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Showing posts from June, 2019

Very Rich and Dishevelled

‘Always rich and dishevelled, it (English) is fast becoming very rich and dishevelled.’ William Empson (Seven Types of Ambiguity p 236).
Dishevelled – what a wonderful word!It’s one of those pleasant-sounding English words we all use from time to time, readily understood and unquestioned, which refers to an absence, disruption or diminution of a quality described by a never-, or hardly ever, heard adjective.I mean, have you ever found something hevelled, appointing, traught or even ruptive?  And as for combobulated...
I was reminded of the richness of our language when reading an interview with the admirable Judith Kerr, who's just died.  I've admired her and her books for a long time, thanks yet again to my children for introducing me to someone I wouldn't otherwise have known.  Surely one of the most shevelled of people and fluent in three languages, she was comparing French and English, the former distinguished by its precision, the latter by its wealth of synonyms – wel…