Yesterday’s column piqued a friend’s curiosity. In an email he asked what Thai words that I remember have made it into English? My tour of duty in Southeast Asia was 1972-73, but I quickly remembered one word — nitnoy. It’s online in the Urban Dictionary. Nitnoy — “A little bit” – from Thai “Nit Noi”.
Category Archives: The English Language
If the English language is so idiomatic (as discussed yesterday), why does it enjoy worldwide popularity? Language-wise, the book The Story of English gives three reasons: — Unlike all the other European languages, gender is determined by meaning, so a noun doesn’t have to be matched with the right article. For example, in French the moon
Beware of heard, a dreadful word That looks like beard and sounds like bird, And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead — For goodness’ sake, don’t call it deed! Presumably written by a frustrated immigrant trying to learn the language, this poem exemplifies the inconsistencies in English. As related in The Story of English
Having spent 15 years in the publishing business, I know there’s no such thing as a perfect book.(And if there ever were, the computer would eat the file.) So what about dictionaries? In the book The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, Bill Bryson explains one error. The 1934 Merriam-Webster International Dictionary