A bit late in this National Say Something Nice Day, but…better late than never. I hope you’ve had a good one and have a lovely…
In an up-to-date corpus of 20 varieties of English, roadmap is about twice as common as road map. In a corpus built in 2104, the two forms were even-stevens, just about, but by the time of a 2018 corpus the ratio was 3:1 in favour of roadmap. It’s a historical process that has happened repeatedly. When Jane Austen wrote any body she did not mean ‘any old cadaver’; body in her sense meant ‘person’.
Learning Italian in the UK is nowadays a minority pursuit. In contrast, in the late sixteenth century to know it was an important weapon in the intellectual armoury of the elite: Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth and James VI and I’s consort, Anne of Denmark, all knew la bella lingua. John Florio, the author of the first substantial Italian-English dictionary, was a groom of Queen Anne’s chamber and enjoyed a position at court. Torriano inherited Florio’s manuscripts and published in 1639 New and Easie Directions for attaining the Thuscan Italian tongue and the year after that The Italian Tutor.
Another great American also made use of our vinegary wisdom. In an address to the Temperance Society in 1842, Abraham Lincoln enjoined his listeners thusly, adding alliteration into the bargain:
Sleaze, I maintain, possesses excellent mouthfeel – as the wine buffs and foodies would style it. Which is why it rears its ugly head with greater than average frequency – statistically speaking – in journalese. If it had a colour, it would be orange. If it had a voice, it would sound loud and brassy.
My post for yesterday’s Earth Day and all the interesting words we use to talk about Mother Earth. April 22 is Earth Day, so Collins…