The culinary theme continues in this month’s selection of Word Stories. After sampling a few recent additions to the anglophone diet, we return to some of its most common and best loved products: tea, chocolate and ketchup.
To many speakers of English, there is something distinctly foreign about those small symbols that accompany letters in words like piñata, café, and many more. The reason for this is no mystery; they have never been a prominent part of the English writing system, unlike most languages that use a Latin script. Although many people call them accents, the correct name for these symbols is diacritic mark or simply diacritic.
Although the English language is a complex blend of diverse ingredients, the English-speaking world is not typically known for the richness of its cuisine. Our native culinary stock is particularly meagre when it comes to vegetarian and vegan options, which probably explains the large number of borrowings in this category. Meat-free anglophones borrowed two key components of their diet from opposite corners of the earth, helping themselves to their names while they were at it.
The word billion was not introduced in the French language until the fifteenth century and didn’t find its way into English until the end of the seventeenth century, which is fairly late in the history of counting. What words were used before this time to talk about large numbers?
For some, there’s nothing better than a drink to get into the holiday mood. In that spirit, we invite you to start the year by partaking in this intoxicating mix of stories consisting of three words in equal parts: cocktail, punch and grog.
The Gregorian calendar is the global standard for the measurement of dates. Despite originating in the Western Christian tradition, its use has spread throughout the world and now transcends religious, cultural and linguistic boundaries.
We continue our exploration of noble gases in this month’s edition of Word Stories, looking at two more members of this close-knit family.