Sunday, 7 November 2010

Totally Credible! Believable. UNWOW!

Definitely shevelled

Ibcnreidle But Ture...

Thanks to Jamie, from the USA, for this impressive story, possibly from an old issue of the New Yorker magazine by someone called Jack Winter. Still just feeling trigued? Maybe this will change your mind...

How I Met My Wife

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated--as if this were something I was great shakes at--and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Maculate in the extreme

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal.

We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

More language fun coming soon! I'm always keen to read and pass on great language-related pieces, so do send them in and I'll give you whatever namecheck and link you like. Thanks for visiting, and...

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Hotch Potch English: The SNAIL ~ 'Totally Credible! Believable. UNWOW!'
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Wluod You Bieelve It?


Ibcnreidle But Ture...

From regular reader Jamie, from the USA, comes this fun little phenomenon: no explanation needed - it's all in the text. But is there any possibility you can actually understand the gobbledygook below? Check it out: you'll probably be surprised...

"I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt!"


So how aubot taht?! Tnakhs Jimae, and keep snenidg in yuor criibuttoonns - tre'hye vrey wlemoce :-)

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Hotch Potch English: The SNAIL ~ 'Wluod You Bieelve It?'
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Big Noses Run In My Family


When in need of inspiration...

...recycle the classics! Here's one of those many wonderful fun-pokes at the good old English language - enjoy... and wonder.

Big Noses Run In My Family

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you can fill out a form by filling it in and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this column, I end it!

~ Author Unknown

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Hotch Potch English: The SNAIL ~ 'Big Noses Run In My Family'
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Rain Peas Mainly On The Plain


Some of the sweetest poems...

...can be some of the shortest, simplest and most - dare I say it - poignant.

Here's an example of genuinely one of the first poems I every remember hearing, and remembering...



Not an earth-moving opus, or epoch-defining moment, I concede, but funny and true to my young virgin poetic brain.

Another which really grabbed my with its sheer cleverness was this one.


It's amazing how when young people discover works that are genuinely clever and funny from before their time they can't help feeling somewhat envious and awed and proud to be experiencing them and realising that people liked having an intellectual laugh even as long ago as when our parents were young.

I wonder if my kids will ever be thinking that if they ever discover some of the things that tickled me, a few years from now.

~ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE PREVIOUS SNAIL POSTS ~

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Hotch Potch English: The SNAIL ~ 'The Rain Peas Mainly On The Plain'
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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Monday, 5 April 2010

A Cane From Eton Says...


A strange trend has been noticed...

...creeping into some of the so-called 'highbrow' newspapers - that of extending the name of a supposedly typical item of clothing to describe someone, probably starting with 'suits' for conventional businessmen, and anoraks, of course, for train spotters and computer losers.

How baffling it would be for new English students to find items of dress extended to objects connected with the post, used instead of job titles - especially if the connection is not one they would make automatically in their culture.

Thus we find a pair of braces in the City, a green welly at the Country Landowners Association, a tight black tee-shirt at the hair dressing salon, a bobbly hat on the ski slope, a silk shirt at the Jockey Club and even, (regrettably, says the librarian who contributed this piece) a long wooly cardigan at the County Library.

Logical extension of this idea means that you may well hear about a pair of scissors at the fashion house, a tall tree at the Forestry Commission, a soft pencil at the design office and a big spear at the Ugandan Embassy (big meaning senior, of course).

It seems to be used most often by media writers to introduce a quote, as in "A junior aspirin at the Department of Health says..."

So what about us teachers? Are we sticks of chalk? Board rubbers, maybe? Worn elbow patches, perhaps? Or, shame of shames, a pair of brown corduroys..? Cringe!

~ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE PREVIOUS SNAIL POSTS ~

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Hotch Potch English: The SNAIL ~ 'A Cane From Eton Says'
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Laughing Policeman. NOT.


Remember Peter and Jane?

Of course you do. Well, if you're over 40 anyway. Whatever became of them? "This is Peter. This is Jane. Peter likes Jane. Jane likes Peter..." etc. The banality of it all makes you laugh in retrospect, doesn't it?  But they actually produced hundreds of these famous little books and I'm quite sure I enjoyed reading them in my time.

The Peter and Jane series, one of the more than 60 series actually produced, was based on a very limited set of key words to help very young children to learn to read. Other popular series include the Well Loved Tales, Tootles the Taxi, What to Look for in Spring (etc.), and the extremely popular How It Works and How To... books explaining common modern appliances and useful processes. See below for two highly practical new titles in the updated series...

Well things have changed, the world has moved on, and a bit of updating was sorely needed. These have been published on plenty of websites already but we make no apologies for sharing them here just in case you missed these gems the first time round. So here we offer you a sneak preview of some pages from the new version of the People at Work: The Policeman title. Click on the open page images for a larger version. Enjoy.





















As with many classic children's book series, there's now a mini-collectors' industry based around these titles, with fanatics desperately on the look out for the rarest ones, such as The Impatient Horse, The Tinkers Wig and the timeless (well, kind of) Adventures of Wonk series.

Apparently the youngest Ladybird author was little Jayne Fisher, woh started her Garden Gang series at the innocent age of six. I'm a bit nervous that the new publisher responsible for the images above is going to get hold of the Garden Gang books and do something horrible with them. Shudder.
Other titbits of useless info include the fact that Spike Milligan and Paul McCartney have contributed to the series and that around 660 individual titles are likely to have been published.

The rarest book of them all, according to The Wee Web website, could be an early computer handbook, and I quote:
"Wee do however consider the rarest book of them all to be 'The Computer - How it Works' (1971) - this is not the standard issue but rather a private publication that was especially produced for the Ministry of Defence in 1972. The M.O.D specifically asked for the book to be published in plain covers and without copyright information as not to embarrass their training staff!"
If you want to see some of the pages I left out from the new version of The Policeman, visit this page, and if you want to see what's currently (and really) on offer, then check out the Ladybird site and wallow in some sort of nostalgia.


~ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE PREVIOUS SNAIL POSTS ~

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Hotch Potch English: "The SNAIL" ~ The Laughing Policeman. NOT.
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English ~ The Unique English Language Website
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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Friday, 26 March 2010

Cold Toads (the things we do for love)


The things we do for love...

I certainly can't claim this as an original, but if it provokes an original laugh or smile I'll consider my efforts worth something...

'So let me offer you, at about fourth hand, quite the most enjoyable item of news to come my way during the past week.

I heard it from my colleague Libby Purves, who read it in The Times newspaper, which got it ultimately from Dr L. Fairchild of Duke University in North Carolina and it concerns toads.

The female toad, unaware of spiritual values, likes her mate big. But because she normally pairs in the dark, she has only one way of judging. The bigger the toad, the deeper his croak. However, there's a complicating factor, because a cold toad gives a deeper croak. Male toads therefore cunningly make for the coldest corner of the pond to deepen their croaks, and a female, who thinks she is mating with a large, warm toad may in fact have been deceived by a small, cold one.


However, things do not stop there. Since all the male toads are trying to chill off as much as possible, the large ones tend to win in the end and take over the cold spot. Indeed, says Dr Fairchild, many of the smallest toads are forced right out of the pond and are obliged to sit on the bank where (since it is warmer out of the water than in, even in North Carolina) the small toads' croaking becomes even shriller and less enticing.

But there is still some consolation for the warm weaklings. For in order to get into the pond the females do, of course, have to run the gauntlet on the bank where, says Dr Fairchild, the small males make the most of their opportunities. It shouldn't be long before the large toads learn to lurk on the bank and shut up. The problem now is how to...'

And there it is. The terrible trials of the toad and his interminable attempt to get his tail over (if toads have tails, that is).

The following videos have only tenuous connections with the above story, but they DO involve toads, so don't expect anything more...
As usual, let me know what you think, in the comments section below.






~ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE PREVIOUS SNAIL POSTS ~


Comments are, as ever, very welcome on The SNAIL!

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Hotch Potch English: "The SNAIL" ~ Cold Toads: the things we do for love
Created & written by Sab Will
Copyright 2010 Sab Will / Hotch Potch English
More creative Sab: Paris Set Me Free
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http://www.hotchpotchenglish.com/
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