Sunday, 30 November 2014

Hah, Bumhug

A seasonal thought to mark the beginning of Advent

As the strains of Wachet auf fade away (and I missed O come O come Emmanuel anyway [ a suitable case for iPlayer]) I reflect that orange didn't have its n by the time it was borrowed from the Old French in the 13th century. So the possibility of the n dropping out by false assimilation (that is, suspected assimilation where there had been none) from 'a norange' seems to me unlikely, although it is true that the initial n was there if you look back far enough, through Arabic naranj, Persian narang and Sanskrit naranga (where the trail goes cold, with the dispiriting words 'of uncertain origin' ['of uncertai norigin'?]):
c.1300, of the fruit, from Old French orangeorenge (12c., Modern French orange), from Medieval Latin pomum de orenge, from Italian arancia, originally narancia(Venetian naranza), alteration of Arabic naranj, from Persian narang, from Sanskrit naranga-s "orange tree," of uncertain origin. Not used as a color word until 1540s. 
           Etymonline 

I favour the 'perhaps influenced by French or "gold"' idea suggested further on in that Etymonline article. This would tie in with the Italian name of another fruit, though not the one excluded by WISE MEN (catch the topical reference? Magic  ) from a fruit salad: pomodoro.

But, in that quote from Etymonline, note the last sentence: Not used as a color word until 1540s. This explains the inappropriate ascription of red in many English expressions. The colour was named after the fruit; so if only the word 'orange' had been used to name that colour before it lost its n, we'd be talking about the norange squirrel being out-competed by the grey ones, the  norange deer 

<autobiographical_note date-range="late '50s?" theme="PG Tips British Wild Life series"> 
 a rarety, as I remember, not like the fallow deer, which seemed to appear in every other  packet
</autobiographical_note>
and – back on topic at last  – the robin norange-breast  – a bit of a mouthful, that; maybe that cheerful little cheeky-chappy would have evolved a name based on its colour, so that our Christmas cards would have been decorated with pictures of little NORRIES.
<autobiographical_note date-range="1989-1991" theme="double-lettered bird names">    
Back in the '90s, when I was starting (and indeed ending) my career as a compiler of 3-dimensional crossword puzzles [which call for a double letter when a word reaches a corner of the cube], I remember noticing the commonness of double letters in bird names:
albatross, bittern, booby, bullfinch, buzzard, chaffinch, cockatoo, coot, crossbill, cuckoo, dipper, dunnock, great tit, guillemot, gull, hoopoe, kookaburra,  mallard. moorhen, parakeet, peewit ('vanellus vanellus', since you ask), puffinrooster, ruff, reeve, rook, sparrow, swallow, willow-warbler, woodpecker,  yellowhammer ...
At the time I filled several pages of a notebook with obscure bird names that shared this trait. I can't see how this could be anything but coincidental, but still.... It seems to apply to other bird-related words:  broody, egg, cheep, chirrup, hoot, lesser-spotted, roost,  stoop, trilltweet, twitter... But maybe this is some (possibly well-known) bias – whatever you're looking for [in some sort of corpus of data], you find it. Hmmm...
</autobiographical_note>
But it wasn't like that. Redbreast, says Etymonline, is 'early 15c., of the English robin, from red (adj.1) + breast (n.)'  – at least a century before the colour got its name. Until then, red 'the only color for which a definite common PIE root word has been found' – had to do for all colours spectrally south of yellow. In that, though at the other end of the spectrum, it was like Russian and, I think, Mandarin (at least that's what my Tai Chi teacher said when I asked whether the dragon  was blue or green though, now I come to think of it, maybe that was just iridescent

Things Chinese provoke the thought that a piece on the mandarin might be more topical than one on orange another time, maybe.

b

Update 2014.12.01.21:14  – added afterthoughts in brown.
 Update 2014.12.12.16:25  – added afterthoughts in norange.

 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 here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

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

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 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 over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 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.








Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The lives of others

'Bleeding heart liberal' alert
The writer of this blog does not think Civil Liberties are a non-issue. If you support Cameron's Support for Terrorism and Surveillance Initiative  ('STASI'), send comments to /dev/null.

I am not usually a supporter of this newspaper, but there is a brave (if rather silly) article in the Daily Mirror delivering a rejoinder to the welter of vitriol poured on 'Internet Companies' for not flagging up the Rigby murder plan: a Google search for  
internet rigby irresponsible  
throws up over 6,000,000 hits. Oh dear...Is it just me, or is there a smell of Dangerous Dogs Act  (that's a cached version; there's room for a conspiracy theory or two [as it was only taken down on All Souls' Day (as we used to say in the One True Chorch]) here? And you know what a farce that stirred up.

I say 'rather silly' as it considers a plot hatched in a pub. But that reductio ad absurdum doesn't really work (as a pub is not a message-carrying service); perhaps it would work if the plot was hatched on a pub noticeboard, but that image really is pretty silly: 
Jihadi interested in beheading and all sorts of terrorism would like to meet similar. Catch me in the Snug, sipping an orange juice, most Thursdays. No time-wasters.
[De mortuis nil nisi Bonham-Carter – still less tenuous analogies. So I've removed the Kookaburra gag.]

OK, let's get real. If any analogy is to hold water in this context, there must be an element of carrying messages. Much ink  has been spilt on essays about the causes of WWI. Well, I've got it sorted. No need for pages and pages about  economics and regime change and so on. One cause: the Sarajevo Postal Service.

The point about terrorists is that they want to provoke a fascistic response. People are more likely to take up arms against a State that enforces an unreasonable security straitjacket. Yes, they only  have to 'get lucky once', but passing undemocratic laws – and enforcing a surveillance regime that depends on one group of citizens grassing up every Tom Dick or Ali every time they use an unconsidered word when they're online – is just a Recruiting Sergeant for the forces of evil (and a recipe, incidentally, for a Denial of Service tsunami of false alarms). What we must do is Keep Calm and Carry On.

Shooting the messenger? Suing Wells Fargo, more like.

b

Update 2014.11.28.10:15 – Deletion – with explanation in mauve – of not very good (or appropriate) joke.


 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 here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

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

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 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 over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 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.









Thursday, 20 November 2014

'Cochleae musculique canens....

(...alive, alive-o'.)

I have written before about musculus (the wrong sort of mussel I know, but give a chap a break). Here's the relevant bit:
...Another adjective - one of my favourite derivations and demonstrating again Guy Deutcher's 'reef of dead metaphors' idea (mentioned in another post) - is 'muscular', from mus ('mouse')/musculus ('little mouse'), which is the way muscles looked to Early Romans - at least the ones who didn't get within gawping distance of auspice-reading: a little metaphorical mouse scampering about under a carpet.

See the rest here (not a bad-un, though I say it as shouldn't)
I was talking to an Audiologist the other day (no, really) and asked her whether she knew the derivation of cochlea – the little doofer in the inner ear that's caused so much soul-searching among the deaf community: to implant or not to implant... She was holding a take-to-bits-able model of one side of the top half of a skull, and I had had an idea about the possible derivation of 'cockle'. (More of this in a paragraph or two.) I wondered if, like the hippocampus (named after a sea-horse, which is what it looks like), it was named after a sea-creature.

She said she wasn't sure, but probably something like 'spiral' (which is its shape). I was temporarily disappointed; anything so geometrical seemed a bit too obvious (and indeed, quite likely; geometry works OK for the trapezius and the deltoid muscle). But I had been misled by my hippocampus idea. What it looked like (OK a SPIRAL but also... ) was a snail crawling doggedly (if a snail can be dogged) across the inner ear.

But my disappointment didn't last long; when all else fails, try a dictionary is my motto.  So I looked in my old mistreated nineteenth-century Latin dictionary – one word, apart from the usual lexicographical impedimenta: SNAIL. And then there is a parenthetical '(Hence It. chiocciola)'. My Italian dictionary, for chiocciola, also gave that single word. But then it gave me my current favourite for Charming Image of the Year (narrowly beating the French trombone [='paperclip']): a spiral staircase is una scala a chiocciola. Isn't that lovely?
<digression>
... which reminds me. In Secrets of the Castle the other day, the stone-mason planned a spiral staircase with 12 steps going round a full circle. Now I  have something to look for when visiting castles around the world: I wonder if 12 steps per revolution is a universal...
</digression>
Image result for cockles


Returning to those cockles.  A cockle is a bit spirally, but not much. Whereas a snail is much more cochlea-like; so much alike that you'd be forgiven for saying 'Greetings, small mollusc' in the ENT operating theatre. See?


See original here
Etymonline says 
...from Greek kokhlias "snail, screw," etc., from kokhlos "spiral shell," perhaps related to konkhos"mussel, conch."
And when I first had my 'cockle' idea I set a lot of store by that 'perhaps...'. But I'm happy to stick with 'snail'. And the Audiologist was right-ish; the snail got its name from its shape (kokhlos). but the cochlea got its final diphthong from the Latin for snail.

b

 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 here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

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

Freebies (Teaching resources:  over 48,000 views  and nearly 6,500 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 over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 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.









 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Long-haired ne'erdowells

... coming into our skies whenever it suits them and then going off to Find Themselves a few billion  miles away, then coming back when they please.

The Greek for a comet was '(aster) kometes, literally "long-haired (star)," from kome "hair of the head"' . That quote is from good ol' Etymonline, and this blog has mentioned before (here) the tendency for nouns in Noun Phrases to be dropped, leaving just the adjective as a new noun.
<digression>
I wonder if Bill Haley was a classics scholar: but his backing group The Comets weren't notably long-haired. Everybody assumes the name is a play on the name 'Haley', but wouldn't it be cool if the Halley angle was only coincidental (apart from depending on a mispronunciation)?
<digression>

Meteor, on the other hand,  is ultimately   from meta- "over, beyond" (see meta-) + -aoros "lifted, hovering in air," (the metaphorical name referring to what it does rather than what it looks like). And rather than whizzing around aimlessly like long-haired comets they actually fall to earth.
<digression>
So why aren't 'meteoric rise's out-numbered by 'meteoric fall's? BNC has this:
1 METEORIC RISE30
2 METEORIC WATER5
3 METEORIC CAREER2
4 METEORIC VADOSE2
5 METEORIC ZONES1
And a few more with only a single hit. No falls at all.
</digression>
Oh well. Nearly time to go and watch the landing of Rosetta No, Philae of course – I should just squeeze in an hour's lupiportal exclusion (that's 'keeping the wolf from the door).
<digression>
Oh, and I meant to ask: was the landing timed to mark the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down? The reunification was extraordinarily and unexpectedly well managed.
<autobiographical_note>
I remember, in a bedtime reading session, trying to explain the importance of the event in terms of the politics of Narnia – 'like the evil queen making friends with Aslan.'
</autobiographical_note>
</digression>

b
Update 2014.11.12.18:20 – Correction in the colour of shame.
Update 2014.11.13.14:20 – Added PS
PS Well done folks,  but it'll be a shame if after a 10 year wait Philae spins off after a few days. Latest scare is that it may have landed somewhere too dark to use its solar cells. Look on the bright side though; with any luck it'll slide into the light.
<sidebar>
Does a French countdown really end '...deux, un, top', and if so why?
</sidebar>

Meanwhile, back at the metaphors for heavenly bodies, here's (some of) what Etymonline
has to say about planet:


[Ultimately]...from Greek planetes, from (asteres) planetai "wandering (stars)," from planasthai "to wander," of unknown origin, possibly from PIE *pele- (2) "flat, to spread" on notion of "spread out." So called because they have apparent motion, unlike the "fixed" stars. 
So whereas a meteor 'whizzes about up there' a planet just 'wanders'. A bit lame, really. More anon, but I have some stuff that won't wait.

Update 2014.11.14.09:55 – Added PPS

PPS Today's heavenly body is 'star'. This is one of those words that starts with a consonant cluster that is problematic for some speakers;  and languages made up of those speakers introduce a 'run-up' vowel to smooth the way – the $10 word is epenthetic, and I discussed it here. A star was an aster in Greek but stella in Latin, and the Greek a- is epenthetic. In Spanish estrella (and I may once have known where the 'r' came from); Italian – stella; Catalan – estrella; Romanian – stea... Romance languages 'swing both ways' on this point. One language family that predictably didn't need that 'run-up' vowel was Germanic (I think  – this is an open goal for any Germanic philologist out there).  So the German journal Stern ought, if there were any etymological justice in the world, to be a sister-journal of our Daily Star. Maybe it is, but somehow I doubt it.

That's all for now. I have a memory about the magazine Motor Sport, in connection with the job (mentioned in passing here) that got me arrested, but it'll have to wait.

Update 2014.11.20.15:55 – Added PPPS
PPPS  – wheel reinvention not required. I recalled it here:
<autobiographical_note date_range=1971>
In my youth I spent a few months selling magazine subscriptions, as mentioned in a previous post. The publishers bolstered the advertising sales of lesser-known titles by bundling them with big names. So Caza y Pesca and Blanco y Negro were thrown in when you bought a subscription to Newsweek.

One of the English titles that I had for sale was Motor Sport. So  into my fairly competent spiel (I had learned the necessary Spanish off pat) I dropped these three totally unrecognizable syllables: /məʊtəspɔ:t/. The Spanish for 'Motor Sport' included an /r/ sounded before the epenthetic vowel that precedes the outlandish consonant cluster /sp/.
          Outlandish, that is, at the beginning of a [BK added in Nov. '14 update: Spanish] word. 
</autobiographical_note>



 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 here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

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

Freebies (Teaching resources:  nearly over 47,800 views  and well over 6,400 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 nearly 2,400 views and 1,000 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.








Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A metter for further discussion, don'cher'now

Geddit? Metaphor. Oh well... This post is a spinoff from my last piece, about food metaphors – specifically, the update about alcohol. In it, I admitted to a problem with the derivation of 'Madeira' from the word for wood –  it was the wrong kind of 'wood':
All the authorities I've looked at confirm this, but I can't say I'm entirely satisfied. Madeira is the substance rather than the silvan entity.
It's a happy(-ish, if that sort of thing floats your boat) coincidence that the part of Madeira awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1999 echoes the penultimate word in that periphrasis, the  laurisilva. or laurel forest:
<potential_rant theme="laurel" suspected_agent="glyphosate" advice="Don't go there">
(which reminds me of Li'l Miss Lebensraum next door and The Curious Incident of the Laurel in the Night-time...)

</potential_rant> 
...But I am breathing deeply, and will carry on as normal.

Madeira is (or was, and  bits of it still are) densely wooded. But you don't call St Vincent 'Arrowroot'.
<autobiographical note>
This bit of useless knowledge comes from a calypso I was exposed to at my primary school, about West Indian exports. The relevant lines were:
St Vincent is cute
For sea-islan' cotton
And arrowroot
</autobiographical note>
I don't  know what arrowroot is exactly, but I know it was one of St Vincent's two major export crops back in the day.

So anyway, what happened?

Portugal 'discovered' the island in the early 15th century, though –  like many discoveries of a geopolitical nature –  someone else got there first.

Latin had various words for wood; one was  lignum (particularly firewood  –  my old title-page-less nineteenth-century dictionary says it was '[Prob. from lig-o  "to tie"]' which makes sense –  but it was very flexible; Juvenal used it metonymically to mean a writing tablet*. That dictionary also cites Horace's version of 'carrying coals to Newcastle': 'in silvam ligna ferre'  (spookily prescient of him when you think of 'lignite' and the Spanish for railway (ferrocarril) ...OK, not really). Wood as building matter was materia or materies. I think I've already mentioned (somewhere in this blog) Vulgar Latin's preference for first and second declensions over the less regular third, fourth, and fifth; less to remember – and we are often dealing with Latin for speakers of  a Second or Other Language (LSOL?)

Lignum is the root of the Spanish leño, and [not that simple...] materia is the root of the Portuguese madeira (no prizes, by now, for recognizing metathesis here – the r and the i. This commonplace in language development is the subject of one of my more popular backnumbers.)

A Castilian monk (again not the first, but possibly – except for an alleged visit by the Vikings – the first in the post-Roman world) 'discovered' the island too:
a Castilian monk also identified the location of the islands in their present location, with the names Leiname (modern Italian legname, cognate of Portuguese madeira, "wood"), Diserta and Puerto Santo.
So says Wikipedia, and I don't have time to trace it back to a sounder source.

Then along came the Portuguese and spat in their beer (as it were), changing 'Leiname' to their own Madeira (even though I'm not  at all sure that 'Leiname' was a Hispanized word at all; maybe it was the name applied by the islanders to the land of their fathers, with no reference to wood. But this is entirely speculative. All I have found  so far is that there is no reference to Leiname in the
Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch‡, the fount of all wisdom for Vulgar Latin. My next port of call, but not today, is an historical dictionary of Spanish.

Anyway, the  Portuguese version stuck. The marvellous  Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch is in no doubt about the meaning: Holz 'wood' –  and you can't get much clearer than a monosyllable.


Must go. Other fish to fry (and there goes another culinary metaphor).


b
PS
The Book hasn't gone away. Read on...

Tales from the word face

Things have been a bit quiet (well, absolutely quiet) of late on this front. I have had a paid job (remember them?) since late Summer, and the bits of work I've done on When Vowels Get Together have involved casting bread on the waters (by which I don't mean Feeding the ducks)

My latest wheeze has been a letter to the Open University's alumni magazine:
I have studied for two post-graduate diplomas. The first was in Computing for Commerce and Industry, and during it I was sponsored by my employer, Compaq when the course started (1999) and HP when it finished (2003). My aim was to extend my usefulness as an employee in the world of IT. Unfortunately, this did not work as I was laid off in 2004. 
So I retrained as a teacher (a PGCE from a bricks and mortar university). But, meaning to specialize in ESOL/EFL, I returned to the OU to study for an MEd in Applied Linguistics. I found, though, after happily taking 2 or 3 courses (I forget the precise details) that to finalize the MEd I would have to take a course that was useless to me; as I was now self-financing, and otherwise unemployed, I had to bail out, taking the interim Advanced Diploma as a consolation prize.

Now, to fill the gap left by OU studies, I started writing a Dictionary of Vowels and their Sounds - which I entered for the ELTons 2012. The planned book (with a number of specimen chapters) was shortlisted but did not win. (My '15 minutes of fame' are at 19'17"- 19'30" of that video, or those with less time can scroll down to the foot of that page. You'll note that, with typical over-statement, Marshall McLuhan was out by about 14'47".) 
Rather than just forget the specimen chapters (which covered words containing all the vowel-pairs containing a U), I rethought my aims and started work on a new book - When Vowels Get Together. When I had done AA-AU, I sent it to my son for comments, and for ease of process I made it available on Kindle - I told only him though. 
To my surprise he announced it on Twitter, and in the first 5 days it had been downloaded more than 200 times. At this stage I felt I had to continue; and, with the intention of getting people interested in the progress of the then very partial book, I started a blog: Harmless Drudgery (I'm sure many of your readers will recognize the reference to Dr Johnson's definition of a lexicographer). It has now been downloaded well over 1,000 times; and while this does not mean it has that many readers, or anything like it  - as there have been repeat downloads by people tracking the book's progress - it's still a milestone that I find quite satisfying. 
In the mid-late-noughties, between my two OU courses, I had been to an OU seminar on digital technology, run by Simon <somebody> (not 'Buckminster-Fuller', but something like that) and made a number of new contacts, all of whom used Twitter, and most of whom worked for the OU - either as ALs or in a permanent position. 
Returning to my book, by September 2013 I had reached the vowel pair 'OU'; this was the culmination of V4 of the book (diphthongs - V1, E -V2...). And to announce its near-readiness I devoted a blogpost to an excerpt from the 'OU' section, using the title 'OU, you are awful'. The pun (it was a Dick Emery catchphrase) was not entirely gratuitous. 'OU' is by far the most common vowel-pair used in the source dictionary I had used (both as a source of data [for each pair the book lists all the English words listed by that dictionary, with a few others where Macmillan had made what seemed to me a glaring omission]; and as a reference [each word listed is linked to the online Dictionary]). To quote my book: 
Of the 25 vowel pairs, 16 have fewer than 1,000 hits – most of which have fewer than 500, and about half fewer than 100. Of the remaining 9, 5 have fewer than 2,000. Of the remaining 4, OU is more than 1,000 hits ahead of the second-placed EA. 
                   Knowles, Bob (2013-11-19). When Vowels Get Together (Kindle Locations 5054-5056).  . Kindle Edition.
So it is 'awful', in a sense, for learners. 
However, I was deluged  with tweets [HD: A bit of an exaggeration, but I did get one.] from people who - seeing my title - assumed I was bad-mouthing the OU. But I wasn't, as this shows! 
I am grateful to the OU for indirectly leading me into the world of self-publishing. 
Bob Knowles 
PS I attach a flyer about the book in case you would think it appropriate to work this rather overlong letter into an article.
Update 2014.11.06.09:15 – added note:
† This is not to say that this is the only word. Among the options, Spanish has madera and Portuguese has lenho. By changing the name, Portugal was not saying 'A feeg for your feelthy leño. We are calling it Madeira, to remove all trace of your influence.' They were simply asserting their right to change the name, or perhaps covering their tracks – 'This isn't what others have known as Leiname, it's Madeira',  changing the name so as to stake their claim – in the way of all colonizing powers.


Update 2014.11.09.15:20– added note
‡ I spoke too soon. Well, I don't believe there is reference to the word leiname in that dictionary, but there is the next best thing – reference to the Italian legname and to the Spanish leñame.  Here's the article:

Vorrat von Brennholz auf Schiffen it says: 'Supply of firewood on ships'; which suggests that the island was known as a place where ships could put in to stock up on firewood.  That makes sense: the island was named after its usefulness as a source of wood for a particular purpose. It seems to me that the substitution of the name Madeira by the colonizing  Portuguese deprived the name of some of its usefulness. But as 'Ayers Rock', 'Rhodesia', 'Lake Victoria', and thousands (if not millions) of other colonial place-names show, usefulness is not a notable concern of colonial  powers.

Update 2015.12.06.22:45 – added note:
*Another metonymical use, a bit closer to home, is the (Italian) score-marking that tells a string player to produce a percussive effect with the back of the bow: col legno.

 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 here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

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

Freebies (Teaching resources:  over 47,550 views  and nearly 6,400 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 nearly 2,400 views and 1,000 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.