Monday, 27 July 2015

Am I smiling :-?

When I started using computers for work, in the early '80s, email was in its infancy (or adolescence, I suppose you could argue, if you admit proprietary mail systems that connected one computer with another similar computer).

It's easy to give the wrong impression in email; it's so easy to write and send that there's the risk of treating it  like everyday conversation – forgetting that in everyday conversation there's a small matter of a shared physical context (including, particularly, facial expression). Some people chose to address this problem by introducing a way of communicating facial (and other) expressions, formed – usually – from a mixture of punctuation marks, numbers, and mathematical symbols. An underlying convention was that  they often had to be "read" as if they (or the reader) was lying on their side: ":-)" was a smiling face, ";-)" was a wink, "<3" was a heart (often used as a verb, as in "I <3 New York"), and so on. A word was coined to refer to these signs – emoticon, being a fairly obvious porte-manteau word formed from emotion and icon (I think Lewis Carroll‘s reputation as a creative originator of such hybrids is safe).

Sometimes the combinations of glyphs could be extraordinarily imaginative; I particularly. like the one that depicts a sceptical face:

> : / 

(No, I do like it, honest; it  reminds me of  Beaker.)

In time, people tried to outdo each other, by dreaming up more and more intricate emoticons, suitable for a particular context. For example, I once met one (that I can't find offhand) that gave the message I'm tired and I just checked in to this group before going to bed. I'm too tired to answer fully now, but will do tomorrow. There's a fairly comprehensive list here. (That fairly isn't as patronising as it may sound; there was at one time such a fad for thinking up new emoticons that compiling an exhaustive list is just impossible. And the story is much more complicated than  I have made it. That article is well worth a read.)

The word started appearing in the late '80s, though it  hadn't appeared often enough in print for mainstream dictionaries to record it until the '90s. the Oxford Dictionaries website says


1990s: blend of emotion and icon.

The Collins English Dictionary confirms this,  with the curve starting at the turn of the decade:
Word usage trend: emoticon

Then ...
<justification dubious_word="Then">
I think it‘s reasonable to think that emoticon came first. A single character occupies (in many cases) only a byte. In the '80s, RAM was much  more limited than it came to be a few years later. People who used computers tended to have been educated in the '60s and '70s, when hard disk space was even scarcer, so they had learnt to be extremely parsimonious (and were slightly contemptuous of business-users who didn't know or care about such things).
I recall, in the '90s, being sternly ticked off by an erstwhile engineering student, whom I had first met in the early '70s, for accepting the default setting that copied his original email into my reply. He didn't know that I acquired the habit in the IT industry [dammit], where Quality Assurance engineers needed an exhaustive audit trail. The engineers in the '90s, educated in the '80s, cared less about hard-disk space. Grandmothers and egg-sucking came to mind.
A fully-fledged graphic could occupy several Kb (depending, of course, on size and intricacy).
</justification> the '90s the word emoji started to appear. It came from  Japan (or perhaps a Japanese community studying in the West).  The Oxford Dictionaries website says


1990s: Japanese, from e 'picture' + moji 'letter, character'.
Hmmm...? The entry for  kanji [PS: a writing system] in the same dictionary says that just ji means character. This calls for further study. (But not now, when I have a train to catch,)
So, (perforce, briefly) we have two more-or-less interchangeable words (well, not really*, but that‘s the way usage is tending), both starting "emo...", but with no etymological link. Even the order of  the  etymologies is different: the e- of emoji means much the same as the -icon bit of emoticon.

Not that this is of earth-shattering importance. But it excites me in a way that I imagine biologists are excited by discovering independent evolution of similar structures – convergence such as the human eye and the warnoviid dinoflagellate.

I'm outta here. b

Update 2015.07.28 12:10 – Added inline PS and fixed an embarrassingly large number of typoes, introduced by my little Android machine.

Update 2015.07.28 16:15 – Further analysis of emoji in Japanese

Here's what Google Translate does with emoji.

And with mo.

Which might begin to suggest that the Oxford Dictionaries derivation ('moji  = character letter') may be mistaken: it's e [=picture] + mo [=also] + ji [ = character]. It is? This, though attractive on the outside (or as the Romans said speciosus [whence our 'specious']), depends on an analysis of the Japanese based on a transcript in Roman letters.

But what about the characters themselves?  The character that represents mo (a cross between a hockey stick and a crucifix – a sort of inverted crosier-head (も [=also]), if you have the appropriately pious background) doesn't appear in the three-character transcription of emoji;   絵文字 [ = picture | sentence | character]. Which suggests that the 'Oxford's wrong' argument doesn't hold water.

So the conclusion ...inconclusive. This calls for a new word: inconclusion...

Update 2015.07.29.18:45 – Added this footnote (not before time, as it justifies the distinction some people [including  me] make).

* An emoji is an actual  graphic image, such as I used in the last update.

Update 2015.07.31.14:00 – Added  this note on  space.

As an example of the file sizes involved, the <img>  tag that I use to produce these   contains a URL (so that the storage costs were incurred [once only, however many times people use it] by usingenglish .com [and the ‘cost‘ to my blog {not that it actually costs anything} is only a few dozen bytes. This image (which I have captured) occupies [on my system – what the Blogger software does with it is anybody‘s guess] nearly 3 Kb.
The 3Kb emoji - you‘d never catch
an old hand spending that much on
 ‘a bit of eye-candy‘ like this.
Update 2017.05.16.11:30 –Deleted old footer.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Strassbourg Revisited

<autobiographical_preamble theme="DIY, Velux"> 
The Velux refurbishment is in hand [after a few ruffled feathers – for details of the Storm-in-a-YouTube see here].  As usually happens when I, with my retired technical writer's hat on, broach a DIY job,
...I am pained by standards of technical writing. My experience was mostly in the field of software, and mostly for System Managers rather than end users  – real-life punters, that is – but many of the issues are the same.
         More here (from one among several such rants)  
This time the villains are Velux. To quote their website, which surely qualifies for a FOGGY,
All VELUX products come with easy to read, step by step illustrated installation instructions.   
<rantette flame="medium">
The dreaded words The products [sic, not that the missing apostrophe bothers me that much] PDF instructions  are available for download, which follow  those irony-laden words, remind me of this ubiquitous road sign: 
The underlying message is 

'Take a chill pill'  I hear the cry. "What's wrong with PDF?" Here's what's wrong with it: it restricts information to readers with the right setup (as opposed to HTML, which will happily respond to any browser in the world that understands HTTP).
Well, the 'easy to read, step by step instructions' [hollow laugh] are here. (Those aren't the actual printed ones, which have the added complexity of numbered insets that might or might not refer back to the other numbersSee update, but they share this crucial feature: Velux have solved the problem of international applicability by the simple expedient of NOT HAVING ANY TEXT). I'm not sure how a document that includes no text can be EASY-TO-READ (with or without the hyphens that make the word itself slightly easier to read.)
Where was I...? Oh yes, Strassbourg. I wrote some time ago (here) about
Les Serments de Strassbourg –  or 'The Strassbourg Oaths' as we called them in my Romance Philology days.
In that post I quoted the Wikipedia article on these pledges of allegiance [in 842] between Louis the German (876), ruler of East Francia, and his half-brother Charles the Bald (877), ruler of West Francia.  
This much is true. But the next sentence in that article is not (although I ignored it because my memory of what I had learnt was faulty).
They are written in three different languages: Medieval LatinOld French and Old High German
No. They were written in only two languages  – the vernaculars of the two testifiers. To quote W D Elcock, in The Romance Languages, who cited  Professor Ewert's The French Language:
Professor Ewert's approach... merits further attention. It my be assumed, he observes, that both versions are translated from an original draft in Latin, Latin being ... the  common language of all notarial documents. He then attempts a hypothetical reconstruction, employing the phraseology of like documents....
This reconstruction makes sense, accounting for my misremembering and for Wikipedia's lapse (which I mean to correct, when I get a round tuit): the 'three languages' version makes a pleasing parallel with the  Rosetta_Stone,  (as a way of getting to grips with obscure languages).

We can be grateful that the notaries involved in the drafting did not take the Velux way out and dispense with words entirely.  

And here's a clue:

Qualifiers for the Dunmow Flitch must avoid this sort of thing. (10)

Update 2015.07.24.20:35 – Added footnote:
† Here's what I mean:

Excerpt from the soi-disant 'manual', (REWOP, so sue me)

Having lived with this for a while, and watched that much more helpful YouTube post, I think I've worked it out: "1, 2, 3", and "4" are in fact 31, 32, 33 and 34. It would have been helpful if the double-size 3 (1,2,4,5, 6, and the unnumbered last one, which one must suppose to be 7, all take up one 'page' of the 'manual') had had a frame to show this hierarchy.

Update 2015.07.25.12:15 – Added afterthoughts in green.

I've just noticed a very faint background wash, confirming my supposition.

Update 2015.09.21.11:45 – Added PPS

PPS And here‘s the answer to that clue: CROSSWORDS
(Quite neat, I thought, though I say it as shouldn't. It'd be fairer though – and easier to solve – if it were set in the context of a crossword puzzle (where the double entendre would be more apposite – that is to  say, AT ALL apposite.  )

Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
Well over 49,300 views  and nearly 9,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,700 views and nearly 1,100 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Who are you calling a fossil?

This post led  me to think about fossils, and [of course] the word's derivation. I ruled out a possible link to ossa (="bone", Latin) – though the coincidence is quite appropriate, and I won't pretend that a scurrilous explanation of the didn't cross my mind. Then I toyed with a link to fossa (="ditch", also Latin). That wasn't too far off the mark (though I was initially inclined to dismiss the idea – as if a "fossil" were just something 'found in a ditch'. A true folk etymologist would go one better and make a fossil something found in a ditch – originally related to an archaeological dig near Fosse Way.)

But a ditch is DUG. And here's what Etymonline says for fossil:
1610s, "any thing dug up;" 1650s (adj.) "obtained by digging" (of coal, salt, etc.), from French fossile (16c.), from Latin fossilis "dug up," from fossus, past participle of fodere "to dig"...

Restricted noun sense of "geological remains of a plant or animal" is from 1736 (the adjective in the sense "pertaining to fossils" is from 1660s); slang meaning "old person" first recorded 1859. Fossil fuel (1833) preserves the earlier, broader sense.

There is another sense, widely used among students of linguistics, and explained in a footnote in When Vowels Get Together:

Which leads me back to that post  (at the thought-provoking – though they dig up interesting stuff, and can't be blamed for its shortcomings):  it's an old Mental Floss piece.
  1. Not so much an error, more a missed trick. Of wend, Etymonline says 
  2.  "to proceed on," Old English wendan "to turn, direct, go; convert, translate," from Proto-Germanic *wanjan (cognates: Old Saxon wendian, Old Norse venda, Swedishvända, Old Frisian wenda, Dutch wenden, German wenden, Gothic wandjan "to turn"), causative of PIE *wendh- "to turn, wind, weave" (see wind (v.1)). Surviving only in to wend one's way, and in hijacked past tense form went. 
    The author of the Mental Floss piece is presumably a student and/or a non-native teacher of ESOL, and so more interested in the "outrageous" irregularity of go than in what seems to  me the more interesting link with wind
  3.  Oops. The double s could have saved him here:
  4. The "desert" from the phrase "just deserts" is not the dry and sandy kind, nor the sweet post-dinner kind. It comes from an Old French word for "deserve'.. 
    This rather short-circuits the story. The Old French word was (or derived from), to quote Etytmonline servir "to serve" (see serve (v.)). ...  
    Then ...Middle French dessert (mid-16c.) "last course," literally "removal of what has been served,"
    So the word is related to "the sweet post-dinner kind'; that part of the story explains the extra s (which to the student just looks like a gratuitously irregular way of representing the /z/ phoneme – so irregular that in many cases (this Mental Floss blogger, for example) the student doesn't notice or remember it; really sophisticated students may even discount it as a typo when they see it written (as they often do: I wonder how many of the 341,000,000 deserts noted by Google should really be desserts.)
    Again, the ESOL bias has interfered: remotely related to has been perverted into meaning nothing to do with because it's easier to remember that way. But it's also easy to remember the whole story, as long as you get the spelling right.
  5. Again, not so much an error, more a missed trick. The author obviously knows his stuff. It was [accurate] news to me that eke "comes from an old verb meaning to add, supplement, or grow". But I did know the word (conjunction..? – well, sort of; often used to reinforce "and") eke as used by Chaucer . And I wondered at first why "an 'also' name" came to be a nickname; but the abbreviation aka put me on the right track: "also known as".
  6. Another missed trick: sleight  is related to  sly.  but that word is not a commonplace in the ESOL classroom. In fact, English Vocabulary Profile does not include it in the recommended vocabulary for even C2 level (in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages C2 is the most advanced level). [I think they'd probably question that use of 'recommended'. To quote their spiel,
    The EVP shows, in both British and American English, which words and phrases learners around the world know at each level - A1 to C2 - of the CEFR. Rather than providing a syllabus of the vocabulary that learners should know, the EVP project verifies what they do know at each level.
    But you get the gist: whereas a native speaker of English will find the link to sly useful (and of mnemonic value for remembering the derivation of the phrase sleight of hand), the student of ESOL is most unlikely to.]
  7. And another, possibly for similar  reasons. Like sly for no. 4, dent is not included by EVP for any level of student vocabulary. But dent is involved, as this Etymonline link shows: 'dialectal variant of Middle English dint . Very interesting (and of mnemonic value). It also explains the line in Good King Wenceslas:
    In his master's steps he trod
    Where the snow lay dinted

    Not the sort of cultural background that a student is likely to have.
  8. Yet another. Riding roughshod: as regular readers will know from this and maybe other posts, I am particularly interested in the way idiomatic expressions tend to refer to old technology (ride roughshod, hang up (a telephone), a flash in the pan.... etc etc ad nauseam) or are culturally specific (in the UK we steamroller things; in the US they railroad them). Even a well-known idiomatic usage like mailbox (in the context of email) refers to the US postal system rather than the UK (where we have 'letter boxes' if anything  – that's if we have a free-standing box at all).

    But I liked the blogger's '17th century version of snow tires'.
  9. OK, although I'd question the 'Scottish'. Isn't the Scottish for 'from'  frae?
  10. '..."hue and cry," the expression for the noisy clamor of a crowd'? Really? I thought it had a more specific meaning than that....Yes, Etymonline:

    ...Hue and cry is late 13c. as an Anglo-French legal term meaning "outcry calling for pursuit of a felon.
  11. Not wrong, but another missed chance. Personally, I'd find it hard to discuss kith and kin without digressing to kindred spirit.  And  is kith related to... {yup}:

    couth (adj.) Look up couth at
    Old English cuðe "known," past participle of cunnan (see can (v.1))...

    The derivation of kith was new to me, but it led to a link with another obscure word –  much less common than either sly or dent, and almost certainly not in an ESOL student's vocabulary. In fact, it's only in mine when fossilized in uncouth. Again, the ESOL bias had prevented the blogger from making links of interest and mnemonic value.
  12. '...the lurch you get left in comes from an old French backgammon-style game called lourche. Lurch became a general term for the situation of beating your opponent by a huge score' says the blogger. Really? I'm on thin ice here, but it seems to me the predicament idea of in the lurch would be more likely to refer to a difficult/impossible situation (not unlike a stymie in golf or a snooker in snooker or, similarly, but in pool, behind the 8 ball. I feel an update coming on, but must finish soon.)
  13. OK. I'm glad of the information.
  14. Again, a missed trick. The obscure word here is shrive, shrove, shriven – particularly shrove, as in 'Shrove Tuesday' (Mardi Gras), when believers in The One True Faith get shriven in preparation for Lent,

    <autobiographical_note theme="shriving" value="throwaway">
    As a veteran of many a Shriving, or the Sacrament of Penance as we used to call it...
  15. <digression>
    I remember a homework, when we had to list all the benefits of Confession. One boy was caned for plagiarism when he used the expression '...solaces a burdened conscience'. Father Steven did not feel  it had the typical attributes of a 12-year-old boy's vocabulary. (I may have invented the caning bit, but Fr Steven wasn't noted for his willingness to 'spare the rod...'.)
     Eheu fugaces...
    ... I find the use of short in 'short shrift' a mite confusing. Brevity, in  my estimation, was to be regarded with relief on these occasions.
Some of the
uncritical applause
So, as I've remarked before (here), stuff on the web can be interesting and useful without being entirely satisfactory. I must say though that I find it a little irksome that several dozen people have applauded/like/reblogged ... it on the site without exercising any kind of critical thought.

It was good, but it could've been a whole lot better.

Update 2015.07.15:14:40 – As intimated: out on a limb, but Hier stehe ich... ("I don't know Andrew", as Martin Luther put it.)

I wrote yesterday that I wasn't satisfied about the embarrassingly big victory idea. I suspected that like stymiedsnookered, and behind the 8 ball the idea of in the lurch should somehow refer to a difficult or unplayable situation.

My first port of call  for [in the] lurch was Etymonline:
lurch (n.2) Look up lurch at
"predicament," 1580s, from Middle English lurch (v.) "to beat in a game of skill (often by a great many points)," mid-14c., probably literally "to make a complete victory in lorche," a game akin to backgammon, from Old French lourche. The game name is perhaps related to Middle English lurken, lorken "to lie hidden, lie in ambush," or it may be adopted into French from Middle High German lurz "left," also "wrong."

Again, an out-and-out victory. [PS: Strike one.] 

This source was quite promising about the unplayable idea:
To be in the lurch was to be severely discomfited. Various phrases built on the idea, including to give someone the lurch and to have someone at the lurch, respectively to get the better of a man or to have the advantage of him. By the final years of the sixteenth century, within a short time of the word arriving in the language, to be in the lurch had appeared, meaning to be in difficulty and without assistance. After all, it wasn’t the job of the other player to give any help to the loser.
[PS: Strike two.] But the same site goes on:
...lourche or l’ourche, which the Oxford English Dictionary suggests may be from a regional German word recorded as lortsch, lurtschlorz  and lurz. A phrase, lurz werden, meant to fail to achieve some objective in a game. The term was taken over into French, not only as the name of the game but also in the phrase demeurer lourche, to lose embarrassingly badly.
There were other sites but they all referred to the same view and spoke of the lack of fully informed and authoritative sources. [PS: Strike three.] 

But by chance (I suspect the Blares have been at it again  – the blogging equivalent of the Lares['household gods' in Ancient Rome] mentioned before, hereLe Temps published a piece to celebrate Quatorze Juillet, based on an interview with
... Ulrich Schädler, le directeur du Musée du jeu sis au château de La Tour-de-Peilz....
La lourche relève donc du même ordre d’organisation de l’espace de jeu [BK jeux '..'orchestré[s] sur un plateau à deux compartiments'] , avec des règles comparables. Ulrich Schädler nous signale que le mot nomme en outre «une sorte de tactique dans ce jeu, lorsque l’on place des doublons sur plusieurs cases de suite». Une manœuvre pour placer ses pions, ou ses dames, tout en occupant des flèches...
That sounds pretty specific to me,.,,, and doesn't justify the fears expressed all over the Web that the details of the game are lost in the mists of time. The game is not so much not known about as not documented  – at least, not in English. Historians of French board games know perfectly well  how to put someone en lourche.

Of course, over time the meaning may have broadened or changed. Not everyone knows that stymie is a golfing term (quite like snooker, as it  leaves the opponent in a position with no direct shot at the target). Not* knowing this doesn't stop people from meaningfully saying they're stymied.  And the meaning of in the lurch seems to have undergone a similar broadening in meaning.

There's a risk here, though, of what has been called elsewhere (see my footnote to this post) ‘The Etymological Fallacy'; things mean whatever they mean to whichever speech community is using them. (Knowing what they meant ONCE, though, is quite fun.)

Update 2015.07.19:19:05 – Added correction.
*Of course, people don't need to know the original meaning of stymie in order to use it in its present sense.

Update 2018.04.09:14:05 – A few format tweaks for clarity,  and added inline PSs.

Friday, 10 July 2015

A Tale of Two Typoes

A long time ago I commented here on an article in The Times on endangered languages. I was not very impressed by the article itself, although its heart was in the right place; my scorn was directed in particular at this quote/translation:        
"Que l'lingo seit bouan ou mauvais,
J'pâlron coum'nou pâlait autefais."
(Whether the lingo be good or bad,  
I'm going to speak like dear old dad.)
Especially the last three words:
No 'dad', no 'dear', no 'old'.
(Any argument about the difficulty of verse translations, and the licence for idiomatic embellishments, I said, should be ruled out in view of the narrow measure of a newspaper column – which makes it impossible to detect the need for suspension of accuracy on poetical grounds. The newspaper article, transcribed on a website devoted to Manx, is  here.)

In that piece I expressed doubts about two verb forms. A recent holiday led me to do a bit of research, and rather than write  yet another update to an already over-updated piece....

The Wikipedia article on Guernésiais has the same text for Métivier's verse but no "dear old dad". Possibly coum'nou pâlait (specifically the "nou + 3rd person singular verb") is an impersonal form; so the Wikipedia translation is good: I’m going to speak as we used to speak). But that still doesn't account for j‘ pâlron  which, as I said here, seemed most unlikely:'s why, if you really want to know. There are systematic features of Latin-derived verb endings. There are in some cases exceptions, but they tend to be noted in philology texts; examples from minority languages are  the stock-in-trade of philology – I explained here how and why I know a single word of Gascon. If there were a language that had -ron as the first person singular in the future form of a first conjugation verb (-er verbs in French, -ar verbs in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and so on‡) I'd very probably have heard of it. 'Nou' looks like we, which would make the ending -ait first person plural – which I'd very probably have heard of. If one language had both oddities....
I was wrong about nou. As I suggested just  now, it's probably impersonal (like the standard French on  –  as that Wikipedia article says in a regrettably sparse section  on phonology 'Metathesis of /r/ is common in Guernésiais, by comparison with Sercquiais and Jèrriais.' I wouldn't be at all surprised if metathesis were common with n as well. I know of no language that restricts metathesis [which I discussed here] to a single phonological context).

All of this leaves  J'pâlron as an object of my doubt. The only verb table ...
<autobiographical_note meta="old fogey alert">
or paradigm as we used to say at school, before the word was exposed to such wanton over-use:

Collins frequency chart.  I rest my case
(and blame that Kuhn chap. His book was published in 1962 right at the start of that sharp rise).
...I can find gives "oimaïr - to love (regular conjugation)"; and that "regular" suggests that anything else is irregular. And among Romance languages, I can't imagine the word derived from PARABOLARE (the Vulgar Latin word for 'talk', adopted for its regularity) being irregular. Which would suggest that j'palron should fit this model:

oimaïr paradigm at  Wikipedia

An extraordinary feature that leaps out (eventually – it‘s so extraordinary that I missed it at first glance...
I'd no doubt have known about it if I'd bitten the bullet of studying the History of French (which I didn't do for reasons discussed in an  earlier post , I think)
)... is that Je (or j'  in this case) serves as both singular and plural,   so that J'pâlron[s?] in Métivier's poem means We will talk.

With curiosities like this lurking in every natural language, 20th-21st century mankind's insouciant destruction of the Earth's linguodioversity* is lamentable.

But there's a Velux to refurbish ...

Flourish backfires. (5)

Update 2015.07.09.16:20 – Added PPS

              <occasional_FOGGY_nomination explanation="here" perpetrator="mercifully anonymous">
This approach was on the understanding that these 11 units would not being [sic] subjected to any additional financial contributions, nor assessed against any policy, nor be included in any calculations which could result in affordable housing provision or environmental services that would not otherwise be expected via a prior approval and CLD application process.
           Wokingham Borough application F/2015/0346

              Hmmm... No idea what this means, but it imparts a nasty whiff of  nods and winks.

Update 2015.09.09.17:20 – Added link to earlier post.

Update 2015.12.14.14:00 – Crossword answer: SERIF (easy enough, I think, but pleasing) and added this note:

* My model for this is 'biodiversity'; but if I follow that model (or paradigm as I'm sure a true modernist would say) I should mix Greek (βιος) and Latin (divertere). Some commentators decry this mixing, irrationally; mixed etymologies are common, useful, and sometimes necessary for the coiner's purpose. And where, in any case, do you draw the line between a language and its descendant? A morganatic marriage, I've  just discovered, is one that involves no transfer of property except for a morning gift (OE  morgengifu):
morganatic (adj.) Look up morganatic at
1727, from French morganatique (18c.), from Medieval Latin matrimonium ad morganaticam "marriage of the morning," probably from Old High German*morgangeba (Middle High German morgengabe) "morning gift," corresponding to Old English morgengifu (see morn + gift)...
More here

But you'll look in vain for morganaticus in a Classical Latin dictionary, although the suffix -aticus was common. Television mixes Greek and Latin, but try calling it teleopsy.

So my linguodiversity ('pure' Latin) might better be glottodiversity (at the risk of sounding as though it could be thought to refer to trendy accents that affect a glottal stop [but inconsistently]).

Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-paimercifullyrs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
Well over 49,200 views  and nearly 9,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,700 views and nearly 1,100 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.