Mind what you say!

I have decided to write about language in the sense of “bad language”.  My definition of bad language includes swearing and rude words and using the name of God inappropriately.

Some recent real life and on-line incidents have made me look again at my attitude to this issue.

At school our French teacher explained that a certain phrase in French was not as strong as its literal translation into English.  Even at the time, I silently queried her logic.  It is true that the French seemed to accept the phrase as a normal part of their vocabulary.  This was a cultural difference.  Sad to say the literal translation into English raises few eyebrows nowadays!  It is even a text-speak abbreviation.

In my view it is still taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Anne of Green Gables is a classic children’s book.  In fact it is the first of a series.  Although it is many years since I read it, I have never forgotten the account of Anne using a swear word.  For her it meant that she lost her peace (with God).

I have sworn on occasion, but I do not do so habitually and always regret it afterwards.

Some of my friends and acquaintances on and offline habitually use words I was forbidden to use as a child, because of their derivations.  This leaves me in a quandary.  I can only assume that these people are unaware of the underlying meaning or they would not use these words.  A song, which was popular years ago, includes one such phrase.  It was explained to me by my Dad as meaning, “God, blind me”.  He forbade its use saying that God was likely to answer such a prayer. (I won’t go into the theology of that here!)

Another word which I find unacceptable is derived from “God’s Truth”.

Rather than tackle individuals about these issues, I have written this post.  There is no way I can recommend a piece of online writing which includes this sort of language (which may not even be classed as swearing), no matter how much I agree with everything else that is said.

A writing friend does not allow people to use the name of Jesus lightly.  She politely reminds strangers that they’ll have to meet Him one day.  I admire her courage.

The Bible teaches about the use of language.  Jesus talked about swearing oaths in Matthew 5:33-37.

James (thought to be a brother of Jesus) wrote about the tongue in his letter. James3:1-12

After writing this I found myself laughing at an anecdote which included a swear word.  Partly it was because the anecdote was good news about someone’s improved health, but the word in question was very expressive of the frustration and good humour of the person being quoted.

In some groups of people swearing may reduce stress, but in other situations it can be offensive and should be avoided.

In my opinion young people should be taught standards of speech as well as behaviour.  Those of us, who are professing the faith, should set an example in our daily lives, but be slow to condemn others, who may have different backgrounds.

If this post has provoked you to comment, please note that this is my space and I reserve the right to edit or delete comments as I think fit.



A Game of Scrabble®

My childhood memories include playing Junior Scrabble®, first the easy side, where the words were given and had to be covered with letters, then the freestyle version on the reverse.  Next my parents invited me to join with them and sometimes Grandmother playing Scrabble®.

While I was not given any advantages due to my youth, they did help me learn some techniques to improve my score.  I wrote in an early post on this blog about my competitive streak.  I enjoy playing. As well as being fun, it helps keep my vocabulary active and (as I usually keep the score) gives me a reason to do simple arithmetic.

Now there are only two people left against whom I ever play.  One is Mum, who taught me the word QI, after playing with a neighbour.  However, she does not like the fact that I have learned most of the permitted two letter words!  The other is hubby, who is not good at spelling, but has his own methods of winning.  He is likely to block all the places the Q could be played, if he thinks I am trying to put it on the board!

Also we have adjusted the rules for our own enjoyment.  Each of us has a reference book to hand.  Instead of waiting to challenge a possible wrong word, we look before playing.  My favourite reference book includes the meanings.  If hubby puts down an incorrect word, I do not penalise him for it, but let him take his turn again.  “What’s that word?” is a regular question.   Sometimes it is a technical word I haven’t met (or remembered).  Other times it is a genuine spelling mistake.

Recently I managed to play all the seven letters in my rack twice in the same game.  I have to admit I played a word I did not previously know – MANDIRS.(I was checking whether MANDRIL was permitted (no) and spotted it.  I also checked that REECHOES does not require a hyphen.

(In a subsequent game, when I had cheated by using a word I had discovered in the book, I lost.  We considered that to be poetic justice!)

At the end of the game the scores were 481 and 236 giving 717 in total.  Of course this included 2×50 in bonus points.  I had two tiles left.  As far as I remember they were both the letter I.


A high-scoring game

It is interesting that every game of Scrabble® seems to be unique.  It does not seem to be possible to use every triple word score space in a game.

Do you play Scrabble®?  Have you any interesting observations to make about the game?



A list of ten things

For today’s post for the Blog Every Day in November Challenge, Elizabeth has asked us to make a list of ten things.

Update 8 Nov.  A blogging friend just posted some lovely photos of Canterbury Cathedral, which complement this post.

I wondered about picking ten random items I could find in my living room.  I didn’t think that would make an interesting post, so I have decided to write about ten things to be found in most church buildings in the Anglican Church (and some other denominations).

  1. Font The Font is usually near the door of the church.  It is a container for the water used in baptism of babies and older believers.  (Nowadays Baptisms, otherwise known as Christenings, often take place using a portable font in front of the pews.)
  2. Pew Pews are where the congregation sits.  In olden days the pews were enclosed with a door on the end.  Families might have their own pew.  Nowadays in many churches and cathedrals chairs are replacing pews.
  3. Window There are often beautiful pictures on the windows, which use stained glass to tell stories from the Bible.
  4. Altar At the East end of the church there is a Communion Table or Altar.  Communicants kneel before the altar to receive the sacrament of Bread and Wine.
  5. Aisle The aisle is the central passageway between the pews.  It is the route taken by a bride and has given rise to the expression “Walking down the aisle” to mean getting married.  There may be side aisles as well and a large church building has more pews beyond the side aisles.
  6. Nave The Nave is the part of the church which includes the congregation’s seating.  It is a similar word to naval, concerning ships.  The inside of the roof of the nave resembles the construction of a ship (upside-down).
  7. Chancel The Chancel is the area to the east of the Nave.  It usually includes the organ and the choir stalls as well as the altar behind the altar rail. There is a chancel step as the Chancel is at a higher level than the nave.
  8. Transept Most churches are built in the shape of a cross.  There is a wider section at the join between the nave and the chancel.  This is known as the Transept.  Trans means across.  Septum means partition.  In some churches there is a physical partition in the transept – a rood screen.  (Rood is an archaic word for the Cross of Christ.)   A lectern, from which the Bible is read and the pulpit, from which sermons are preached are often sited in the transept.
  9. Chapel  There may also be a Chapel in the area adjacent to the chancel.  This is like a church within a church.  Often it is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and referred to as the Lady Chapel.
  10. Cross  Every Christian church building has at least one cross.  There is a cross on or near each altar.  There may be a processional cross, which is on a long pole and carried in front of the procession of choir and clergy.  Some of the windows may also depict the cross.  It is central to the Christian faith.  Without Christ’s incarnation (commemorated at Christmas), death on the cross, resurrection to life and ascension into heaven, there would be no forgiveness or redemption.

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