Friday 19 November 2021

Words and phrases that go out of fashion

Odd how expressions go out of fashion. I just said 'Homer nods' and realised I haven't said or heard it said for decades. 

I also suspect I might be the last man to say 'Mr Gladstone' and one of a declining number who say 'Dr Johnson.' I used the expression 'pile Pelion on Ossa' recently talking on Facebook to an erudite professor of Scottish literature who hadn't heard it.

Jeremiad is a word more often read than written and more often written than said aloud. I found myself using it for the first time in my life this year - I love rolling it around in my mouth.

I like all words with an old fashioned long 'i'. Am I the last man to pronounce umbilical umbilEYEcal and marital marEYEtal??

To repeat myself, I seem to be unusual in pronouncing medicine with 2 syllables and very unusual though not unique in rhyming conduit with pundit.

I have decided to try to revive saying man instead of person and England instead of the UK, but that is a private foible.

I was brought up to say '5 and 20 to' or past the hour and to pronounce forehead forred. I gave up the former but not the latter.

I have just been told that Fowler in his magisterial English Usage says myth has a long 'i'. I am told Mary Beard pronounces it like that. I confess I had no idea. Fowler originally pronounced "often" orphan but he said he later went over to offen and said he would move on to saying offtten.

More about words and phrases I like and dislike, if you can stand any more, here.

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