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The English alphabet has 21 consonants, but there are 24 meaningfully different consonant sounds (25 if you count the one at the end of the Scottish pronunciation of loch, though speakers of several varieties use a ‘k’ sound). Yet English does not make use of every possible combination of consonant and vowel sounds. There is […]more
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important” – Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). There is considerable fascination – quite rightly so – with the longest words in the English language. But an equally curious feature is that of the […]more
In reference to the family name of her soon-to-be beau, 13-year-old Juliet Capulet once told nobody in particular that ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. But would it? As the Simpson men convincingly rebut: Bart: Not if you called ’em stench-blossoms. Homer: Or crapweeds. Marge: I’d sure hate to get a dozen […]more