Wednesday 15 September 2010


When God created the English language He very sensibly took several words and made them nearly unrhymable. He did this to stop bad poets going on about love, life and the world. Though you can make it to hurled, you then get stuck with curled and furled. You can't even use whirled because Rhyming With A Homonym Is Cheating. As David Bowie shouldn't have sung in Starman:

I had to call someone so I picked on you.
Hey, that's far out. So you heard him too.
Turn on the TV, we may pick him up on channel two.

World originally meant stuff people do or human life. It therefore got contrasted to Heaven, which is the next world. And from there it came to mean the little planet that the majority of Inky Fool readers call home. Earth, which originally just meant soil (as opposed to, say, water), similarly got saddled with new meaning.

1 comment:

  1. Now then. In my wife's Scottish accent, and, indeed, in my own public school accent of fifty years since, the wh at the beginning of whirled is aspirated, and not, therefore, the same consonant as the un-aspirated w at the beginning of world. This means that we are at a rhyme advantage, I presume?
    We have an acquaintance who was a primary school teacher at the inception of the 'Jolly Phonics' English spelling teaching method: as I understand it Jolly Phonics originally ignored the existence of the aspirated wh-, but found that they had to include it after complaints from people like me who wanted easily to distinguish Wales from whales.