You may have seen stories last week about National Poetry Day but were you aware this was just one event in a week long celebration of the English language?
As part of the same celebration, today is English Language Day.
English Language Day is part of the English Project and is apparently “an opportunity for you to share your community’s English”. So it is a celebration of accents, regional lingo and how what you say and how you say it defines who you are. It is a time to show pride in your dropped h and the like.
Way back on the 13 October 1362 the then Chancellor of England opened Parliament with the first speech in English. In that same Parliament, a Statute of Pleading was approved that permitted members to use the English language in debate and in the courts. Until then French had been dominant due to the ancestry of the noblemen of the time. The new Act complained that because the French language was relatively unknown in England outside of the nobility, the majority of people had no knowledge of what is being said for them or against them in the courts, which used Law French. From then on it became law that everything “be pleaded, shewed, defended, answered, debated, and judged in the English Tongue”. Thereafter English became the dominant language and as a result 13 October symbolises the survival of English and its development as a world language.
So how can you get involved?
From today they inviting details of nicknames and petnames for places and landmarks even road-junctions or roundabouts or roads. They can be well-known, popular nicknames or private petnames used amongst a few friends. Old or new. There is an element of fun in it but also something serious as they hope that the compiled listings could help Emergency Services who are often puzzled when people phone in with reports of incidents using a nickname to describe the location.
To be classified as Location Lingo by the English Project and Ordnance Survey a nickname or pet name for a place in Great Britain must:
1. must not be an official name or does not appear as a name on the maps in the map viewer
2. have been in regular and recognisable use amongst a group of three or more people for at least a month
3. have not been devised for this project.
As well as the nickname or pet name they are also interested in the story behind the name. Why did a place acquire that nickname? If you know, then let them know.
We can’t wait to see the final results as we have a feeling there could be a rush to register domain names for the list of nicknames.