All 3 entries tagged English

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February 14, 2007

Kids aren't as stupid as we thought they were

University degrees with significant rises in applications (2007 v 2006):

  • Civil engineering 18,605 up 13%
  • Economics: 37,974 up 12.8%
  • Physics: 19,140 up 12.2%
  • Chemistry: 20,786 up 11.3%
  • Fine art: 9,703 up 10.5%
  • Maths: 33,790 up 10%
  • Music: 21,281 up 9.9%
  • History: 6,021 up 9.2%
  • English: 55,581 up 7.6%
  • Biology: 23,367 up 6%

They’ve obviously noticed that if you’re graduating with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, you may as well do something useful.


January 24, 2007

Britishness is dead. Long live…?

Union Jack The British are feeling less so than ever before. Over the past decade, the number of people calling themselves ‘British’ has fallen from 52% to 44%. And while Scots nationalism has increased, Wales has remained ambivalent about its own identity.

Ask a Scot whether they are British or Scottish, and according to the British Social Attitudes Survey, nearly 80% will say Scottish. Ask a Welshman whether they are Welsh or British, and 60% will say they’re Welsh (the same figure as 30 years ago). And half of Englishmen claim to be British.

This shows a few things…

  • We seem to be heading nearer and nearer completely separate identities.
  • The English identity is relatively weak
  • And the Welsh seem unlikely to want further devolution, even though the Assembly is considered toothless.

December 27, 2006

Stuff the dictionary

If there’s one thing that Scrabble, Boggle or Countdown are any good for, it’s reminding you how stupid the English language is. My mum asked a good question:

How do you pronounce “Ough”?

Is it like Cough? Bough? Dough? Nought? Thorough? Through?

The Americans can’t spell Colour. But then neither can we. It should be culur or even culler.

Why do we put up with this traditionalist nonsense? Why don’t we march on Oxford and inform the OED they’re wrong?

Millions of kids ‘fail’ at English. But is it surprising when the English language is such a ruddy great big hurdle to speaking, reading and writing?

There’s things I love about English. The lack of all those male/female verbs for one thing. The EU should make everyone speak English. They’d save billions on translation. But we need to sort out our pronunciation first.

Britain’s quite a traditional country but we’ve never been afraid of doing something differently if the first attempt didn’t work. Look at Wembley. The railways. The M6. Corner shops.

So dictionary people, stop inventing utterly useless fad-words like “Crunk” and “Celebutante” and start doing something useful! You can start with weird, believe and leisure. Shall we just ban ‘i before e’ outright?


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