John Prescott was actually being extremely clever when he announced yesterday that Labour “will reduce and probably eliminate the homeless by 2008.” Eliminate, says the OED, comes from eliminare, to thrust out of doors, expel (e, out of + limen, liminis, threshold), so it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mr Prescott was constructing an extraordinarily subtle linguistic joke, a kind of double negative equity, that would see the homeless turned into the homelessless, expelled from the outside back to the inside.
What is impressive is that the working man’s pinup intuited all this on the spur of the moment, whereas the tosspot Tory opposite, who probably studied Latin at school and at great expense, obviously hadn’t got the faintest about the English language or, for that matter, how to deal with homelessness.
- Bollocks to grammar
The Guardian has tracked down the British Labour Party’s deputy leader and leading pugilist, John Prescott.
- All our pupils go out from Sil School with really high linguistics skills
If Colegio Sil in Barcelona wants to sell its foreign language provision to any but the stupid it might want to
- Ayuntamiento de Jerez bets on tourism … but can’t afford a translator
This is the The Great Guide of Jerez (La gran guía de Jerez), part of an on-going, multi-million-euro campaign that may
- Official languages
There’s a lot of fuss at the moment in the land of the free about attempts to make English the official
- Of love, eternity, and Ilkley Moor
From Manuel Fraga’s dreadful Nuevos diálogos, found yesterday on the street (it’s becoming a habit): An old French song reminds us that