Thursday, 31 January 2013

O tempora, O more's the pity

As my schoolfriend, and manager of NATO Unabbreviated (a one-gig wonder), John Mullins* said when I asked him to tell me about a band he had suggested we should go and hear at a pub in Fulham Broadway in 1978, Dire Straits's lead singer was 'a sort of cross between Eric Clapton and J. J. Cale'. Fast-forward 32 years (more than half a lifetime... any chance of a Rewind button?...), and Clapton recorded an album†, Clapton, which includes a track with a guest appearance from none other than J. J. Cale.

And John was right. But 75p to go into a pub and not even get a seat...! Well, I did cough up, but it still sticks in my craw...Doh.


*If anyone knows John, say hello and ask him if he's looking for a guitarist
†From the Latin [libru(m)] albu(m)‡, a reference to the white pages of (originally) scrap-books - cp 'alb' (the white garment that RC priests wear under the chasuble, 'albumen', and 'aubade' (which has been on a long journey from  the whitening of the sky at dawn - French aube - to a word that represents a song sung at dawn), etc.... I wonder whether the designer of The Beatles' 'White album' knew this...?
‡ Yet another example of a new word for a thing being coined from an adjective, as discussed here. The same post explains the philological convention of referring to what a classicist would identify as 'the accusative case' rather than 'the nominative'.

Tales from the word face

In my travails towards V2 of When Vowels Get Together (see what I did there? Apologies if - it offended you as much as it would have offended me if I'd been reading it ) I've finally embarked on the vowel-pair -EE-, and I find - much to my relief (I think I may have posted about the daunting prospect of -EE- words, as e is the most common vowel - which I stupidly assumed meant a pair of them would make the most common digraph) - that there are a smidgin over half as many -EE- words as there are -EA- words. (The exact numbers, which include hits for idioms - there are, for example, separate index hits in the Macmillan English Dictionary for both 'needle' and 'a needle in a haystack' - don't give the whole story. There might, for some unaccountable - not to say unlikely - reason be significantly more idioms with -EE- words than idioms with -EA- words. I doubt it though.)

For the record, then, the figures are 3638 for the string '*ea*' and 1900 for '*ee*'. Onwards and upwards.

Update 2013.01.01: A few tweaks

Update: 2013.10.02.16:05
Header updated:

 Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V4.0: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs – AA-AU, EA-EU, and  IA-IU, and – new for V4.0 – OA-OU.  If you buy it, contact  @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 32,400 views**,  and  4,400 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1570 views/700 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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