Tag: Language

Let me google that for you

by Alex on Oct.02, 2009, under Blog

How many times do people ask you questions that can be answered with a simple websearch? Loads I’d warrant. I find it particularly odd/lazy, especially in and office-based situation, when it would have taken less time to google your question than to ask someone else and have them google it and give you the answer.

Anyway, here’s a particularly banterous way to deal with mundane questions and to unsubtly hint to the questioner that they might not waste your time and find the answer themselves:

Let me Google that for you (dot com)

Type in the question they’ve asked, copy the link that is generated by the site and e-mail it to them. The page they’re taken to shows their question being typed into Google and then takes them to the search results – brilliant.

Interestingly, well to me and maybe other linguaphiles (can’t find that word in a dictionary by the way) I’d written ‘find the answer themself‘ above. Apparently ‘themself’ is not good use of English, details of which are below:

Ask Oxford

Language Log

Canadian Department of Justice

Leave a Comment :, , more...

What came first, the phrase or the drink?

by Alex on May.21, 2009, under Blog


It’s true – look

OK, so this ‘what came first’ question is not as thought-provoking as the chicken or egg debate and neither is it unanswerable. But as per usual, I can’t be arsed to look for the answer.

So, what came first, the phrase ‘to open a can of whoop ass on someone’ or the ‘energy drink’ manufactured by the Jones Soda Company of Seattle that goes by the name of ‘Whoop Ass’ and comes in cans?

I’ll let you guys decide:

[memedex: pollid#489581]

Leave a Comment :, more...

Non-vulgar yet nonetheless funny use of the word ‘cum’

by Alex on May.20, 2009, under Blog

The pics below appeal to the pseudo-puerile part of my sense of humour. They were taken in India:

Leave a Comment :, , more...

A more obvious linguistic link? Maybe not…

by Alex on May.06, 2009, under Blog

Writing that last blog got me athinking of a conversation I had the other day with one of my Spanish teachers.

Spanish for horse is caballo, and for gentleman is caballero. Shirley the etymological link is obvious? It should be yet more obvious when you consider that a shoe is zapato and a shoe maker slash mender slash vendor is a zapatero. Bread is pan and a baker is a panadero, meat is carne and a butcher carnicero, and so forth. So to form the noun describing the guy (or gal) who has something to do with an object you make a root from the object and add an ‘ero’-based suffix (or ‘era’ for females).

Yet, when I suggested that caballero came from caballo, I was met with a laugh and told that caballero has nothing to do with caballo. Odd!

I’m not sure if uniquely my Spanish teacher just didn’t know that one was born of the other, or had simply never given it any thought. I’ll ask around so as to get a consensus…

So I asked the manager of the language school and he also laughed. I just asked a guy in the interweb place and he knew the connection and that it was originally equivalent to the English word ‘knight’. So the latest score for the question ‘does caballero have anything to do with caballo’ is:

I laugh in your face: 2
It comes from the word ‘knight’: 1

2 Comments :, , more...

What do cows have to do with vaccines?

by Alex on May.06, 2009, under Blog

There is no superficial linguistic link between the words cow and vaccine, in English.

Chatting yesterday about pig flu with my Nicaraguan family they used the word ‘vacuna’, meaning vaccine. Discussing the same topic this morning it dawned on me that vacuna must come from vaca, the word for cow. Remembering the story of how it was noted that milkmaids exposed to cowpox were immune to smallpox and then, by way of forcing people to drink large amounts of cowpox-carrying cows’ blood (ok maybe it was done another way, can’t be arsed to Google it), vaccination (both against smallpox and in itself) was born, the link became obvious.

Interesting how the etymology of some words are far more obvious in some languages. I guess in this case it’s ‘cos Spanish is far closer to Latin than is English. I guess we take vaccine from the Latin and cow from, I dunno, some Germanic influence? I’m sure I merember from my schooldays that German for cow is kuh, or something…

6 Comments : more...