[The following items were published on a monthly basis, between January 2005 and July 2008 in BAM NEWS,  which is the official  publication of B.A.M.—The British Association of Monaco. They were all contributed by George SANDULESCU to one and the same column, entitled LANGUAGE CORNER (usually situated on page four).]





BAM NEWS. January 2005. page 4.





[In his Interview to BAM reporter Lois Bolton, published by BAM NEWS in December 2004, George has alleged that “he knows ten languages”…]


Queries to George:

Ever since 1 December, members keep asking me which are “my ten” languages: whenever I choose to add Latin to the list of “ten”, they look so  puzzled !

                    So, I better explain what I mean by “knowing” a language:  in my profession it means, not  so much to spit out a few words in order to buy matches or cigarettes in French or Albanian (I do NOT smoke!), but rather that when one is given a text (written or spoken) in one language, to be able (with a dictionary) to transfer its meaning into another language, which is for me English; and this definition is meant to cover “dead” languages, such as Cornish.

                    I do indeed regret that my ancient Greek is “so” non-existent, having been exterminated in my younger school days by . . . Russian.



BAM  NEWS.  January 2005. page 2.




                                         John Keats & Robert Burns !


                             The English Romantic poet John Keats ( 1795 – 1821 ) loved Scotland, and was a great admirer of Rabbie Burns:  he even wrote a poem entitled On Visiting the Tomb of Burns and even another one, Written in Burns’s Cottage,  which is far more visits than most of us had done . . . in our much longer lives. But Keats was still puzzled about Scotland; here is only the fourth and last part of his funniest poem A Song about Myself :


                                       There was a naughty Boy,

                                                And a naughty Boy was he,

                                       He ran away to Scotland

                                                The people for to see—

                                                          Then he found

                                                          That the ground

                                                          Was as hard,

                                                          That a yard

                                                          Was as long,

                                                          That a song

                                                          Was as merry,

                                                          That a cherry

                                                          Was as red—

                                                          That lead

                                                          Was as weighty,

                                                          That fourscore

                                                          Was as eighty,

                                                          That a door

                                                          Was as wooden

                                                          As in England—

                                                So he stood in his shoes

                                                          And he wondered,

                                                          He wondered,

                                                He stood in his shoes

                                                          And he wondered.


Very “Common Market” his Message, is it not ?


BAM  NEWS. February 2005.




                                     Chaucer Knew Better English !


My Saint Val  language question ? I am asking you: ‘What does parliament mean ?’ Do not pooh-pooh me ! For I mean—what does it mean in addition to what we all know it means ? Can it, for instance, be applied to the animal world ? ‘Never,’ you reply cocksure of yourself. I retort: Can you say  a parliament of birds, I am asking you ? ‘Not over my dead body,’ you reply more aggressively. ‘Yes, you can,’ replied Geoff. Chaucer as early as 1372, in the title of one of his famous St.Valentine piecesThe Parlement of Foules (now spelt Fowl) . . . which ends with the lines: 

Seynt Valentyn, that art ful hy onlofte;

                             Thus singen smale foules for thy sake—

                                       Now welcom somer, with thy sonne softe,

                                       That hast this wintres weders over-shake.

It is a day-dream poem  describing a conference of birds, who are about to choose their mates on St Valentine’s Day (with an absolutely extraordinary range of names of birds, far more than any of us could today dream of).       Actually, today we really say a parliament of owls.  (Check it up if you do not trust me !) Quite, quite close to Chaucer ! In the same way, we also say: a convocation of eagles. a watch of nightingales. a party of jays (how very appropriate !). a skulk of foxes. To say nothing of Ambassadors, Consuls, and other birds of prey !

                 So much for Saint Valentine.  More ‘animals’  of the same ilk next month ! Ta-ta.

P.S.             By the way, try your own English: here are a few ‘household’ words, in alphabetical order; find names of assembly, or of “collectives”, corresponding to them, such as a murder of crows, etc. (Aisling would be delighted to hear from you, for you’d be helping her improve her scrabble !):

ants.             bees.            birds.           cats.             chicks.          chickens.

crows.          ducks.         fish.             foxes.           geese.           goats.

greyhounds.          hares.           horses.          hounds.          kittens.         lions.

oxen.           oysters.          partridge.          pheasants.   pigs.            quail.

ravens.          sheep.                    sparrows.          squirrels.          swans.         swine.

trout.            turkeys.          vipers.           wolves.



BAM  NEWS.  March 2005. page 4.





The Answers to the February Quiz:


a colony of ants. a swarm/grist of bees. a flight/volery of birds. a clowder/clutter of cats. a clutch/cletch of chicks. a peep/brood of chickens. a brace/paddling/team of ducks. a school/shoal of fish. a gaggle/skein/flight/flock of geese. a trip/tribe of goats. a leash of greyhounds. a down/husk of hares. a harras/pair/team of horses. a cry/mute/pack of hounds. a kindle/litter/ kendle of kittens. a pride of lions. a yoke of oxen. a bed of oysters. a covey of partridge. a bouquet/nest/nide of pheasants. a litter of pigs. a bevy/covey of quail. an unkindness of ravens. a drove/flock of sheep. a host of sparrows. a dray/drey of squirrels. a wedge/bevy of swans. a drift/sounder of swine. a hover of trout. a rafter of turkeys. a nest of vipers. a route/pack of wolves.

{32 answers}



BAM  NEWS.  March 2005.page 4.





                                              HOWLERS CLASSIFIED ?


          Both famous writers and the obscurest learners make mistakes which  are very hard to imagine.

          Joseph Conrad had his mistakes, in Chance for instance, but after all, he was  Polish! Shaw too put his foot in it in the very title of  You Never Can Tell—a faulty title; but he was Irish, was he not. And Hemingway was perhaps the worst of them with A Moveable Feast, where the first e shouldn’t be there at all . . . But he was certainly very American!

          One of my main tasks as a language teacher was reading and correcting essays and translations; and I used to keep a record of the most memorable howlers; some of them might have been mere typing mistakes, but their punch was still there . . . Here are but some of the most striking ones (some of them have “language” flaws; others not exactly so. And “classifying them” may indeed be a theoretical headache.  But you’ll see for yourselves !). Could you possibly help me set them right all over again ? BAM is sure to be looking forward to receiving some feedback.


We were trapped in a blazing car, but luckily enough a river was passing by.


1. √.(a bit of geography:)          Melba is where  Napoleon  was imprisoned.


2. √. (spelling ?)                       Big flies were hoovering all round the room.


3. √. (definitions:) The  Gorgons looked  like women …  only  more  horrible.


4. √. (definitions:)          Sinister  means a woman  who hasn’t married.


5. √. (geography ?)          Harlem  is the place where the Turks  keep their  wives.


6. √. (definitions:)          A virgin forest is one where the hand of man

                                      has never set foot.


7. √.As he walked through the room, he heard the sound of heavy breeding.


8. √. (antonyms ?)       The opposite of evergreen is  nevergreen.


9. √. (malapropism ?)   In the United States people are put to death by elocution.


10. √. (no comments)          People were running all over the place,

                                   the boys in shorts and the girls in hysterics.


11. √. (a malapropism:)        The octopus wrapped his testicles round the diver

                                    and strangled him.


12. √. (another malapropism:)                  A litre is a nest of young puppies.


13. √. (rhetoric? No way !)          The  process of turning steam into water again

                             is called conversation.


14. √. (homonymy, for sure:)          As she went through her wardrobe,

                    she found a scorpion in her drawers. She rose quickly.


(Some howlers are genuine strokes of genius, and quite “uncorrectable”!)   

15. .Television gives me something to do, without my having to do anything.


16. √. (malapropism:)     A vandal is a kind of shoe that shows all the toes.


17.√. (robust male chauvinism ?)       The brain of a woman is almost as heavy

                                      as a human brain.



P.S. Don’t forget to send in your protests!   Yours, George.



BAM  NEWS.  April  2005. page 4.





ANSWERS to the March Quiz in The Language Corner:

1.running by.2.Elba.3.hovering.4.Rewrite.5.spinster. 6.harem.

7. DELETE ‘the hand of’. 8.breathing.

9. evergreen is contrasted with deciduous.

10. electrocution.11.Rewrite.12.tentacles.13.litter.14.conversion.

15.Rewrite. 16. ‘uncorrectable’! 17.sandal. 18.Rewrite.



BAM  NEWS.  April  2005.page 4.




                                            RUMOURS.  Or Bullseye Bacon?


          This is to dispel the rumour that Shakespeare was born on Saint Valentine’s Day. No! He died on Saint George’s Day. Actually, he was born the day he died. Or rather: He died the day he was born. Did he then ever exist ? That is precisely why he is the Myth that He is.

          There used to be an old old guide in the Houses of Parliament who was quite obsessed with the sentence—“Shakespeare was born, and Shakespeare died on the very Day England celebrates her Patron Saint! It’s no coincidence that!”, he used to say again and again.

          Let’s now turn to Numerology: When he was 46, and in order to celebrate his own birthday—just like Saints Valentine and George used to do—he wrote Psalm 46 of the Authorized Version. (The Version was started in 1604, and Authorized in 1610: another 4+6.) And how did he sign it in order to prove to the world that he did it himself ? Well, nothing simpler: if you count 46 words from start of the Psalm—the telegraph way—you land on SHAKE; and if you count 46 words from end of the same Psalm you land on SPEARE. Which makes 5 times 46 in all. Quite a feat! (Do not count selah, which is sprinkled throughout the OT as a sort of punctuation mark!)

           In short: did Shakespeare write his own plays? Not at all! But he did write...chunks of the Bible, most certainly about St George! It was another one that did all the Plays—in order to save his... bacon, and he did score  bullseye really. Remember that Shakespeare never even owned a bible: he was only into second-best beds—quite alliterative all that. . .




BAM  NEWS.  May 2005.




                     FRANGLAIS ?  With An Impish Touch . . .


Would any of you care to translate the following two chunks of franglais back into English, and perhaps also indicate where they were taken from ?(The adjacent Picture may indeed help . . .and the “franglais” signature . . .)


Tout pille or, note, toute pille, date hisse de caisse tiens !

Où est d’air tisse n’eau bleue Inde mainte ? Tous ouverts

De silence, Anne d’arrose offerte rageuse forte jaune

Or; tout teck âme sagène, c’est ta si oeuf trou bel ce.

Anne bâilleur pose en gaine d’aime.

                                                Guillaume Chequespierre.

De Oise à noter beau y.

Âne à noter beau y, vas-y!

Iran et ouais! Tousse côte lande

De pipe elle fort; tousse-y!



P.S. First, work on it to recognize the text: do NOT look it up! After having done that, translate into English—syllable by English syllable. Good luck.

(To facilitate things, the second text has already been published in English on page two of the January issue of our BAM Journal.)



BAM  NEWS.  June 2005.




                                A Handshake I Revere.


                    The other day, an outstanding member of the Monte Carlo Club was asking me—“How do you pronounce Monegasque ?”.  For a split second I thought he meant the word, but No!, he meant the Language . . .


                    Monegasque is the only language I never attended to at all before I got right to the very place, in the very late 1970’s. Walking the Principality from end to end with my 92-year-old mother trotting briskly behind me wherever I went, I once managed to buy two books about Monaco: one was about Money, the other was about Language. As Money never made me tick, I was hooked on the language one—which did fire my linguistic imagination.


                    Having a good knowledge of French and Italian, and more than a smattering of German, understanding Monegasque was fairly plain sailing from the start. As to the speaking of it, I was in luck:  for in the days when I was Director of the Princess Grace Irish Library, I was housed in the same building with the Académie de Langues Dialectales de Monaco, which focused exclusively on Monegasque.(Anybody wishing to learn it can take courses there!) Though strongly disagreeing with the label of “langue dialectale” applied to a full-fledged national language, I started taking evening courses at their elegant headquarters in Fontvieille, and kept them up for more than three months, until the moment I detected some linguistic variation in pronunciations between, say, Place des Moulins and ... Le Rocher. At that moment, I decided I had become an Advanced Learner, and stopped the courses.


                    Soon after, as part of the yearly “reunion de travail”, followed by a working lunch, I even informed Prince Rainier over a drink of the phenomenon of the two teachers of his language: after listening to it all,  he shook with an enthusiastic peal of laughter, which so well characterized his cordial and outgoing personality. I have always enjoyed talking to him. And always in English of course.


                    But most memorable of all was his handshake—so direct, so warm, so full of strength, and so spontaneous.  In it one could feel the craftsman, the sportsman and the aristocrat all in one . . . His handshake to me was indeed the epitome of all he stood for as a Person, as a devoted Family man, and as a most remarkable Head of State. For all I know, I have always been a convinced Royalist . . . and he strengthened that conviction of mine.


                    But coming back to the initial Question— “How do we pronounce Monegasque ?”, the answer is quite, quite simple: In very much the same way we pronounce Corsican, and Genoese— ‘Genovese’ — , and Niçois, and Provençal, and Mentonnais . . . With perhaps a more than strong overtone of Italian to it ! 



BAM  NEWS.  July / August 2005.




                                       The Tsunami.

Exactly six months ago, on Boxing Day 2004, at 8.25 a.m., a “tsunami” hit a large part of Asia’s southern coasts.


Tsunami—usually pronounced suuNAAmi—is an English word all right:

given by most big English dictionaries; thus, the Concise Oxford

explains that it is made up of two Japanese words—tsu ‘harbour’ and

nami ‘waves’—, and the larger Oxford, in thirty volumes or so, specifies

that it entered the language more than a century ago, in 1897, with the

sentence:  “Tsunami ! shrieked the people; and then all shrieks and

all sounds and all power to hear sounds were annihilated by a

nameless shock  . . . as the colossal swell smote the shore with a

weight that sent a shudder through the hills”. (It was backed up

by other uses in writing in 1904, 1938, 1956, 1967, 1970, 1972,

1981, 1984 etc.)


In Italian, in addition to seismo, and terremoto,

there is maremoto, which is in fact the exact

equivalent of the English-Japanese word discussed above.


The French language, present in Asia throughout the past century,

has used the word tsunami since 1915

by the side of tremblement de terre, or seisme.




BAM  NEWS.  September 2005.




                                       What’s in a Name?


About five-and-twenty years since, a word arose, and spread over England like railroads subsequently: Snobs are known and recognized throughout an Empire on which I am given to understand the sun never sets. ( Thackeray,1846.)

 A snob is one who meanly admires a mean thing. ( The New Oxford Dictionary, in 30 vols., paraphrasing Thackeray)


          Naming your kitten, your puppy, your Baby! And of course naming your characters, if you write fiction. Thackeray was indeed an unsurpassed master at that. I spent most of the summer rereading him, and I stick to my guns of yore: he is a far far better writer than Dickens, and outshines all other Victorian fiction by a long chalk. And today, there is Vanity Fair in a second film version, Indian this time, in addition to the BBC one. What makes Thackeray so special, one wonders. Most probably his biting irony and killing sarcasm. It is without doubt the writing of The Book of Snobs that gave Thackeray the idea of writing the one and only Vanity Fair! And naming characters is his favourite form of irony!  The central name of the novel—the Crawley family—Crawler, in the earlier Book—is sarcasm-tinged; just remember the creepy-crawlies of your summer residence . . .

               Proper-name sarcasm ? Lord Claud Lollypop and Lady Lollypop or Sir Huddlestone Fuddlestone—in both Book of Snobs and Vanity Fair— are my favourites. But there is also Mr and Mrs Clapp, Sir Thomas Coffin,the celebrated hanging judge, and Mrs Fanny Highflyer, a social climber, proper names which all remain very largely untranslatable in any language—lethal virulence going lost. Here is a most relevant sample from Vanity Fair,ch. 51; it is a Morning Post account: “Yesterday Colonel and Mrs Crawley entertained a select party at dinner at their house in Mayfair, which was attended by the Duchess (Dowager) of Stilton, Duc de la Gruyère, Marchioness of Cheshire, Comte de Brie,  Chevalier Tosti, Countess of Slingstone, Lady F. Macadam, Major-General and Lady Grizzel Macbeth, and (2) Miss Macbeths, and Hon. Sands Bedwin.” Only Gorgonzola was missing! Anybody can see that it is cheesy snobs all the way . . . or almost, rather than aristocracy. But is it irony? Is it sarcasm? Or is it sheer fun? In fact, it’s a subtle combination of the three! Some deep knowledge of French table art is perhaps required to get the pungently cheesy flavour of it all. And at quite another dinner, cunning Becky outwits the brilliant Lady Stunnigton, and the witty Mr Wag.

           Thackeray is more cutting in naming his characters, being far “Sharper” than Dickens could have ever hoped to be. Dickensian naming is indeed of the kinder kind. Thackeray—virulent ? vituperating ? Here is compact proof: “Mrs Frederick Bullock, née Osborne, with her twopenny gentility, came in a chariot with the bullocks emblazoned on the panels, and the flaccid children within . . .”



BAM  NEWS. October 2005.




          James Joyce, Shame’s Voice—and the Letter.


The following funny letter, ultimately written by Joyce himself, was published by Samuel Beckett as early as 1929, as the very last item in a critical anthology bearing the significant title Our Exagmination of His Factification of Work in Progress; it provides a jocular-amusing foretaste of Joyce’s manner of writing Finnegans Wake, a book which was published in full only ten years later, on his 57th birthday—just before the war.

               Here it is, in a nutshell—the manner of ‘funny’ Joyce (please read it slowly, and twice over. . .lots of languages involved . . .and no misprints) :   


A  LITTER  to  Mr  James  Joyce.


Dear Mr Germ’s Choice,


in gutter dispear I am taking my pen toilet you know that, being Leyde up in bad with the prewailent distemper (I opened the window and in flew Enza), I have been reeding one half ter one other the numboars of “transition” in witch are printed the severeall instorments of your “Work in Progress”.

          You must not stink I am attempting to ridicul (de sac!) you or to be smart, but I am so disturd by my inhumility to onthorstand most of the impslocations constrained in your work that (although I am by nominals dump and in fact I consider myself not brilliantly ejewcatered but still of above Averroëge men’s tality and having maid the most of the oporto unities I kismet) I am writing you, dear mysterre Shame’s Voice, to let you no how bed I feeloxerab out it all.

          I am überzeugt that the labour involved in the compostition of your work must be almost supper humane and that so much travail from a man of your intellacked must ryeseult in somethink very signicophant. I would only like to know have I been so strichnine by my illnest white wresting under my warm Coverleytte that I am as they say in my neightive land “out of the mind gone out” and unable to combprehen that which is clear or is it there really in your work some ass pecked which is Uncle Lear ?

          Please froggive my t’Emeritus and any inconvince that may have been caused by this litter.

                                                          Yours veri tass

                                                                   Vladimir Dixon



BAM  NEWS.  November 2005.



                    Azur-eyed Kevin Shakes MC.




BAM  NEWS.  December 2005.




                             “Crazy” ? or just “Outlandish” ?


          Book clubs are usually restricted to reading—and discussing—fiction.

          I for one do ‘read’ many dictionaries in addition—monoLingual dictionaries, biLingual dictionaries, and encyclopaedic ones, even…dictionaries of idioms; for the French are very fond of publishing pseudo-poetic or anecdotal accounts of their own phrases. La puce à l’oreille ! What more poetic title than that ?! And a cheap paperback too. Recently I ‘read’ a book called The World’s Strangest Proverbs—a collection of hundreds of popular sayings from absolutely everywhere. Here is a dozen or so of them; and I have deliberatly picked the more “juicy” ones:

* Empty gossip jumps with one leg. [Estonian].

* Dry pants catch no fish. [Bulgarian].

* Mistakes ain’t haystacks or there’d be more fat ponies than there is. [American].

* When you see a village with nine houses and ten inns, flee from it. [Bulgarian].

* The ground is always frozen for lazy pigs. [Danish].

* He who depends on people hangs from a tree. [German].

* Lying a little, stealing a little, will get you nicely through the world. [Estonian].

* Barbers, doctors, pleaders, prostitutes: all must have cash down. [Indian].

* Do not praise a day before sunset, a horse before a year, a wife before she’s dead. [Czech].

* When you shake hands with a Greek, count your fingers. [Albanian].

* Throw the fortunate man into the Nile and he will come out with a fish in his mouth. [Egyptian].

* If a low-bred man obtains wealth, he will carry an umbrella at midnight. [Tamil].

* Drink and sing: an inch before us is black night. [Japanese].

* Why should a man without a head want a hat ? [Chilean].


GEORGE ASKS: Any suggestions for native English equivalents for any of the above Proverbs ?


          (to be continued in the next issue, i.e. that of January 2006.)



ends THE YEAR 2005.







BAM  NEWS.   January  2008.






Once upon a time, in October 1999, just before the €uro came about, a computer scholar—Bob H. by name—discovered that a computer virus far more insidious than the Chernobyl Disaster was fast spreading throghout the Internet. What did the virus do ?  Nicknamed FoulyDo, after Fowler’s Modern English Usage, first & second editions—a more than classic style guide in all respectable English households—it flatly refused to deliver eMails containing grammatical mistakes…

          The virus was causing something akin to panic in America too, which had become of late quite prone to typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled syntax so very accepted in current internet practice. An internet tycoon, called LoseItAll.com,  loudly declared that the virus had rendered them helpless. For instance, each time they tried to send a message, they got back the following Error Statement: “Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by commas, but never before conjunctions…”

          This FoulyDo virus makes eMailing impossible, meaning the end to a Communication Revolution once hailed as a significant time saver. (A study of more than a thousand users found that the use of eMail increased productivity by 1.8 hours a day, because everybody took less time to formulate thoughts & intentions; but they also lost  2.2 hours of productivity a day on account of eMailing so many silly jokes to girlfriends, former spouses, parents and other solicitors…)

          An FBI agent in the pay of the European Union, whose name was simply coded SEEsaw!, insisted on speaking on the telephone to everybody for fear that eMailing his comments may leave him connectionless for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, bookstores and online booksellers reported a massive surge in orders for Fowler’s MEU.


The above lines were not written by George ! They all come, abridged and adapted, from a very good book entitled Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, published in 2003 by Profile Books, London, at £9.99, and subtitled “The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation”. It was declared Book of the Year 2004.




BAM  NEWS.  February  2008.




                                       We Are Amused.


As we are all on the Riviera here, it is perhaps time to look at a French book, for a change. About the French language. Entitled La Grammaire an s’amusant.  I was indeed hooked by it. First, because French has always amused me. Ever since I was seven, or less. And the grammar of any language is an amusing topic. But the subject is worth taking up. As French is the language of our hosts. Our Monaco hosts. As they are doing their best to learn English, we too, I think, must be doing our best to learn French. Be it only for the sake of polite communication. Which must always accompany straightforward communication (now that it is not even worth buying cigarettes in French…). But what is Grammar to the French? Here is the answer. I quote: Une phrase sans verbe ne respire plus qu’un merlan sur le sable; elle étouffe. Une phrase sans verbe n’avance pas, elle manque de tonus, elle va nulle part. Si tu grimpes dans une voiture sans moteur, tu va faire du surplace ( ? ). Ella a des roues, un volant, une carosserie, des sièges en cuir, des phares, mais elle ne roule pas. Une voiture n’existe que pour rouler, une phrase aussi. Le verbe, justement, c’est le moteur.  A very Americanized view of grammar, don’t you think ?  There are 5,000 verbs in the French Language. How many do YOU know ? How many does un membre de l’Académie Française know? Neither is anywhere near half that total !  But it is our duty, each and every one of us, is it not, to improve on ourselves. So, what have I done today to improve my French? For we must improve our French all the time. All of us!  Even Prince Albert does so… For instance, when the current President of France reintroduces the notion of “civilisation” into current French journalese practice, do you think that the fundamentals of the word’s meaning remain unchanged?  It becomes as important as the difference between parrainage & patronage, or of soeur de charité & dame de charité for the French themselves.





BAM  NEWS.  March  2008.




DID YOU KNOW these COMPUTER words and phrases ?             


1.          Cybrarian.                   A digital librarian. One who makes a living by doing online research and information retrieval.

2.      Dust Buster.          An eMail message sent to someone after a long silence just to “shake the dust off” and see if the connection still works.

3.          Jitterati.    Fear & anxiety associated with not knowing the latest jargon, and buzzwords of the Digital Revolution …

4.          NRN.         No Response Necessary”.

5.      Open Collar Workers.          People who work at home. Also called SOHO: “Small Office, Home Office”.               

6.          Thrashing.          Clicking helter-skelter around an interactive computer screen in search of hidden buttons that might trigger actions.

7.          Thumb Candy.          A fast action video-game requiring lots of button pushing.

8.          Tweak Freak.          A computer techie who’s obsessed with finding the root of all technical problems regardless of the relevance of doing so.

9.          Under Mouse Arrest.          Getting busted for violating an online’s services rules of conduct.

10.          Uninstalled.          Euphemism for “being fired”.

11.          World Wide Wait.           The real meaning of WWW… (far worse than the worst of traffic jams…).

P.S.             In April when I’m done with Computers & with French, I will hopefully turn to the Cockney Alphabet…



BAM  NEWS.  April 2008.




Improve Your English: Learn Cockney !


Cockney, believe it or not, is going strong, stronger than ever! Especially on the wwWeb. And the St-Mary-Le-Bow residents are very systematic these days… They start right with the Alphabet—as if Cockney ever had one… But look it up for yourself if you need any convincing.

          Let’s then begin at the beginning. With the Alphabet:

          A for horses                   (Hay for ’orses, would self-explain it!),

          B for mutton,

          C for yourself.

Read them aloud, and, once you have these three clear in your mind, on a platter as it were, you are sure, with small hiccups perhaps, to do the rest of the alphabet on your own. And now you are quite ready to navigate in the Cockney world of the wwWeb without help. Do google your way up the ladder through Cockney, with fortitude.

          Look first at the letters X, K, and Q—for this is the Elementary Stage, my dear Watson, in the doing of it: X for Breakfast. K for teria. Q for (a) Bus. Done it? Then go on to the Intermediate Stage:

          V for (la) France. W for money. F for vescent. N for lope.

And the last of all—the Advanced Stage: Has anybody looked at mediaeval Rhetoric at all? That would most certainly help here: U for mystic. M for size…(or… sis).

The More-than-Advanced Stage is the grey area of Rejecting, Questioning or Replacing some of the solutions. It is usually restricted to a few enthusiasts, if at all…

          L for WHAT ?           O for WHAT?           H for WHAT ?

Et ainsi de suite. For cockneys these days, have a good smattering of French too.

          That was indeed Cockney without Tears. And Happy Zapping through 64,000 google entries, and don’t kill your computer in the process. The way I did. And now that you have completed The Cockney Alphaphabet  (αβ !) to everybody-on-the-Web’s satisfaction, you can call yourself  a true  and genuine cocknerian (a new word, by me, which I choose to pattern on existing cockneian and cockniac, and cockneyship and cockneydom, and cockneyfy ! No porky pies, mind you !


H for Aisling, and O for George are eagerly awaiting your responses.


ends  BAM Language Corner April 2008.



BAM  NEWS.  May 2008.


LANGUAGE  CORNER :  Ask George !



                    IMPROVE  YOUR  ENGLISH ctd.



          1.          MANDRAKE :                  a creature half man, half duck.

          2.          CATACOMB :           a grooming tool for cats.

          3.          PARASITE :               someone who lives in Paris.

          4.          GRUEL :                     very unkind.

          5.          DOGMATIC:              a dog that cleans up its own mess.



          6.          HEBREW:                  a beer for men only.

          7.          BLUNDERBUSS:    an awkwardly placed kiss.

          8.          HICCUP:                             a cup used in the deep country.



                    We now live in a world increasingly without History… And we enjoy it tremendously!

                    So, what is then wrong with fanciful—or invented—word histories ?

                    Particularly, when they do fire our imagination… the Einstein way… with Pictures and all !

                    James Joyce wrote the whole of Finnegans Wake on far less than this.


(All this, and a lot more, comes from a book by David Diefendorf of New York. The book

 is entitled  Word Warps: A Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms.   It was published some time ago.)


ends BAM Language Corner for May 2008.



BAM  NEWS.  June 2008.


LANGUAGE CORNER:        Ask George:


                                       Our common Wealth ctd.


          English, as a language,  is a common wealth ! In a constant attempt to improve his English, and after having visited Cockney… James Joyce started writing his Finnegans Wake novel while he was touring Canada… The Frenchified part of it, of course. And then he settled in Paris. Here is lexicographic (know the word?) evidence to that effect. Take the letter E to illustrate—E for Effect.  To begin with, there are five different kinds of eggs in the language over there: 

1.      EGG  SELLENT                    Very good, of considerable merit.

2.      EGG  SEPSHUNALL          Onusual,  very egg sellent.

3.          EGGS  ISLE                    Long banishment from one’s country.

4.      EGG  SPURT                         Someone with special

5.      EGG  ZACK                           Precise or accurate. As in—

                                   “I sawer in the egg zack same place as last time.”

Then there are the other words—like

EH?                                         The great Canajan shibboleth, which is

                                                all things to all men. As in—

                                       “Could you loan me two bucks ?”

                                       Eh?          means “You must be joking!


                                       “Here’s the two bucks I owe you.”

                                       Eh?          which means “I don’t believe it!


ELSIE  B.O.           A collateral descendant of Dora, the scourge

                                      of Britain, she is quite in charge in Untario

                                      of the Liquor control, a board she organizes…

                                       Her sister  Elsie Beesee lives in Brish Clumbya.

                                       Elby Ess is a brother who lives further afield.

EM  PEE                               A member of the Housa Comms.

EM  PEEPEE                      A member of the per vinshull legislature.

ENAY  CHELL               Basically, Canajan players in voluntary

                                       servitude  to Mare Can clubs.

END                                       Comonest conjunction in Canajan.

EUCHRE  ANIAN                An imm grunt from the You Crane.

                                       Many Euchre Anians  originally settled on the

                                       prayer ease where their descendants consider

                                       themselves to be one of the found-in races.

EVER                                     An intensifier widely employed in

                                                Canajan. It is quite unrelated to English

                                       usage. “Is it ever hot!” means “It is very hot!

                                       “Coodja gofer somepm cold?” “Could I ever!”

                                       meaning “I most certainly can!”.

EYE  DENTY                         The condition or character of

                                       what a thing or person is. As in the phrase

                                       Canajan eye denty, the search for which

                                       (next to hockey-watching) constitutes the

                                       nash null sport of all.


P.S:             From the book  Canajan, Eh? by  Mark M. Orkin & Isaac Bickerstaff,published at Don Mills, Ontario. 127 pp. (price not specified …).I bought the book myself when I visited London, Untario…


P.P.S.: N.B. All the above spellings have been scrabble-validated

by  ELSIE  B.O.,, Elsie Beesee  and Elby Ess.


ends BAM Language Corner for June 2008.