‘Big Mac’

Who owns a word?

MacDonald’s has lost the trade mark for Big Mac.

Here are some interesting articles to peruse.





‘That’s so gay’

I recently re-watched an episode of Doctor Who. Chris Eccelstone, northern accent, brilliant. However, at the end of I was jolted out of my familiar, happy, sci-fi zone when I heard ‘that’s so gay’, not from a villain but from Rose Tyler, the moral, grounding influence (I say Rose Tyler rather than Billy Piper because it was the character that said it not the actress, if you catch my meaning).

In recent years I’ve had friends warn me against re-watching the shows I loved as a kid, ‘Don’t watch Friends, they’re so homophobic…fat shaming…whitewashed’ etc, because viewed through a modern lens we see how problematic they are. I’m sure there were plenty of people watching them first time round that realised this but as a young, straight, white girl it wasn’t until I re-watched them (yes I ignored the warnings), with a greater awareness of my privilege, that I saw it.

This links into this blog post about the changing nature of language from the Eng Lang Blog.


It includes some interesting graphs looking at how words like ‘awesome’ and ‘gay’ have changed their meanings over time and about what they mean to people of different ages.

Is this just an issue that crops up when we re-watched old TV programs?


I still have to pull students up for using gay as a pejorative (insult) and whilst many understand, after a moments reflection, how inappropriate it is to use someones sexuality as an insult, I still get my fair share of blank looks or ‘it’s only a joke’.

What’s your opinion? Have you heard the word ‘gay’ used as in insult?

Please comment below.

Extract from Chaos by G. Nolst Trenité

The English language has some of the strangest pronunciations in the world.

Here are just a few examples from a brilliant poem.

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.