This blog tries to be
a home for those who enjoyed posting
on the old BBC Word of Mouth Message board
— and anybody else with an interest in language.

If you want to start a new discussion, please do one of the following:

• Add your new point as a comment here (Click)
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Friday, 8 July 2011

Caro's query

Caro writes

"Oh yes, I might like that [to become an author]. In the meantime I have a query. Someone has asked on another forum when the style of writing 'shippe' for 'ship' and 'beste' for 'best' etc stopped. We have been reading an historical document (you prefer a historical document, don't you?) from about 1575 and it uses these longer forms."

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Author! Author!

Want to become an author? That would seem to be the solution for the problem that so far only I've been the only person capable of starting a thread.

Let me know (by email or in a comment) that you would like to be able to start threads and I will make you an author, thus turning this into a group blog.

I've only just discovered this possibility, so I can't tell you exactly how it will work. It could be fun finding out!

I've learned a little more about how it works. All you need to do is
  1. create a google account
  2. send me your email address
I'll then fix it so that you can create your own posts and edit them.

Hastening demise of I?

Andy Coulson
On Newsnight just now a Conservative politician told Kirsty Wark that judging the possibility of criminal acts by Andy Coulson was 
"not for you or I"
Now this could be explained as a simple extension of the creeping increase of "for you and I". And one of the usual explanations of this is that 
you and I is a 'conjoined' unit, of which only the first pronoun takes the objective case form — for example for him and  or for them and I. You can hardly call the phrase you or I  'conjoined', but it is, arguable, a unit.

However, this can't explain the politician's grammatical choice. Earlier, He's told Kirsty that judgement of Ady Coulson's activities was
"not for you or for I".

This could well be a signal of the future of English grammar. Accusative and dative case forms long ago disappeared from nouns — leaving a small rump of 'objective case' forms for 
  • some personal pronouns (me him her us them and related himself herself themselves)
  • the pronoun that doubles as interrogative and relative (whom)
It's well known that whom is becoming rare in speech, and expressions like between you and I are on the increase. It looks to me as if objective case forms like me  might be reducing still further to the status of first mention only.

Time, ladies and gentleman please?

It looks as if time has been called in the zetaboards 
Word of Mouth saloon — and, indeed, all the other HyperTV drinking holes. We can't even access old postings, the way we can with the old original BBC WoM Board.

If you are a regular old drinker reading this, please consider transferring your custom. It really could be the Last Chance Saloon. 

I'll make you as welcome as I possibly can, although I know the blogger environment is not so friendly or accommodating. Please believe me that it doesn't always go wrong. There are frequent exasperating problems, but they do get fixed. There is a constant problem for new users learning how to post comments. Please believe me that it gets easier as you get used to it.

If you follow two golden rules you'll avoid the most common problems — though not all, alas!

Rule One Remember to Sign in before you start writing a comment.

Rule Two If you realise you've forgotten to Sign in

  1. Copy and save any text you've written
  2. Sign in
  3. Move forward, not back, to the page with the Comment box
  4. Paste the text in (if you've used any formatting tags, you'll need to restore them)
You can't post without an identity of some sort. The way I started on blogger was to create a phantom blog, which I never used until starting this ex-WoM enterprise. There are, of course, other ways but I don't have any knowledge of them. If you do acquire a blogger identity, you can add a little picture. 

You can also use your identity to become a follower, if you wish. This will allow you to send emails to me without knowing my address. So it's relatively easy to start a thread: just email the text to me. (Another way is to post your text as a comment and ask me to make a thread of it.) I may also send emails indirectly to you. (I'll only do this for blog business, and I'll happily stop doing so if you don't want to receive them.)

You can see a list of RECENT POSTS at the right-hnd side of the blog. I'm afraid there's no RECENT COMMENTS list, but you can discover them though the All Comments box under the