Tag Archives: Words



There are a great many things wrong with the English language. It’s an unwieldy and bloated monster of a thing, a linguistic Yog-sothoth and just as ubiquitous and just as malign. All that finds itself in its path is destroyed, consumed and repurposed. It is a language of empire, of colonialism and of tyranny. It is my mother tongue and for that I count myself immensely grateful. I dread to think what it’s like to actually learn English as a second language, especially considering how much of a mess of it we native speakers make. Our syntax is a twisted bastardisation of something faintly Germanic and our verb conjugation is, at its very best, completely nonsensical. It has rigid and unbreakable rules that must be followed, but only if you feel like it. It has a vast and intricate system of grammar that is almost universally ignored. We have in excess of four hundred homophones in regular use and perhaps most annoyingly of all, just as soon as you think you’ve got the entire thing licked, when you finally think you can say “English, thou art Conquered! Thou art like unto my bitch [yo!]” it goes and changes. It is fluid and ever-changing, forever in flux, it cannot be mastered or tamed and it cannot be killed, it is a lexical Lambton Worm. But all of this is not without its upsides.

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In the past I have made my opinions on eBooks very clear, I’ve waxed lyrical about the virtues of bookmarksand my joy and delight in all things solid and real. This love for solidity and realism has made me realise something about which I didn’t bring up in my initial tirade against them, something which in essence is far removed from a simple personal preference, something which has slightly sinister overtones. The rise of the internet and the relentless march of technology and data which followed has made a profound impact on modern life, it has changed the very way we view the world. This change isn’t static either, it’s a change that continues to evolve and shape society. I’m just not entirely sure if it’s a good thing any more.


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The Power of Words

Long ago, in the far distant days of February when my blog airship set out from its moorings in the suburbs of Nottingham, I picked a name for it. That name, as the more astute of you will have surmised, (hint, it’s the REALLY big writing at the top of the page) was The Rogue Verbumancer. It’s a name I quite like. The mancer is taken from the general term for wizard, magician or person of great skill that seems to crop up more or less everywhere. From the grim, grizzly and slightly shady world of the necromancer; the reckless self-endangerment of the pyromancer; or the drug fuelled cyber-haze of the neuromancer. As a suffix it’s been about, the whore that it is. The Verbu, or more accurately Verbum (I ditched the m, two of them seemed redundant from a phonetic perspective) is the Latin word for word, or so the internet would have me believe. Even as a supposedly dead language Latin still gets about. I liked how Verbumancer implied a sort of wizardry with words. The rogue was added to signify that I didn’t play by the rules, I didn’t take orders from nobody or that simply, I wasn’t very good. It was also preferable to lacunamancer, because it sounded better and wouldn’t have people associating me with Lacuna Coil or that song from the Lion King.  Continue reading