• loadsa

    An orthographic representation of a frequently heard pronunciation /lʊədzə/ of loads of [= a lot of], given nationwide currency in the 1980s by a stand-up comedy act in which the performer, Harry Enfield, appeared in the character of a builder and plasterer who flaunted large bundles of banknotes and whose catchphrase became the name that audiences knew him by – Loadsamoney.

    Royal Arcade, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

  • NILE's CELTA Centre Manager Maria Heron was one of the first students to complete the MA with NILE and The University of Chichester. Her hard work earned her a well-deserved Distinction, and here, she shares her personal MA experience.

    Embarking on an MA when already well into my fifties was not an easy decision, especially as I hadn’t done any serious academic work since completing my Delta in the mid-80s.  However, a thirst for learning and working at the institution where the MA is run finally tipped the scales and I took the plunge into the unknown.Read more...

  • B-B-Q

    The source of this very common abbreviation for barbecue was evidently the homophone that links the letter Q to the final syllable of the full word. The abbreviation is largely confined to the written form, which read aloud would probably still be said as /bɑːbɪkjuː/ Norwich Market, Norwich, Norfolk UK

  • Britain Wins Gold!

    This social commentary on the London Olympics/ Commonwealth Games uses positive language to highlight a major social issue in the UK. Which unexpected social issues might your country win gold in?

    Corner Pottergate and Lower Goat Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, UK



  • Vegging out

    It’s clear from the context that this is an abbreviation of vegetables. The abbreviation is probably more common in spoken English than the full word. For example, the now rather outdated description of typically unimaginative English cuisine is “Meat and two veg”. Norwich Market, Norwich, Norfolk, UK


  • I’ve recently finished reading China Miéville’s novel Embassytown, and while not usually a science fiction fanatic, I found it alternately baffling and fascinating.

    The book hinges around an alien race’s unusual language, which does not divide words into signifiers and referents, but is instead a direct function of their consciousness.

    In the aliens’ language there is an inherent bond between each word and the thing it represents: their words are their meanings.

    This left me scratching my head about quite how such a thing would be possible, and also threw me back to thinking about the philosophy of language.Read more...

  • My kind of peoples

    Phrasal adjectives are supposed to be hyphenated. Guess the people at Oxfam didn’t care about that when they made up this poster. I prefer it without the hyphens too: makes it cleaner and easier to read. What kind of peoples are you? Decode that Mr. Grammarman ;)

    Location: St. Giles Street, Norwich

    It takes all sorts in context

  • Brambles in Norwich - Linguistic Landscapes

    Rules for life in a shop window.

    What are your mantras for living?

    Brambles, Exchange Street, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

  • ifs and butts

    Since the introduction of the smoking ban in all public buildings wall-mounted ashtrays have become a familiar piece of ‘street furniture’ all over the UK.

    The idiom 'No ifs or buts' is used to forestall excuses or objections (which might begin with If or But). The homophone butts (i.e. cigarette ends) might work well here to encourage smokers to use the ashtray, but the local taxi firm who have sponsored it have confused the message by using it to attract potential customers.

    Location: exterior of The Hog in Armour pub, Charing Cross, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

    Linguistic Landscapes - a pub in Norwich

  • -ish

    Looks as though the new owners of this shop realised that the grand re-opening was going to take longer than they had first thought.

    Originally a suffix used with times (five-ish) and colours (greyish), -ish can now be applied to almost any adjective to make its meaning more approximate. 

    Ish has also become an independent word used to indicate doubt or uncertainty:

    – Did you enjoy the movie?

    – Mmm…ish

    Location: St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

    Linguistic Landscapes - ish - shopfront