Commentary, Meanings of words, Words With Friends

The Force of Od…

Any of you Star Wars fans? I am and own all the films, although admittedly the first (last) three are not my favourites. I’m also excited about the next one, The Force Awakens, which is going to be less CGI and will have many of the original cast in it.

The reason for writing this piece is that whilst I’ve long known that ‘od’ was a playable word in Words With Friends I never bothered to actually find out what it meant. Fortunately WWF has recently introduced a dictionary feature which displays the meanings of words that either you or your opponent play.

noun: od
  1. a hypothetical power once thought to pervade nature and account for various scientific phenomena.

Sound familiar?

I’m not religious but would describe myself as spiritual. I’ve long believed in the possibility of a life ‘force’ that exists in all living things and doesn’t dissipate or cease to exist after death. Whether it’s absorbed or reallocated I wouldn’t be able to say. Nor do I know if your consciousness or sense of ‘self’ continues on.

If pushed on the subject of religion I would have to state myself as an atheist rather than agnostic. I like to think I have a very open mind but also like to hedge my bets. I won’t deny the possibility of a god any more than I do the existence of extraterrestrials.

When it comes to filling out the ubiquitous ‘equal opportunites’ forms that we are so often requested to do, I usually put ‘other’ by the religion question but on occasion like to put ‘Jedi’. It’s never been commented upon.

May the Od be with you…

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Commentary, Education, General Humour, Language

The ironing is delicious…

‘I think the mouses climb in up the ivory’ – a classic line uttered by my neighbour over the garden fence when we were sitting out on a sunny day.

We (my partner and I) then spent a fruitless half-hour trying to tactfully educate her in proper plurals (mice), botany (ivy) and zoology (ivory). She stated at the end of the ‘lesson’ that she preferred her version (because it was funnier) and that she was too old to change (31).

Do you ever correct people on their use of english or just remain increduously silent preferring not to rock the boat or annoy/embarrass them?

I’ve often been told that it’s a very annoying habit of mine. I suspect it stems from when I taught English As a Foreign Language to bored, middle-aged Chinese housewives in Hong Kong. I did this in my late teens when living there as a way to make some extra dollars. My primary employment was as a swimming teacher where the students where advised NOT to open their mouths unnecessarily or suffer the painful consequences.

With more advanced students we taught the use of idioms and proverbs such as ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’. The lessons were often not very successful due to the cultural differences. To my recollection the Chinese version is more similar to ‘Don’t step on the dogs tail, he’ll bite you’ – probably more pragmatic. I think the Chinese generally think a bit bigger and worry more about waking dragons up rather than puppies.

We are often regaled with stories of the funny things children say (I seem to remember a TV series being made on that particular topic) but why do adults ‘cock it up’? (Do you know where that expression comes from? – check here for a list of possibilites – http://www.english-for-students.com/Cock-Up.html – it’s fascinating)

The obvious answer is that poor education/upbringing is to blame and that’s certainly partly true but could there be other explanations? Some people will say things ‘wrong’ to get a laugh and I wonder if perhaps others do it either to see if people are actually listening to what they’re saying or to test the intellect of those they are talking with/to.

Anyway I’ll leave it there, I have to get on with the irony…