PUBLISHED 18 May 2022
May's Lunchtime Lecture, titled, "I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious”, led by Mr Hayden, was an entertaining romp through the colourful English language, exploring its puzzles, enigmas, riddles and mysteries,
Staff and students alike chuckled along, as he illustrated how absurd the English language is, by taking a fresh look at many of the words and phrases we take for granted. Highlights included how the pronunciation of GHOTI isn't 'goatie', but 'fish', if the letters GH O TI are pronounced the same way as they are in enough, women and station; as well as how every c in the word pacific is pronounced differently.
Mr Hayden then gave a whistle-stop tour of curious etymologies, such as how the word Caesar became king; and how we borrow from other languages, for example Ketchup (the Malay name for spicy sauce), tycoon (a powerful Japanese moment) and Karaoke (an empty orchestra). He also explained how rhyming slang is an example of a sociolect, which is a language used to create a sense of unity and belonging; how our language can betray our heritage, class, gender and age; forensic linguistics; and how more recently nouns have become verbs, such as to google, Facetime, Hoover and Facebook.
The lecture was part of our broader academic enrichment programme, open to all staff and students. It also forms part of our Scholars Programme, which is explained in greater detail here.