Language · Notes from West London

“The rubbish is piling up in the street”

There hasn’t been a strike by local refuse collectors (or bin-men as we used to call them) for many years. I can’t remember the last one in our corner of West London; 30 years ago, maybe more. Occasionally in those intervening decades there have been strikes elsewhere in the UK and they will make the… Continue reading “The rubbish is piling up in the street”

Language · Learning

Differed and deferred, offered and occurred

Differed, deferred, offered, occurred: words like this featured in my 9-year-old daughter’s Spelling List last weekend, along with swimmer, travelled and others that either repeat the last letter of a verb when used in other forms, or they don’t. It got me thinking about rules of spelling and how we generalize information as we learn.… Continue reading Differed and deferred, offered and occurred

Health · Language

“Routine Operations”

In a recent TV news item about the junior doctors’ strike the presenter spoke about operations being cancelled. The presenter said, “Routine operations, such as hip replacements and knee replacements” were being cancelled. My immediate thought was, “Since when has a hip replacement been routine?” but maybe I’m just not familiar enough with medical terminology.… Continue reading “Routine Operations”