travel on the grubby looking trains  that are travelling around London, sort of, at any time”?  I felt daunted. Such a simple question, such a complex answer.

Then, to make matters worse, I remembered that at peak times you can catch some trains which are not covered by the peak time travel restrictions, so added

“You can travel at peak time with a non-peak time ticket on some trains, normally the slower trains, but some of the fast trains”

The Italian looked suitably baffled. We hadn’t really helped her. I had a passing thought of Franz Kafka, imagining him stuck on a train station trying to get out of London at 5pm.  No matter how good your grasp of the English language, this explanation, this system is

  • fundamentally confusing
  • really difficult to remember even if you can work it out in the first place.

it’s not designed to make ticket purchase and use easy, its evolved to satisfy diverse organisations that lack customer perspective. The best pracitcal suggestion that we could give the Italian was

“Find the train you want to travel on and ask one of the rail staff if it works, and what’s their best suggestion,  it’s the only way to be sure”

When I asked a train station employee at Reading main station he whipped out a PAPER leaflet that listed trains that travel at peak times but accept off-peak time tickets. This work-around suggest that the service providers recognise the problem. The cute, archaic, work-around made me smile. But why not make it easier for the traveller in the first place (or time)!

Currently peak travel times are defined by a mixture of train

  • time
  • service provider (not applied on the tube)
  • direction (relative to London, and maybe other citiies?)
  • train speed (sometimes)

I know what name I’d like to give the ticket pricing and travel system, but that’s unpublishable …..

Your’s huiffily, wendy x

PS here are the peak travel time trains from Paddington that accept off-peak time tickets:

peak time travel allowed with off-peak tickets


1 wonderful musing »

numberical

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

numb·er·i·cal /nəmerikəl/

Adjective

Definitions:

1) Deprived of the power to feel or manipulate a number or series of numbers

“wendy suffered a numberical moment when asked to work out how many people it would take to eat 6 packages of  twiglets in 30 minutes”  (the answer was, of course:  ‘1, ME!’ )

2) Inability to perceive numbers

“When asked how many packets of twiglets are hidden in the back of your wardrobe? wendy numberically answered “MINE!”

3) Counting without direct use of numbers

wendy numberically asserted that there were a whole bunch of twiglets for sale in the Co-op”

“A guest in the wendy house numberically suggested there were loads of twiglets hidden in the back of wendy’s wardrobe” (not actually true because I’ve eaten them)

Twiglets


4 bits of fabulous banter »

New Yorkan

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

With bubbly enthusiasm Tracey describes the people she met in Geneva when representing the UK at a Proctor and Gamble hosted international conference:

His parents were from Naples in Italy, they moved to New York before he was born, so even though he looks Italian he’s a real New Yorkan

He was a bit of a scientist boffin from Germany, his name was “Yo!-harn” or something like that, I had trouble with it so I called him Yogi Bear, how we laughed!

Tracey’s exhuberance was captivating, she quickly built a picture of people from all over the world enjoying each other’s company, sharing a passion…


what do you think of that »

words are deeds

Friday, September 9th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Words are a powerful force, even descriptive statements have the power to cause action, illocutionary force. What people choose to say, or not say, causes the world to change

If a guest in the Wendy House makes a statement like “it’s cold in here” then I will interpret that as a description of discomfort. The force of the statement pushes me to suggest either

  • lighting the woodstove
  • providing a jumper
  • making another pot of tea
  • going somewhere warmer
  • doing something that raises our body temperature

Long Beach SignThe reply will either confirm, or disconfirm, my assumption and take us a step nearer to making the immediate world a more pleasant place to be

Some people use their illocutionary force with skill, wisely or cruely. Some people spew words in a stream of consciousness seemingly without awareness of their forceful impact on listeners


4 bits of fabulous banter »

satiety

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Someone said ennui in a real conversation

  • as-if it might be a real word
  • as-if I might know what it means!

what a tease!

It sounded like “ahn-wee, setting-off my sensitively calibrated toilet-word-radar alarm. Wee?!

Sandwiches, Scones, Clotted cream and cakesGiggling ensued, then I checked the spelling and looked up the meaning

This was not a tease. This was a real word and the utterer had used it in a sentence that made total sense

A celebratory tea party is in order

Bring on the cakes!

PS 82 word post before the PS

what do you think of that »

preventing tumults

Saturday, August 13th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

England has a long history of rioting. In 1714 an act of parliament was introduced to try and deal with this national passtime – “the act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies” with the more snappy popular title of  “the riot act” .  The riot act let local authorities declare to a group of twelve or more people that they were unlawfully assembled and ask them to disperse within the hour or be punished. The riot act would be read to the assembled people:

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

It had to be read precisely. It was a hanging offense to not disperse within the hour. Some prosecutions were overturned in court because the proclamator forgot to read “God save the King!”  The act included the death penalty, later transportation and was last used in 1919 on the Wirral. The act ceased to be law in 1975

The phrase ‘read the riot act’ is still used colloquially as a warning to cease serious misbehaviour…

BoudiccaI gave up trying to compile a decent list of riots in mainland England because it was getting way too long

This left me wondering how to distinguish revolution, rebellion and riot…

 


4 bits of fabulous banter »

time-boxed enterpise

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Visitor ParkingVisitors to the Enterprise centre can only park for 20 mins

20 minutes is their time-box

time-box is trendy business language

Is this a cunning prompt for enterprising visitors to think out of their (time) box to either

find ways to stay longer than 20 minutes

or

do what normally takes more than 20 minutes in less time


what do you think of that »

green doors

Saturday, June 18th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The toilets in the Fine Art department of Reading University are proudly green and probably original features of the one-storey utilitarian style brick building (circa 1930). The subtle differences in styling such as the 3 vertical panels on the womens’ door imply it may be newer (circa 1950) than the more utilitarian design of the mens’.

womenThe addition of a paper sign to the womens’ door is a modern addition, an attempt to change behaviour using strong language “Important, Under no circumstances should…” clear identification  of the people who should attend to this notice “...fine arts students…” and their unacceptable behaviour “…clean their brushes in these toilets

EWE!  I always use the sink to clean my brushes – easier and less whiffy.

green door


2 bits of fabulous banter »

can’t say how

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

“It’s a little-known fact that the world’s best chicken sexers come almost exclusively
from Japan”

For some reason psychologists and philosophers investigate chicken sexing. Psychologists lured me into reading obscure articles on chicken sexing because, amongst other things, it is a skilled human activity that cannot be articulated. Just one mention in my undergraduate course, carefully juxtapositioned with a reference to how wine tasting is a similarly non-articulatable skill.

Chicken sexing? Chicken sexing! Maybe the idea stayed with me so long and in preference to wine tasting because of the word sex. Maybe its that the act of labelling a chicken with a predicted sex is called ‘sexing’. From one comment in a 1985 class on cognitive psychology, I developed an interest in reading about chicken sexing. So it was, so it is.

“If I went for more than four days without chick sexing work I started to have ‘withdrawal symptoms”

 


4 bits of fabulous banter »

check your pocket contents

Saturday, May 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Our correspondent from Barcelona recently provided this little tid-bit:

Most modern English place names have their origins in Old English, the Anglo-Saxon language; most of the other contributions are either oddities or window dressing. Recurring elements that help us to do our own detective work include the endings “-ham” and “-ton“, ancestors of “home” and “town“; Hampton is a combination of the two and Hampstead means, more or less, “homestead“. The “-ing” generally means a place was founded by the followers of a certain chieftain: Reading is called after an otherwise forgotten man, Reada, whose name suggests that he had red hair, and Hastings after Haesta, who was probably quick-tempered.

thatched pub and post van


3 bits of fabulous banter »

downmarket residential area

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Dallas Laundry at DawnBBC Radio 2 described the shooting of two British students in Sarasota Florida as happening Several miles from a recognised tourist area in a Downmaket residential area where it is very unusual to find tourists

Apart from an exta 8 syllables what are the main differences between Downmarket residential area and Ghetto? Why do you think the BBC chose the longer phrase?


6 bits of fabulous banter »

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 1)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

I love it when my car talks sexy to me like this. Really Thomas is saying, phone those nice boys at the Mini Service centre, you know you want to. And he’s right, I do want to and I do call them. On the phone I slowly, precisely say to the service centre chappy

I’ve got a Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction, Yeah, really, I have

He giggles


1 wonderful musing »

little my

Monday, March 28th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

If you were at a Swedish speaking school you would swear in Finnish or German. Often the language at school was different from the language at home. At home you could have a conversation where one sentence would switch between languages, Finnish, Swedish German (Dad)

Dad had a multilingual upbringing in Finland, Sweden and  Hull (England). I had a monolingual upbringing, English was the only language spoken at home.

Dad did make sure we had many connections with his family history through music (Sibelius), decorations such as Dalacarlian horses, personal and published stories. Dad arranged the weekly trip to the Library to swap our story books. A big family event, such fun. Noggin the Nog and Tove Jannsen‘s Moomin’s (Muumi in original Finnish) were fond favourites of my early life. Like Dad, Tove was a Swedish speaking Finn. Little my is an occassional character in the Moomins, based on Tove.

The soundtrack for the TV series sounds almost Cajun….

Watch and listen to a Moomin episode in original musical Finnish


2 bits of fabulous banter »

ways of describing the vernal equinox

Sunday, March 20th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Ostara, in the form of a hare is cohorting around the garden today, delighting the local adult children (Sampo and I) celebrating the shift from more than 12 hours of night to more than 12 hours of daylight.

With a clear view of the sky, in the Wendy House orangerie, the circular dining table has taken the role of an altar dressed in green cloth, laid with candles, flowers, seeds, pen and paper. Drinking large mugs of hot spiced apple juice from the caldron on the woodburner. Yummy. In a small celebration we’ve danced a clockwise circle round the table, written our hopes and desires on the paper, burnt the paper. Tomorrow I’ll put the ashes in the garden, plant the seeds where the growing daylight will nourish and draw them towards the sky

That’s the vernal equinox described in story form. The focus is on the people words that draw images and emotions, describing what people do and how they do it. This writing style is traditionally the domain  and humanities.

I find the scientific style of writing which often deliberately excludes explicit reference to people and beliefs fascinating in itself. Some ‘social sciences’ have included people by treating them as the objects to be studied, for example psychology that conducts research with human participants (not called people) and produces research papers written in the scientific tradition of the passive 3rd person. Wikipedia articles are examples of writing in the 3rd person passive, which I understand as core to the current scientific style. Wikipedia describes the vernal equinox in detail.

Here’s a few things I found out written in a more scientific style:

The word “vernal” is of Latin origin and refers to the season – spring. The word “equinox” is another word of Latin origin that means “equal night”. The vernal Equinox is a time when day and night are of nearly equal length, 12 hours, across the world. Today is the March equinox, which is the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

despairing present participle of diffīdere

Saturday, March 19th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

miss typing ‘different’ as ‘diffident’ can add a sad twist to a sentence


what do you think of that »