When I saw the suggestion for today’s blog I was initially worried that it might stifle my creative talents but decided to persevere none the less.
Actually the word stifle has a couple of meanings, one of which is; to (cause to) be unable to breathe because you have no air, an example of which is, he stifled his victim with a pillow. I imagine perhaps the word suffocated would be the word more commonly used, but I have to admit stifling someone to death has a certain ring about it.
You can stifle a cough, a yawn, a scream, a sneeze, or indeed one can stifle one’s anger, which brings me nicely on to my next topic, text-speak, mostly used by the younger members of society, although it seems to be coming more popular with older people as time goes by.
Should anyone be so foolish as to send me a text-speak message I generally don’t stifle my anger and together with the wife spend considerable time attempting to translate it back into English.
Now I don’t wish to upset our American cousins, of whom there are vast numbers on the interweb, as we are alledgedly about to negotiate massive trade deals, the like of which has not been seen since Franklin D Roosevelt initiated the lend lease agreement in 1941. Obviously I’m hoping for a better outcome this time round as Great Britain was effectively bankrupt at the end of the war, perhaps we didn’t read the small print.
Which brings me on to the subject of the Americans and their ability to stifle the English language, mostly by leaving a considerable number of the letters out of the words and I have a theory as why this happened.
I imagine that when the Pilgrim Fathers first went to The Americas they were limited as to the amount of luggage they were permitted to take with them, rather like the budget airlines of today.
Their first permanent colony was in New England and was founded in 1620, however the first recorded dictionary was available in 1604 written by Robert Cawdrey a former Church of England clergyman and yet it seems they omitted to take one with them. Perhaps, laden as they were with Bibles they were unable to take a dictionary as it would have gone over their weight limit.
Had they managed to get their hands on a copy of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, the first definitive English dictionary published in 1775 things may have improved but I rather imagine that The American War of Independence which started in the same year may have put paid to that.
This is only my second go at this topic of the day but I’m finding it quite enjoyable, I may even try to enter a topic myself and the word I will suggest will be discombobulate, a rather splendid word certainly found in English dictionary’s and I certainly hope also in the American ones too.