Showing posts with label Know Your English Literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Know Your English Literature. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rule of Thumb – Procedure or Practice

Rule of Thumb
Rule of Thumb is a procedure or practice which had been developed from experience and common understanding but it had nothing to do with technical or scientific knowledge. It had first been used in 1962 in English and the expression relates to the making of rough estimates of measurement with the use of the thumb, i.e. the distance to the first knuckle which was about an inch.

The origin of the phrase is not known and the earliest knowledge comes from J. Durham’s `Heaven upon Earth’, 1685, wherein he states `Many profess Christian are like foolish builder who build by guess and with the rule of thumb’.

The phrase also existed in various other languages and the plural form is rules of thumb. The phrase is presumed to have been originated with carpenters who utilised the width of their thumbs rather than rulers as a means of measurement for things, cementing its modern use though not precise, but reliable and convenient standards.

The rule of thumb as a unit of measure tends to appear also in Dutch where the word for thumb – duim also means inch and the use of a single word for inch and thumb seems to be common in many Indo European languages. Some examples are: in French: puce inch/thumb, Spanish: pulgada inch, pulgar thumb, Italian: pollice inch/thumb, Portuguese: polegada inch, polegar thumb: Swedish: tum inch, tumme thumb, Sanskrit: angulam inch, anguli finger etc.

Origin derived from Measurement 

Another possibility on the originof the phrase is derived from measurement especially in agricultural fields where the plant is in need of a precise depth to plant the seed properly and whether planted from seed or replanted, the depth was at times estimated with the use of the thumb, which was the rule of the thumb for measurement.

 As per Gary Martin, he states that `the origin of the phrase remain unknown and it is likely that it refers to one of the numerous ways that thumbs have been used to estimate things, judging the alignment of distance of an object by holding the thumb in one’s eye-line, the temperature of brew, measurement of an inch from the joint to the nail to the tip or across the thumb etc.’

He further adds that the phrase joins the whole nine yards as one that probably derives from some form of measurement but which is unlikely ever to be definitively pinned down’.

Financial Rule of Thumb

Yet another version on the phrase `rule of thumb’, is that the coarseness of flour ground, produced by grist mills in Old England, would be assessed when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger by the miller.

The rule of thumb typically developed out of practice and experience instead of the scientific theory or research and investors may find it familiar with a number of financial rules of thumb which may be intended, enabling them to learn, remember whereby they can apply financial guideline inclusive of those that address procedures and methods enabling them to save and invest which would be helpful for retirement.

Though the rule of thumb could be appropriate for a wide audience, it may not be applicable universally to all individuals and unique set of circumstances.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Whole Nine Yards – A Colloquial American Phrase

Nine
The phrase `The whole nine yards’, is a colloquial American phrase which means `everything, the whole lot’, or `all the way’, when used as an adjective. The origin of the phrase is unknown but it has been described as the most prominent etymological riddle of our time. The earliest example ever known with regards to this phrase is from The Mitchell Commercial newspaper in 1907 in a small town of Mitchell, southern Indiana where the expression of the whole six yards is related and used around the same time in Kentucky and South Carolina.

These phrases are variation on the whole ball of wax recorded in the 1880s and were part of a family of expression, where odd sounding item like enchilada, shebang, shooting match or hog was substituted for ball of wax. The number nine option may be related to the expression `to the nines’ – to perfection. Introduction of the phrase to a national audience was done by Elaine Shepard in the Vietnam War navel – The Doom Pussy in 1967 and the use of the phrase become very popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Interest in the phrase’s etymology is attributed to William Safire, New York Time language columnist, who wrote elaborately on this phrase.

Phrase Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Nine Yard Ammuniation
In 1982, William Safire checked with listeners for information on Larry King’s radio show with regards to the origin of the phrase and ended up writing around nine columns pertaining to the subject which is largely responsible for the interest of the content in it. Towards 1986, the phrase was then added to the Oxford English Dictionary together with the earliest citation given as 1970. Various key discoveries for further antedating thephrase had been undertaken by Bonnie Taylor Blake who was a neuroscience researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an amateur member of the American Dialect society, which was an association of professional and amateur linguists and whose mailing list served as forum for word and phrase discoveries. Taylor Blake in 2012 discovered the 1956 and 1957 uses in Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground and later that same year, she together with Fred R. Shapira found the whole six yards examples during the period 1921 – 1921and received good publicity. Towards 2013, Taylor Blake then posted her discovery of the Mitchell Commercial uses from the period of 1907 – 1914.

The Phrase – A Synonym for Stuff

Nine Yards Saree
The phrase cropped up in several contexts since there were many things which could be measured in square, linear, or cubic yards besides yard-arms, steelyards and much more to account for. The early phrase does not infact refer to yards of any specific material but just to a nonspecific measure i.e. yards. The most likely explanation inspite of the inventive theories though frustrating is that the yards in the phrase is not a reference to any particular object but it is merely a synonym for `stuff’. With advancement of the digitisation of text and newspaper, we could find some means of finding earlier example in print that would throw some insight to what the `yards’ probably meant.

Whole Nine Yards – Give it your all – Various Theories 

The phrase `Whole Nine Yards’ means giving it you’re all, to some, while others refer as `try your best’. According to lexicographer Jonathon Green in his examination slang, states that it is unclear from where the whole nine yards come from. On the basis of most suggestions, he states that it involves standard of measurement, from the dimension of a nun’s habit to the capacity of a cement truck and the length of an ammunition belt to that of a hangman’s rope but the few when checked did run to nine yards. The whole nine yards phrase is derived from American airmen during the World War Two in the Pacific where at that time, the ammunitions belts which were loaded into the wings of the fighter aircraft seemed to be nine yards in length and at times a returning pilot while conveying the intensity of the battle to his ground crew and fellow pilots was heard saying `I gave him the whole nine yards’. But according to Nigel from London, he thinks that this phrase came from an earlier machine gun. He believed that it came from the length of the ammunition belt of a Vickers machine gun and when the gun was tested before World War I, the term which was used was `to give them the whole nine yards’.

Nine Yard ammuniation
Nick Mercer’s belief from England considers it as another type of weapon wherein he states that he had often heard it being referred to the length of 50mm ammunition loaded in each cannon on American planes in World War II and when the enemy aviator pursued relentlessly, they would get `the whole nine yards; of a belt of ammunition. While in American football, if a team would be in possession of the football and gain one yard on their first down, they were urged to gain nine more yard in the next three plays in order to receive another first down enabling them to be in possession of the ball in their drive in gaining a goal. Hence when one yard was gained on the first down, their fans would urge the team on a second down with the phrase `get the whole nine yards’. The expression was used in American culture - He got the whole nine yards.


According to M Desai, Sutton, Surrey, he considers that the phrase could be from India, where women wore sari that was nine yards long. The use of the nine yard sari was very popular during the reign of the Raj but has slowly died down and the saris seen presently are five yards long. Nine yard long saris are now only found in remote areas of the country which are worn by elderly women. Steve’s version was that when something was done without paying heed to the expenses, it was compared to a woman using the whole bolt of fabric in making a dress which was associated with the American and Canadian West, where during the early days frugality was the norm.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Know your English !! Part.X

Diacritical marks: Marks used in writing and printing to adjust the way in which a letter is pronounced,

Cedilla: (,) shaped rather like a comma, placed beneath a letter on some languages to adjust the way it is pronounced. For example, a cedilla placed beneath the letter ‘c’ in French words indicates that it should be pronounced as ‘s’ as in François
               
Throwing down the gauntlet:  Issuing a challenge. The original challenge involved was a duel. The gauntlet was a protective glove worn as part of a soldier’s armour in the Middle Ages. Throwing one’s gauntlet at the feet of a rival knight was a standard way of challenging him to one to one combat.

Short shrift: Brief and unsympathetic treatment, or abrupt dismissal.  The word shrift is an old term for confession in church, and short shrift originally referred to the brief time in a condemned prisoner could make his confession before being executed.

Portmanteau word (also blend): Words formed by fusing the sounds and meaning of two different words, such as chunnel  (from channel and tunnel) and chortle (from chuckle and smort). The second example was coined by Lewis Carroll, who was also responsible for the term ‘portmanteau word’. In Through the looking glass, Humpty Dumpty describes such blends as ‘like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word’- just as a portmanteau bag consists of two thinner cases hinged together at the back.

Ivory towers:  Institution or way of life secluded from reality and often devoted to abstract intellectual concerns rather than practical every day matters.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Know your English !! Part.IX

Mnemonic: Rhyme formula or device used as an aid to memory. For example, the colors of the rainbow can be recalled by the sentence Richard Of Yark Gave Battle in Vain. The initial letters of words in the sentence prompt the names of the colors in their correct order: Red, Orange, Yellow Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
Pidgin: Simplified language based on two or more other tongues, and generally developed in colonial times as a means of communication between foreigners and indigenous people. Pidgin often sounds comical to speakers of one of the original languages- for example when an English speaker hears Prince Philip described as number one fellah bilong Missis Queen.
Pidgin English was originally a form of Anglo Chinese used by 17th century traders; curiously the term ‘pidgin’ is believed to have been a Chinese corruption of the word ‘ business’.

Palindrome: Words are expression that reads the same backwards and forwards.
Example:  Otto, Reviver, and the sentences
                Evil rats on no star live and Able was I ere I saw Elba

Pyrrhic victory: Victory that involves such great losses for the victor as to be almost as bad as defeat. The phrase is based on a supposed remark by Pyrrhus, a Greek king of the 3rd century BC. After defeating the Roman army in a battle, but suffering severe losses to his own army, he is believed to have said:’ We cannot afford another victory like that.’
Trans-: Prefix, from Latin, meaning ‘across’, ‘over’, ‘beyond’ or ‘through’, as in  translate, transplant, trans-Siberian, transcend and transparent

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Know your English !! Part.I


Expletive: Any exclamation or oath, especially one considered to be blasphemous or obscene, whether currently or formerly, such as Damn! Or Heavens above! Nowadays, any obscene word can be loosely referred to as an expletive.



Feet of Clay: Phrase used of a highly regarded person revealed to have a character weakness or flaw: it probably comes from a passage in the Book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had dreams of a huge statue with gold head, silver arms, and so on, down to feet or iron and clay. Daniel interpreted the dream to mean that a future kingdom would be divided, and would eventually crumble like the clay that supported the statue.



Gilding the lily: Trying to improve something that is already beautiful or perfect: dyeing her naturally
blonde hair would just be gilding the lily. The phrase is often taken to be a quotation from Shakespeare, but the words he actually used in King John were: ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily… is wasteful and ridiculous excess’.



In the doldrums: Gloomy, down in the dumps, feeling depressed and lazy. It can also be used of economic condition.
The phrase originated as a reference to equatorial seas, where ships were often becalmed.



Grist to the mill: Something that can be turned to one’s advantage or something that should prove useful even thought it may not appear particularly promising at first. The image is of an old grain mill such as a watermill, which treats anything presented to it as grist or grain, and grinds it regardless.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. XIV



Far from the Madding Crowd: Novel by Thomas Hardy published in 1874. It tells the story of farmer Batheheba Everdene and her three suitos- the good hearted Gabriel Oak, the dashing Sergeant Troy and the wealthy farmer Boldwood.
 The title came from the lines in Gray’s Elegy which says of those buried in the country churchyard: ‘Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife/ their sober wishes never learned to stray.’

Gray’s Elegy: Popular name for the poem Elegy written in a country church yard by Thomas Gray. The poem begins by considering the lives of those who lie buried in the village churchyard and then turns into a meditation on death. It contains many well known lines, such as ‘full many a flower is born to blush unseen, / and waste its sweetness in the desert air’.

Hamlet: Tragedy by William Shakespeare, written around 1599-1601. Before the play opens, the king of Denmark has been murdered by his brother, Claudius who has taken the throne and married the queen, Gertrude. The ghost of the dead king visits his son, Prince Hamlet, and urges him to avenge the murder. Hamlet tormented by this revelation, appears to be mad and cruelly rejects Ophelia whom he loved. Using a troupe of visiting players to act out his father’s death the prince prompts Claudius to expose his guilt. Hamlet then kills Ophelia’s father Polonius in mistake for Claudius, and Claudius tries but fails to have Hamlet killed. Ophelia drowns herself in grief, and her brother Laertes fights a duel with Hamlet. The play ends with the death by poison of the main characters and the arrival of Fortibras, prince of Norway, who assumes control.
Hamlet’s dilemma is often seen as typical of those whose thoughtful nature prevents quick and decisive action.. Hamlet contains several fine examples of Soliloquy, such as”To be or not to be” and the Hamlet’s earlier speech lamenting his mother’s hasty remarriage and Claudius’ reign which opens ’O! that this too too solid flesh would melt’. Much quoted lines include’ neither a borrower nor a lender be’, Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’, ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’, ‘To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the nub’; ‘the lady doth protest too much, methinks’, and ‘Alas, poor Yorick’.




Friday, October 28, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. XIII

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Children’s book by Lewis Carroll published in 1865 and written for Alice Liddell, the daughter of a friend. Alice enters Wonderland by following the white Rabbit down his hole, and has many strange adventures there. She meets the Mad Hatter and the march Hare, the grinning Cheshire Cat and the Queen of hearts, who shouts, ‘Off with her head!’ when Alice makes a mistake at croquet. The book was highly successful and was followed in 1872 by through the Looking Glass.
The book has been interpreted in many different ways, from being a satire on the court of Queen Victoria or academic pedantry at oxford, to mocking the legal system or exploring the unconscious mind.



William Wordsworth: English poet whose work played a major role in the development of Romanticism in English literature. His writing expresses a mystical view of life in which nature and the unman spirit are closely connected. Wordsworth grew up in Cumbria, and the Lake District country side inspired many of his poems, such as ‘The prelude,’ ‘Intimations of Immortality’ and ‘Resolution and Independence’. He was a close friend of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and in 1798 they published a joint volume, Lyrical Ballads, which included such poems as The Rime of the ancient mariner and Tintern Abbey. He was mad poet laureate in 1843.
Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and wife, Mary, at Dove Cottage, now a museum, in Grasmere.


Brer Rabbit: Wily animal character from black American folklore used by the 19th century American author Joel Chandler Harris in his ‘Uncle Remus’ tales.
Brer is a dialect version of brother

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. XII

The Charges of the Light Brigade: The poem written by Tennyson in 1854, about a disastrous British cavalry charge in the Crimean War, in which nearly 250 soldiers were killed or wounded. The poem contains the lines:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.



‘Big Brother is watching you’: Slogan appearing on posters throughout the fictional dictatorship in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty four. Big brother is the unseen head of the ruling party. The term ‘big brother’ is used to refer to any ruler or government seen as invading the privacy of individuals.



Brave New World: Futuristic novel by the British author Aldous Huxley published in 1932. It is set in a time when society is governed by science, and solutions have supposedly been found to all human problems. The main character is an intellectual, Bernard Marx, who in his travels encounters ‘Savages’ who still lead lives of unscientific disorder. Marx returns to London accompanied by a Savage, and the book ends with a debate on human freedom versus scientific determinism.
The book’s title comes from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest in which Miranda, brought up alone on an island, catches her first glimpse of a man other than her father. ‘O brave new world,’ she exclaims,’ that has such people in it.’

Anita Brookner: Novelist and former art historian who began writing fiction in middle age. Her heroines are innocent romantics who find to their cost that in life – unlike literature – there are few happy endings. Her novel Hotel du Lac won the 1984 Booker prize.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. XI


Othello: Tragedy by William Shakespeare, probably written between 1602 and 1604. Othello, a Moor, has command of the Venetian forces in Cyprus. However, the villain Iago cunningly convinces Othello that Desdemona, his beautiful and faithful wife, has committed adultery with Cassio, a lieutenant. Consumed by jealously Othello murders Desdemona by smothering her in bed. When he realizes his error and Iago’s malice, he kills himself.

Pride and Prejudice: Novel by Jane Austen published in 1813. The story concerns an upper middle class Hertfordshire family consisting of the foolish Mrs. Bennet, her wryly humorous husband and their five daughters. After a complex succession of proposals, refusals, engagements and even an elopement, three of the daughters end up happily married.
                The book’s opening sentence is well known:’ It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’.

The Wind in the Willows: Animal story for children by Kenneth Grahame published in 1908. The book started out as a series of tales told to Grahame’s son, featuring the highly strung, conceited and irresponsible toad and his riverside companions Rattie, Mole and Badger- characters partly based on friends of Grahame’s and partly on the rural gentry.
A musical, Toad of Toad Hall, was adapted from the book by A.A.Milne in 1930.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’: First line of the 17th century poem urges young people to make the most of life in particular,of love- while they can.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. X

The Jungle Book: Collection of short stories for children by Rudyard Kipling published in 1894 and followed by the second Jungle book. Many of the stories feature Mowgli, a boy who is brought up by wolves and educated in the ways of the jungle by animals such as Ballo, the brown bear, and Bagheera, the Black Panther.
·         Mowgli and his friends are now, perhaps, best known to thousands of youngsters through Walt Disney’s 1967 delightful animated film version of the jungle book.
·         The Jungle Book was the inspiration behind the Wolf Cubs, the junior division of the Boy Scouts, founded in 1916.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Comedy by William Shakespeare, written around 1595. Four lovers spend a night in a wood outside Athens, where the fairy king and Queen, Oberon and Titania, have had an argument. To punish Titania, Oberon gets the sprite Puck to drop the juice of a magic herb on her eyes while she sleeps so that she will fall in love with the first thing she sees when she wakes. This turns out to be the weaver Bottom wearing an ass’s head mask for a play rehearsal, Puck also uses the herb on the human lovers who unfortunately set eyes on the wrong partners first. When Titania and Oberon are reconciled, Oberon releases the human lovers from the spell.
Ø  Well known lines from the play include
Ø  Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania
Ø  Lord, what fools these mortals be!’

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. IX


Emma: Novel by Jane Austen published in 1816 and regarded by many as her best work. The heroine, Emma Woodhouse, is a talented and attractive young woman who is, however, just a little too pleased with herself and a little too keen to meddle in the lives of others. Her action upset many people and nearly causes disaster on several occasions. However, Emma eventually learns her lesson and is rewarded by marriage to the chivalrous Mr.Knightley.
Samuel Johnson: Writer, wit, critic and lexicographer, best known for his Dictionary of the English language, published in 1755. In it, Johnson defines more than 40000 words and includes over 100000 quotations illustrating their usage. The book remained the standard reference work until publication of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1884.
Henry V: Historical play by William Shakespeare, written in 1599. The new king, Henry V, is advised that he has a claim to the French throne and wages war on France. After his rousing and patriotic speech- designed to increase his soldiers comradeship, and which includes the line ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers’- the English win a great victory at Agincourt. The play ends with peace reestablished and Henry courting Katherine of France.
·         Films of Henry V include a 1944 version, starring Laurence Olivier, and a 1989 version directed by Kenneth , Branagh in which he also played the title role

Let us go then, you and I’: First line of the poem The Love song of J.Alfred Prufrock by T.S.Eliot. The title is ironic, and Eliot deliberately uses unromantic images to reflect the nature of modern existence. The poem continues:
         When the evening is spread out against
                       The sky
          Like patient etherised upon a table.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. VIII

A Passage to India: Novel by E.M.Forster published in 1924 and set in India at the time of the British Raj and in which Forster examines the complex interaction of the two cultures. The events revolve around the strange experience of a young English woman, Adela Quested, in the Marabar caves. The experience- never fully explained- leads her to accuse Aziz, an Anglophile Indian, of rape. Eventually she withdraws the charge, but Aziz and many other Indians are left angry and embittered, and the British community is divided.

A Modest Proposal: Satirical pamphlet written by Jonathan Swift in 1729, suggesting the eating of children’s as a way of solving social problems in Ireland. It was written in outrage at government policy towards Ireland and at the appalling conditions in which the Irish peasantry lived.

The lady of Shallot: Poem by Tennyson based on medieval legend. It tells of a lady shut up in a tower on a river island. She is under a curse, and may only look at the world outside in a mirror. One day, hearing Sir Lancelot approach, she rushes to the window- and brings down the curse upon herself. She knows that death is near, leaves the tower and floats downstream in a boat, singing a last lament until her arrives- dead-at Camelot.
Jane Eyre: Romantic novel by Charlotte Bronte published in 1847. It describes how Jane, an orphan, becomes governess at Thornfield hall and eventually marries its intense, brooding master, Mr. Rochester.

Know Your English Literature Part. VII

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Children’s book by Mark Twain, Published in 1876. The hero is a wily, independent boy who engages in a series of anarchic escapades. In one episode, Tom tricks his friends into whitewashing a fence for him by pretending it is a great privilege and making them pay to take over the job.  On another occasion, Tom and his friends disappear for so long that they are presumed dead, finally returning to find their own funeral in progress.

The Tempest: magical romantic play by William Shakespeare, written in about 1611. Prospero, the usurped Duke of Milan and a magician, had to bring up his daughter Miranda on an island where they are alone except for the monster slave Caliban and various spirits, such as Ariel. The play opens as Prospero, who is concerned about the young Miranda’s future, creates a tempest which shipwrecks a young man, Ferdinand, together with the false Duke of Milan and his confederates, on the island. Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love and the others are delivered into Prospero’s hands. He forgives them on condition that his dukedom is restored. At the end of the play, Prospero renounces magic and prepares to return to Italy.

Sex and Shopping novels: Popular works of fiction, generally written for and by women, in which glamorous characters indulge in steamy romantic affairs and spend vast sums of money. Typical examples include Judith Krantz’s novel princes Daisy, Shirley Conran’s Lace and Jackie Collins’s Hollywood Wives. An earlier example is Jacqueline Susann’s 1968 novel The Valley of the Dolls, Which sold more than 28 million copies.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. V


Paradise Lost: Epic poem written by John Milton, between about 1658 and 1663, and consisting of 12 books containing more than 10000 lines. The poem deals with the temptation and disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the Fall of Man which follows. It also describes the rebellion and punishment of Satan and his cohorts, and foretells the coming of the Messiah, who will redeem mankind.


The Owl and the Pussy-Cat: Children’s nonsense poem written by Edward Lear in 1867 for the daughter of a friend. I t begins with the lines:
The Owl and the Pussy- Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

Ring a Ring o ‘Roses: Nursery rhyme sung in a children’s game. The children hold hand and dance around in a ring until reaching the last line, when they pretend to sneeze and fall down. The words are believed by many to date from the Great Plague, with the’ roses’ being the red spots and ‘pocketful of posies’ the herbs which were supposed to ward off the illness. ‘A tishoo! a tishoo! Is said to imitate the cold symptoms which came before ‘we all fall down’ and die. However, there is no evidence to confirm this, and the earliest printed version dates only from 1800s.

Harold Robbins (1916): Best selling American novelist known for books such as Never Love a stranger and The Carpet-baggers, the latter of which sold more than 6 million copies.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Know Your English Literature Part. IV



Noddy: Character in a children’s book invented by Enid Blyton in 1949 after she had seen a sketch by the Dutch artist Harmsen van der Beek. Noddy books, featuring such characters as big-ears the Brownie and Mr Pold the Police man, have been best sellers ever since. But they have also been attacked for racism.


Old English: Germanic language with genders and cases, also called Anglo- Saxon, which was spoken and written from 700Ad to 1150. At least four dialects were used Northumbrian, Mercian, Kentish and West Saxon. The best known Old English poetry, including BEOWULF, is contained in four manuscripts from the late 10th and early 11th centuries. The earliest known works is the Hymn of Creation, composed in the late 7th century by Caedmon, an illiterate Northumbrian cowherd.

Peter Pan: Play by the Scottish writer J.M.BARRIE, first performed in 1904. The title character is a little boy who lives in a place called Never Never Land where children never grow up. Peter Pan, accompanied by the fairy Tinker bell, persuades Wendy and her two brothers to leave their parents, the Darlings, and their faithful Canine nurse, Nana, and fly from their Kensington home to Never Never Land. There they have various adventures and finally vanquish the pirates and their leader, evil Captain Hook.

‘To be or not to be’: opening line of one of the most celebrated speeches in English literature. It comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and occurs in a Soliloquy in which the prince considers suicide as a way out of his dilemma. Ultimately, he rejects it because of fears about ‘what dreams may come’- that is, the possibility of damnation and eternal torment- and concludes, ‘Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all’