I have to write a blog today to celebrate it being 1.1.11!
As I’ve said before, it’s always a good idea to check your words against a big dictionary for their dates. We have to be careful when using words such as ‘electric’, and avoid any recipes involving tomatoes or maize prior to the discovery of South America. It’s a minefield and we have to be very careful where we tread.
‘Hallucination’ for example is 17th century in origin. Does that mean they never had hallucinations before that? No, it just means they called it something else, probably ‘phantasms’. Words give a powerful insight into how people saw the world. Hallucinations are the product of a disordered mind; phantasms are apparitions of something or someone usually out of view.
I was browsing the dictionary today and with great delight happened upon the word cooee. To my surprise, this is not the call of a neighbour wearing a pinny and with a headscarf knotted round her head, come to borrow a cup of sugar (stereotypical image of postwar Britain in the 40s and 50s). No, it was a signal of the Australian aborigines, copied by 18th century settlers. How tragic if sweet little calls of cooee! in the bush contributed to near extinction of an entire culture. I’m surprised Monty Python missed that one.
Happy New Year everyone. Any interesting resolutions?