Q: G'day Kel, I wrote you earlier on Presume and Assume. I now raise two other words with very close if not identical meaning, Nude and Denude, i mean, really!! Campbell, Redlynch.
A: They are different parts of speech. "Denude" is a a verb, an action; "nude" is a noun--the result of performing the action. both "denude" and "nude" can be used as adjectives, and "nude" can also be used as an adverb. But their central functions, and the reason for the existence of the two words, are their verb and noun functions.
Q: Why do people use how come instead of Why? Scott, Ruse.
A: The questions I can never answer are those about why people use this language instead of that. Like you I am simply puzzled. I cannot see into their heads or understand their motivation. "How come" is a colloquial American expression first recorded in 1848. Perhaps people who choose to use it have been over-influenced by American English? "Why" (on the other hand) is a good old Anglo-Saxon expression that has been part of the English language for over a thousand years. "How come" sounds awkward and graceless to my ears. So I wish understood why some people choose it.
Q: Bonza sounds so Australian but where does it come from?? Bless yer, Terry, Tuross Head.
A: Is it Australian. Probably derived from a combination of the French word "bon" ("good") and the Spanish word "bonanza." In its earliest form it was something like "bonster" until it became the word we know today.
Q: I’m continually appalled and disappointed in our politicians especially, and more broadly our commentators pronunciation of Australia. It seems to me that Ustraya has become normalised. Mike, Bracken Ridge.
A: It would be nice if politicians saw part of their task as treasuring the language. But they appear not to. Remember that in our broadest, flatest accent the word "Australian" is pronounced as "Strine." So it could be worse!
Q: Hi Kel, We all know that politicians try and out-do each with nonsensical statements to confound the public, but... when a Politician makes an Unapologetic statement. What does this mean? Is this similar to an "unreserved" statement? Tom, Kingsford.
A: It's in a slightly different field to "unreserved" (that implies no limitations)--whereas "unapologetic" statements tend to be more precise, but also more provocative. An "unapologetic" statement is one some people many not like -- but is being anyway, with no apology for treading on their toes.
Q: What is the origin of 'ratbag'? Thanks Kel, I find your subject fascinating. Len, Surfers Paradise.
A: It's World War One army slang. The experts are uncertain as to the exact origin. It may have been an abbreviation of "ration bag", or (one has suggested) it may be because the women packing Red Cross care packages for the troops slipped propaganda leaflets into the packages full or "ratty" ideas. Uncertainty, I'm afraid, still reigns!
Q: My mother used to say when I asked her what my present was she would say a wing wong to a goose's bridle whereabouts did that come from. Anita, Black's Beach.
A: This is an expression I have often been asked about. Sometimes it's slightly different as in "wig wam for a goose's bridle". It means nothing. It was coined in 19th century as a nonsense expression that parents would use as a way of not explaining something to their children. It was a way of amusingly deflecting small children who asked endless questions that their parents either couldn't answer, or couldn't be bothered answering. So it's not a coded expression full of meaning -- just a bunch of nonsense words used to deflect children.
Q: Here is a new phrase I just came across today. It may become more common next year. Just bear it in mind, don't mention it on TV yet or it could mean trouble for Sky News. The 2 words are JAB REMORSE. I saw this in a Dr Mercola's email, where he gave instructions for what to do / how to treat yourself when sorry you were vaxxed. He gives a list of vitamins, supplements, tests etc. that may help. Heather, Winchelsea.
A: This is fascinating! Let's see if it catches on. I somehow doubt it will. Feeling "jab remorse" strikes me as a most unlikely reaction to being protected from Covid. I suspect this interesting expression is just vanish into the shadows!
Q: Two verbs that have always been easy to 'misuse', intriguing, virtually have the same meaning. Presume and Assume. Same linguistically sounding, spelt differently, mean much the same. Are the origins of these words so different or is this an overreach of the English vocabulary dialect? Cheers, Campbell, Redlynch.
A: They both come (ultimately) from Latin source words. The second syllable in both (the -sume part) comes from a Latin word referring to "self." They both came into English with the idea of "taking it upon oneself." So, yes, closely related in meaning.
Q: Kel, what is the difference between ‘sooner’ and ‘earlier’? What is the correct way of using these two words? David, Hughes.
A: Normally "earlier" refers to the past and "sooner" to the future. We talk about something that happened in the recent past as having happened "earlier." But when we look forward we talking about something that will happen "sooner" than something else.
Q: In the last year I have noticed that people on TV and radio say "gunna" instead of "going to". If I switch on radio or TV it is sometimes only a few minutes before I hear it. I rarely hear "going to" Regards Gwen, Rivett.
A: "Gunna" is a well established Australian colloquialism. It's recorded from 1893. It's in the Macquarie and even in the great Oxford English Dictionary. The question is: how informal (or colloquial) do we want broadcasting to be?
Q: Hi Kel, Words like distribute and contribute are wrongly (in my view) pronounced in general by media and commentators. The accent is on the second syllable conTRIB....NOT CONTRIBUTE, with the accent on the last syllable. Please tell me how this irritating trend has entered the language! Margaret, Toowoomba.
A: The Oxford says that both pronunciations of both words are acceptable. That's the official ruling. I agree with you, but the linguistic authorities don't support us!
Q: This one is about the Facebook algorithm for "hate speech". My partner posted "Penny Wong is trying to find a chink in Peter Dutton's armour. This got a ban for one week for hate speech. Apparently today "chink" no matter how used is a racial slur. AI is more artificial than intelligent. What's your call? David, Nerang.
A: We need to remember that computers are just calculating machines--high powered, very fast computational idiots. The machines can't really understand English idioms, and never will. And it shows Facebook to be stupid to rely on the idiocy of the whirring 1s and 0s of artificial intelligence.
Q: The correct pronunciation of Lieutenant. Shane, Tynong North.
A: It depends where you are. The standard American pronunciation is "loo-tenant", while the standard British and Australian pronunciation is "leff-tenant." I think we should stick to our pronunciation and (and leave the Americans looking confused at how we say it!)
Q: I watch Peta every day and love your contribution. I am continually annoyed at the pronunciation of controversy. Is it controversy or controversy? I do hope you get this email. Joan, Little Mountain.
A: Personally I prefer the pronunciation that puts the emphasis on the second syllable: controversy. But the Oxford says both pronunciation are acceptable. I wish everyone said it my way, but this is probably one we can't win!
Q: Can you please highlight the difference between VISION IMPAIRED and VISUALLY IMPAIRED to those responsible. The number of times I see and hear these terms misrepresented in the press and on television including Sky News is disappointing. Ray, Mount Gambier.
A: The Macquarie treats "vision impaired" and "visually impaired" as exact synonyms, with the meaning of "deficient in sight, ranging from complete blindness to partial vision." The Oxford only records "visually impaired" (earliest citation 1947) and has never heard of "vision impaired." If there is a distinction between the two terms it may be a legal one, but it is certainly not a linguistic one.
Q: Kel, I love your spot on Sky News. Can you put some light on the phrase: "A culture of".
It is used in reference to TIM PAINE - There is "a culture" in cricket. In the Brittany Higgins case - There is "a culture" within Parliament. One off events that should be condemned, suddenly become "a culture of" casting a cloud over innocent people and institutions. Can you explain?
Regards, Harold, Meridan Plains.
A: In the 1970s an American economist was studying major corporations in the US and coined the expression "corporate culture." He was trying to name the "atmosphere" in a corporation that influenced behaviour and beliefs without being part of the written rules or regulations or guidelines of the place. His concept then caught and has been applied to a wide range institutions since--including parliament house and the sport of cricket!
Q: Please can you tell me why Australians pronounce PRESUME AS PRESHUME! Bev, Geelong.
A: The hardest questions (the ones I can never really answer) are the "why do people misuse the language" type questions. "Pre-shume" is simply wrong and "pre-sume" is correct. So why do people get it wrong? I wish I knew.
Q: Meaning of: As all get out. Example--it is as hot as all get out. Peter, Cairns.
A: "Get out" (sometimes hyphenated as "get-out") has been around since 1831 with the meaning of " as is possible, as could possibly be." A well settled piece of English idiom.
Q: G'day Kel, As our education system collapses, i lament on our once fabled 'Australian slang' that was hilarious, entertaining, staunch and portrayed early Australians'! As much as i embrace British speak, i also enjoy Aussie slang from our forebears. The Americanisation through media, is devastating our once proud Aussie culture. Campbell, Redlynch.
A: Australian slang is changing not dying. The earlier generation of Aussies who called each "cobber" had not heard the expression "budgie smugglers." This is a living language, flowing and changing all the time. But it is as bright as a box of budgies and as strong as a Mallee bull, Our language remains the most colourful dialect of English on the planet.
Q: In the movie, the power of the dog, the star calls his brother fatso. The movie is set in Montana 1925 and is very good but that word fatso just didn't seem to fit. Was that word around then and would it have been used on the rough tough cattle ranch. Thanks. Danny, Wellard.
A: "Fatso" is American in origin, but the earliest recorded citation is from 1944. So, you're right--it was probably not in used in 1925.
Q: There is one word that is “constantly” mispronounced. It is a name, and for some unknown reason it has been given French sounds and connotations. When in fact it is Polish and should be pronounced as written “P_a_l_a_s_z_u_k”--The premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszuck. Maybe a banter with Peta will divulge / bring out the reason for the abuse of this person’s name. Steve Bairnsdale.
A: The usual practice with journalists is to let people tell us how they want their name pronounced. I remember many years ago when I was compering "AM" on ABC radio we sent a reporter with a tape recorder to ask Jo Bjelke Petersen how he wanted his name pronounced. The pronunciation of the current Queensland premier's name is the one she prefers. She may be wrong, but it's her name and we go along with her choice on this.
Q: Hi Kel. A word not heard much today is VAIN, particularly when used as a descriptor or explanation regarding a person or persons. It was used often during my growing years and no doubt throughout the previous generations to discourage self obsession. Those lessons stay with today. Can you advise on its meaning, it’s origins, it power or lack thereof and why it has faded somewhat in the English language today. Thanks. Lee, Melbourne.
A: Today we associate "vain" with egotism and peacock pride -- but if you look at the source, originally it meant: "Devoid of real value, worth, or significance; idle, unprofitable, useless, worthless; of no effect, force, or power; fruitless, futile, unavailing." It comes from the Latin vanus meaning "empty." Sadly it seems that a lot of prominent people today suffer from self-important emptiness.
Q: Re your discussion with Peta last week about medical pronunciations. just a thought!
Our medical schools have , so far, been from the UK or Europe backgrounds with the same pronunciations. With so many American medical films and shows in recent years the viewing public take their speech from those, this applies also to words like territORY, commentARY. cereMOANY and so on. So our Americanisation continues. (I have American grandchildren so am not in a position to complain !!) Judith, Newtown.
A: There are two mitigating factors. The first is that our medical schools have what is called a "corporate culture" which each generation of students tends to absorb (almost unconsciously). That means established pronunciations tend to be handed on. Second, Australians do not (on the whole) just swallow Americanisms. There is a long history of the Australian language picking and choosing which Americanism to borrow. It's still our language!
Q: Hi Kel, people who recommend and sell glasses and contacts are often called “optometrists” or “eye doctors” in the American & Australian English. However, in British English, call them “opticians”. Considering that Australian English is usually closer to British English, is the usage of the word “optician” still correct in Australian English? David, Springvale.
A: The two words are both English in origin, and are not exact synonyms. Strictly speaking "optician" means a maker of optical instruments, and "optometrist" means one who measures vision. But they are clearly close enough for either to be used to describe someone who measures vision and prescribes spectacles (or contacts). Why one should be more common in the UK than here I don't understand. It would be correct to use either in Australia.
Q: In the context of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 currently before the NSW Parliament, could you please provide a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the word 'Euthanasia' as at 1 January 1997. Also please Kel, please provide the same definition in the Macquarie English Dictionary as at 1 January 1997. Thank you very much Kel. Geoff, Eastwood.
A: The word is what I call a "pretend" Greek word -- meaning it was never used by the ancient Greeks but was constructed much later (in this case in the 17th century) by English speakers. It comes from Greek roots that literally mean "good death." As such, it has always struck me as a nonsense expression -- there are no "good" deaths: every death means loss and separation and broken hearts. But the contrast you ask for with the Macquarie is interesting. Ignoring the etymology of the word they define it as "mercy killing." Which is both honest and dishonest at the same time. Honest because it admits that what is being talked about is killing. Dishonest because it is hard to reconcile killing with mercy.
Q: Hi Kel. I watch you on Credlin every Wednesday evening and send you congratulations on your always interesting segment. I totally understood your reasoning behind the pronunciation of ‘kilometre’ this past week, so easy to understand once it’s explained.
I’ve just ordered a copy of your book The Story of Australian English which amazingly will arrive tomorrow. The reason I’m writing to you is: Do you have a regular podcast or similar I can subscribe to please? Listening to you is informative and fascinating and something I know I would enjoy. Sincerely yours, Helen, Hamilton.
A: Thank you for your kind words. No, I don't make my own podcast. But I do a weekly half hour "Language Talkback" with John Stanley for the Nine Radio Network that is then made available as a podcast. I do the show every Thursday night, so the podcast is available every Friday. But here's the bad news -- being the time of year it is, the show (and the podcast) is about to go into its Christmas/New Year recess. I'll tell you on the website when it restarts.
Q: Hi Kel, I have been watching you on PETA Credlin and a question for you, can you explain the “i before e except after c?, I have been troubled with this since my primary school days, I am 75 retired and still don’t understand it. There are some words that don’t comply with this. Barry, Tweed Heads.
A: The rule (or "guideline" would be a better word) was coined as a mnemonic device to teach children a common pattern in spelling English words. It is, as you point out, not a universal pattern (e.g. science, their, height, weight, and quite a few others). It becomes a better rule when expanded to "I before E when it sounds like (or when it always sounds like) 'ee'." In that form there are still a few exceptions (caffeine, protein) but not many.
Q: As a child (over 60 years ago), my father taught us kids to spell "antidisestablishmentarianism" as a fun word to use. We would end up being able to spell it out loud really quickly, but of course were not particularly interested at that time of understanding the meaning. My question is "how often is the word utilized (or should that be utilised - US spelling) in today's vocabulary? regards, David, Uralba.
A: "antidisestablishmentarianism" is these days only ever used in discussions about the longest word in the English (which it is not!)
Q: With boys sexting,i think the term sexting should be modernized and re named cock a google do. Or the old word cock a doodle do ,updated. Paul, Ryde.
A: A clever play on words. But my own reaction to such stories is: what were they thinking!!!
Q: Please Kel, why do people as well as top commentators say "bought" instead of "brought" and boardcast instead of broadcast. Cheers, Margaret, Yass.
A: The first is the product of "lazy mind syndrome" -- the disinclination to think about the word being used ("bought" from "buy"; and "brought" from "bring"). The second is a product of what I call "lazy mouth syndrome."
Q: Hello Kel, I have noticed that our young people are following the Americans by not using ly on the end of words. Adverbs?
He played strong
She ran quick
He fought brave
She does that slow
I find myself getting agitated, so need to breathe slow-ly
You’re a breath of fresh air Kel, you should be writing the national school curriculum. Mike, Brisbane.
A: I hadn't noticed how widely this horrid habit has spread. I thought it was only sports people who spoke like that! Most alarming.
Q: Hello Kel, I truly love hearing your segment on Peta Credlin's podcast. You have given me so many conversation starters and such insight into our crazy Aussie language. I think I bore my wife to tears explaining how to pronounce words correctly and the origin of many common words and phrases. I loved the way you graciously destroyed Peta's pronunciation on kilometre. Anyway, please keep up the good work. I would love to know your thoughts on the pronunciation of the word 'fulfill'. I would say 99% of people (including journalists and TV presenters in Australia and the US) say "fufill"; not pronouncing the 'l' in the middle. It bothers me everytime I hear it but I am more than happy to stand corrected. If you have time, could you please let me know how you believe it should be said. Thank you so much. Kind regards, Dave, Boat Harbour.
A: There is a phenomenon called "the dark L" -- this names the disappearance of the "L" sound from words such as "vulnerable." Your observation of how "fulfill" is said these days is part of that same pattern. Lazy mouth syndrome again!
Q: Kel,  what is the correct pronunciation of “behemoth”? It is beHemoth or BEhemoth? And  is there any such word as “gotten”? Look forward to your segment every week. Cheers, Patricia, Tenterfield.
A:  The mythical sea monster is pronounced be-HEE-moth.  "Gotten" is a real word, recorded at long ago as 1382. It is regarded at antiquated in British English, but is still part of the living language in the US.
Q:  Most presenters on TV refer to people like Dan Andrews Palachuz? Including Peta Credlin; as hapless could you explain to them the meaning of the word?  Also could you enlighten them to where A and An apply? I feel if you use an before a word starting with a vowel most times you'll be correct. Correct me if I'm wrong. John, Taree.
A:  "Hapless" means " destitute of or lacking good fortune; unfortunate, unlucky. Hence also in later use: incompetent, clumsy. " (OED). It goes back to at least 1569, and comes from a Scandinavian source word meaning "good fortune" or "success."  Yes, you are right about the a/an rule. Best to think of it like this: "an" comes before any word that starts with a vowel sound.
Q: I love seeing you on Credlin. Tell me, the word Patio: Is it pronounced Pashio (with a long a) or Pattio . Margie, Killarney Heights.
A: Definitely "patt--io". Where on earth the "payshio" version came from I have no idea. I remember hearing it as a child. I was confused by it then, and I am confused by it still.
Q: I did not pass leaving English, am now 75, and it never ceases to amaze me of the poor grammar that journalists, politicians, teachers use. I would like you to explain several words. Unsurprisingly. I didn’t think this was a word, I was taught not surprisingly, but I hear it constantly used. Kerry, Paynesville.
A: "Unsurprising" is a real word -- recorded from 1671. The adverbial form is newer, recorded from 1961.
Q: One of the errors in the use of words really bugs me. That is the confusion between "affect" and "effect". I admit that the two could be seen to have some overlap in meaning but are really quite distinct. Affect mean to have some influence on, often in an emotional context, whereas effect means to help bring about an outcome or an action. Many times I see the wrong word being used. Michael, Sassafras.
A: The simplest rule is to think of  "affect" as the word for a cause, and  "effect" as the word for a result.  "The strike affected our beer supply" -- it was the cause of our beer supply being cut off!  "We felt the effect of the strike on our beer supply" -- there was result for our beer supply of the strike.
Q: Could you please emphasise on Peta's programme the correct pronunciation of words such as" particularly" and "regularly" , instead of the lazy "particuly" and "reguly". Thank you, David Arundel.
A: The short answer is that with all those words people should pronounce all the syllables. The mispronunciations you draw our attention to are all the product of what I call "lazy mouth" syndrome.
Q: How do you get a new word accepted into our language? When the South Australian health minister advised people not to touch the football when it was kicked over the boundary because it would have been touched by sweaty men. I thought this was a great opportunity for a new word: PERSPERMANIPHOBIA -- Meaning; Fear of sweaty men. What do you think? Peter, Yarrawonga.
A: The only way to get a word into the language (and into the dictionaries) is for it to become widely used. Persuade lots of others to use your word, and get it into print a lot, and the word will become part of the language.
Q: Kel, I am a teacher aide in a Queensland primary school. I am expected to sound 'er' as 'ah'. eg sugar - 'shugah', teacher - 'teachah'. I concede it sounds as it is spoken by many but I am uncomfortable to express the sound in this way. (New readers frequently say futcha (future)
Is this correct? Regards, Chris, Brisbane.
A: All those words end with the shortest vowel sound of all -- little more than a grunt. Linguists call that sound the "schwah" sound. And, yes, it is correct for all those words.
Q: G’day Kel. Thankyou for being in our world! Tonight you entertained us with a segment on pronunciations. I’m wondering whether you’ve ever addressed the creeping rise of incorrect (imo) emphasis in sentences rendered by journalists and news readers? For example, emphasising the adjective rather than the noun ... or mis-weighted adverbs and verbs. Who made the decision to change standard sentence emphases? Did anybody check with anybody before instituting the new protocols? Is it to do with working with autocues? Sometimes sentences are rendered unintelligible or nonsensical by virtue of the clumsy emphases and inflections now commonly used by media. It’s a tricky one to address because not everyone hears inflection, nor is everyone musical or capable of hearing notes in speech. So, these days, I just keep throwing my slipper at the TV screen during breakfast tv!! Luv ya work! David, Kaleen, ACT.
A: Having spent some time trying to train broadcasters, the problem is that these journalists have forgotten the first rule: read the meaning, not just the words. I (and others doing similar training) always stressed understanding the meaning of a text, and reading the text to make that meaning clear. If they did that, they would get it right. I used to teach the "three M rule"--Meaning Matters Most.
Q: Dear Kel, We have a habit of using the wrong word because it sounds like the right one. For example 'bunker down' instead of hunker; 'hone in' instead of home in; 'flaunt the rules' instead of flout; 'a book entitled' instead of titled; 'buckle down' instead of knuckle down. You must be aware of many many more!! Cheers, John, Somerset.
A: There is a now a name for this type of mistake: "wronglish" -- using English wrongly. I'll write about it at some length tomorrow on the website.
Q: Lieutenant... pronunciation of. There is no F in this word, so why pronounce it as leftenant??
Does it go back to the French revolution and the New "language" that came with it? The "Old" French had lieuftenant with the F being silent. But the British being traditionalists kept the old pronunciation. Which is "correct"? Bob, Gailes.
A: In Britain (and Australia) the word is always pronounced "leff-tenant"; in America always as "loo-tenant". The American pronunciation comes from spelling, but where did the British pronunciation come from? The experts are uncertain (the French source word was never spelled with an "F"). The best guess they've come up with is that the older French pronunciation sounded to English ears as if the word should be said with either an "F" or a "V" sound -- and that mistake has stayed with us.
Q: Could you please address the use of amount/number, much/many .. my recollection of use is number and many are used if subject can be counted, and if not amount/ much is used. The media hardly ever use number... Love your segment on the use of language on Credlin. Regards Liz, Golden Beach.
A: You are quite correct. Some things can be counted (the cars parked on the street) and some can't (the air in the room). We use number for the first ("the number of cars parked in the street") and amount for the second ("the amount of air in the room").
Q: Pronunciation of restaurateur. Do we insert an 'n' e.g. Nadi, Fiji is pronounced Nandi. Robert, Albert Park.
A: No. Never insert an "N" sound. A "restaurateur" runs a "restaurant" -- "N" in the second word, not in the first.
Q: How to spell : the farmer was sowing seed in his fields; his wife was sewing a dress in the farmhouse; in fact, they both were •••ing? Alex, Doubleview, WA.
A: They are what are called "homophones" -- words that sound the same even though they are two different words, from different sources, with different meanings.
Q: FCL in shipping language is short for Full Container load. Because the letter F sounds like EF,
is it correct to say “an FCL”, or “a FCL”. I love your segment on Peta Credlin’s show! Thanks, Phil, Rowville.
A: Say "an FCL." The rule about using "an" before a vowel applies to a vowel SOUND -- not just a vowel spelling. In fact, some vowel spellings have a consonant sound and so take "a" as their indefinite article ("a useful thing to know").
Q: 1. I get cranky when "human' is used as a noun (should be an adjective all the time as in human being?)
2. 'gifted', grrrrrrr, a gifted athlete, etc, not when given or donated etc., should be used. ?
3.what has happened to changing 'f' to 'ves', eg roof to rooves, hoof to hooves.
4. when people use which and that when referring to human beings, not who.
5.you must cringe at cooking, gardening shows etc., 'fry up' 'fry down','fry off', heat up', 'heat down', like the old 'continue on', grrrrrrr. and 'dig up' 'prune off' , aggghhhhhh!
6. inverted commas have disappeared from book titles, pet names, is that just laziness?
7. 'curate' and 'curated' seems to be misused often recently too.
8' why was a written L used for the pound symbol, in pounds, shillings and pence, and a d for pence?
(There are lots more, but I'd be grateful if you could clarify above.) ta. Elizabeth, Eerwa Vale.
A: What's quite a list! I'll do my best:
1. The Oxford English Dictionary says the "human" can be used as either an adjective or a noun.
2. "Gift" has been used as a verb since at least 1627, and "gifted" is just the past participle of the verb. I assume that in the case of the athlete the suggestion in that they were born with a certain ability -- that it is a gift from God (which was, for example, how Elvis talked about his singing ability).
3. Those pronunciations are standard and long established. My guess is they part of the consonant shift the Grimm brothers recorded all those years ago.
4. I'll write a long entry on the correct use of "which" and "that" -- coming soon.
5. Yes, I find those extra, extraneous prepositions irritating.
6. Style guides recommend using italics for the titles of books / movies / plays -- and inverted commas for the titles of short stories / essays / poems.
7. This "curated" nonsense is current verbal fad. It is will fade and die as all such fads do.
8. The curved and crossed "L" sign for the pound sterling comes from the Latin libra pondo which was the basic unit of weight in the Roman Empire.
Q: Hi Kel, Could you please tell me more about the word 'Game Changer' ? Regards, Andrew, Thornleigh.
A: It's a sporting expression, first recorded in America in 1962. It means anything that changes the outcome of the game.
Q: The word MEDICINE - I’m sick & tlred of the pronunciation of the word ‘medicine’ as MEDSIN!
As much as I love her to death - PETA is one of the culprits! The other word was “Cerv-eye-I-cal cancer” ! Pronounced “surv’eye’ick’al”. Instead of serv-ick-al. I realise it’s not a very pretty topic, but to the sufferers I think it’s something we should get right. Mick, Brookfield.
A: This is actually a very interesting issue, because the pronunciations you complain about are those used by the medical profession. They say a number of words differently from us lay people (perhaps to indicate that they are members of the "medical tribe"). So it is doctors who say "medsin" for medicine, "servEYEkal" for "cervical" and so on. I think their pronuciations are wrong (linguistically) and the standard pronunciations are to be preferred. No doubt their reply would be "But we are doctors!!!".
Q: My mum and I listen to you on 4bc on Thursday night on our way home from jujitsu. I sent a message last night asking a question but had to go to bed before I heard if you read my text and answered it. Where does the expression 'stole my thunder' come from? Emily, Newport.
A: Back in the 1700s English playwright John Dennis invented a way to make thunder sound effects by shaking a thin sheet of metal off the side of the stage--the resulting crashing noise sounding exactly like loud thunder. He used it often in his plays and was much praised for it. Then he attended another theatre to see someone else's play and heard his sound. He leaped up and shouted loudly -- "They've stolen my thunder." Ever since then the expression has meant to take the credit for something that rightly belongs to another.