Friday, 17 January 2014

The hunting of the proofs

Report from the word-face

It's a long and painful story. I shan't bother you with the details. Suffice it to say...

A year ago I was discussing a point on UsingEnglish  and  said, among other things:

The fossilized phrase 'Suffice it to say' means 'let it be sufficient to say'; a more modern idiom is 'Enough said' - but, unlike 'suffice it to say', this follows the thing said: 'I shouldn't have done it. I'm sorry. Enough said'.

You'll have noticed that I keep saying 'Suffice it to say'. This uses the subjunctive, which is hardly used in informal British English. And as both 'it' and 'to' are unstressed in that phrase, they are easily heard as a single /t/ followed by a schwa - particularly by habitual non-users of the subjunctive. This form [HD clarification: the ITless form] is widely used, and has become almost as common as the fuller form: BNC has 53 instances of 'suffice to say' and 88 of 'suffice it to say'.

In COCA, on the other hand, which is based on N. American usage, has [HD correction: 'there are' (I may have meant háy)] 376 (377 if you include 'sufficeit to say', of which there is a single instance which I found by accident ), and only 97 of 'suffice to say'. And that balance makes sense, considering the relative strength of the subjunctive in American English.
Anyway, I'm an IT-man.

... that Yodel claim that someone called 'Jeffs' signed for them at some address and that's all they know for the time being. The delivery man is being questioned as we speak, although I'll be surprised if he can make any useful contribution before Monday (and indeed the usefulness quotient of his contribution is dubious at best).

As Cedric (my French master) would have said in his dictée, 'POINTS DE SUSPENSION'.


Update 2014.01.19.16:30 – Added PS:

PS I didn't mention yesterday that as well as trying to trace what Yodel had done with the proofs I also complained to CreateSpace (aka 'Amazon'), asking what point there was in my paying extra for a 10-day turnaround  – when after 3 weeks I still had no realistic prospect of seeing the proofs. They (to my great relief) have sent another set, which should get here on Wed. 22nd. We shall see...

Update 2014.01.20.14:45 – Added PPS:

I've just sent a nastygram to Yodel, masquerading as a Customer Survey. The driver they spoke to lied like a trooper. We WERE in, and the house where he claims to have had the package signed for has been vacant for nearly six months. Shame it wasn't worth stealing, but I wonder how much he makes on eBay out of 'undelivered' packages.

Incidentally, this needless piT[oops]stop on the way through their interminable survey raised a smile:

'And if I laugh 'tis that I may not weep' (Byron, I think).

Update 2014.01.22.19:00 – Added PPPS: 

They've arrived  – just over three weeks after I ordered them, no thanks to Yodel (who Disappeared the first set), and many thanks to CreateSpace (who sent a copy). Here goes...

 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?)

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 36,700 views  and 5,100 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 1852 views/860 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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