Thursday, 6 February 2014

Writing - The tools of our trade

I was having my usual battle with spell checker the other day which insists in querying words such as 'myself' realisation (it wants 'z'); and colour, and I realised that I was enjoying myself really. I love words and for writers they are the bread upon which we smear our thoughts and ideas. Then I was further intrigued by a quiz show that, at one point, focussed on foreign words in common use. Here is an expansion on that fact.

Words that we have adopted are also subject to regional variations and so this blog fits in with the current theme. 
One such word would probably be 'sushi' which has been known in the country since the 1890's but it is only in the last 2 or 3 decades that it has become more common. In fact if there isn't a Yo Sushi or similar Japanese restaurant in an area the chances are that sushi won't be commonly used. Though sushi may be today, it hasn't made its way into the inner core of English in the same way as words like peace, war, just, or very (from French) or leg, sky, take, or they (from Scandinavian languages). This isn't just because they were borrowed longer ago. It owes a great deal to the different influences that foreign languages have had on the word-stock of English over the centuries.
Some of the words have lasted for centuries and are the result of invasion or colonisation on our part but proximity doesn't always result in a cross fertilisation of language. There are some examples, like trousers, gull, clan, or (maybe) baby, but they are tiny in number compared with the vast numbers borrowed from French and Latin, and they have had less impact on the everyday language than words from Scandinavian sources.
Ultimately, patterns of borrowed words reflect complex patterns of cultural contacts across the centuries. Names of foods, plants, animals, and other features of the natural world are borrowed as part of the basic traffic between peoples in different parts of the world. Borrowings affecting other areas of the vocabulary typically follow the pathways of power and prestige between languages. English today may, for once, be more of a lender than a borrower. If we try to look decades or centuries into the future, who knows?


Venture Galleries

Tomorrow my 3rd Steele novel 'The Biter Bit' will begin its serialisation on Venture Galleries website.

Patrick A Steele, accountant turned vengeful Robin Hood, is off on his crusades once again. He has given himself a role that sees him trying to right the wrongs and inadequacies of the legal system in the UK. His experiences as a child and through higher education have equipped Patrick with abilities that realistically only has value in the field of rough justice.

Steele has developed a working relationship with the Gurentai, a more benevolent sub-group of the Japanese Yakuza and, as a result of a number of successful associations, have furnished him with a Swiss bank account and a very healthy retainer. As a result Patrick is building his own little empire.

Everything seems fine in his life until he is drawn into trying to solve the problem of lawless youths that are targeting tourists in the City of York. He enlists the help of his two colleagues from Japan, Takuo Sumisu and Naomi Kobayashi, and with one of his own staff they head off to identify and eradicate the source of the problem. All is proceeding as planned until there is a knifing and one of the team is shot!
The action then migrates across France and eventually to Le Marche in eastern Italy where it seems to have been brought to a conclusion until the team return home!

God Bless