English is truly the international language of the world. It’s rise to prominence is due in no small part due to the British Empire and now to the all pervading American cultural hegemony. But what about the evolution of the language itself ?
So here’s a question you might idly contemplate as you lie back one summers evening gazing into star bright night sky watching as the planets, the moon and the stars idly move on by, “Will the Earth ever stop spinning ?”
In 2013 the Sunday Times ‘outed’ J.K. Rowling as the author of the detective novel “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, published under her nom de plume Robert Galbraith. They did this partly using a scientific technique called ‘forensic stylometry’. In this article we look at this ‘literary sleuthing’ method
There is something rather disturbing about the idea that our actions could be influenced by ideas slipped into our unconscious mind. So does subliminal advertising work?
Les Miserables. based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, is the world’s longest running musical, now in its 28th year. The film adaptation of the stage show has brought this timeless story to a new audience. Although set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Victor Hugo finished writing his epic tale in Guernsey, an island he loved and upon which he has left an indelible mark. Although raised as a Royalist....
When you look at pictures of our beautiful plant you can’t help but notice the startling blue of the world’s oceans. They occupy two-thirds of the planets surface but how did they get there ?
When New Year’s Eve rolls around every year it’s inevitably time to Sing “Auld lang syne” again. But what does it mean ?
Behind every nursery rhyme is a history and story that’s every bit intriguing as the rhyme itself : Three Blind Mice; Mary Mary Quite Contrary; Pease-pudding Hot; Little Miss Muffet; Little Jack Horner
Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts. The “true love” mentioned in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” does not refer to a romantic couple, but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The...
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the Cracker. That extra piece of trimming that helps make up the Christmas table with it’s paper hats, silly (sometimes usefull) gifts and jokes and mottos that we all like to groan at. Here we look at how the man behind this tradition, Tom Smith, developed them.
There are many parts to the nativity story : Shepherds, Angels,Wise men & of course the star. That last part about the Star must be made up surely? … maybe not ! In this article we look at some surprising evidence.
Good King Wenceslas is more than just a popular, jaunty Christmas Carol, it encompasses a true story of a man who was made a saint by the Catholic Church.
A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries. However, despite the passage of time, there are many common Latin phrases and abbreviations that have survived and are still in use in everyday language, even after a couple of thousand years.
We’ve all heard stories of refugees stowing away to get to freedom but here is a truly inspirational story published over 150 years ago in the London Times : A fugitive slave who sent himself to freedom in the post !
The key currency symbols of the World’s biggest currencies are instantly recognizable. In the this article we look at the etymology of some of these symbols.