10 June 2009

The Marvels of English

The English language is wonderful. It has a richness and a subtlety unmatched anywhere on the planet and, quite possibly, in the known Universe (Vogon poetry, for example, is well known for its poverty, although Klingon may be richer in its terminology for warfare).

I was struck recently at how little has to change in an expression to alter its meaning radically. A friend of mine was asked to run a seminar but was unavailable. She asked if I would do it for her, to 'fill her shoes', as it were, and my wierdly wired mind went into overdrive. As I said to her, "... 'filling your shoes' is a noble aspiration. 'Filling your boots' is a very different thing..."