Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Portsmouth Festivities 2013: "The Hidden Connections of the English Language": Etymologicon

by Joanna Godfree

Mark Forsyth
I am extremely gruntled to announce that Mark Forsyth, author of The Etymologicon and The Horologicon, will be our guest in the Memorial Library at 6 pm next Wednesday (26th June), as part of the Portsmouth Festivities 2013. This man is a walking lexicon, a self-confessed pedant, with a sharp sense of humour.

He can be seen taking "an unruly look at the English language" here and on his blog The Inky Fool. In addition, he can be seen giving TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, fascinating, bite-sized lectures from experts in every conceivable field, presented in an engagingly passionate and stimulating way. I would totally recommend getting the (free) app --- ideal for a train journey or a tedious wait at the dentist's. Armed with this and with the signed copy of his book The Etymologicon that comes free with every ticket for next Wednesday's event, you will be able to experience his sideways, erudite and always-amusing reflections on words and language whenever you choose.

The Etymologicon takes "a circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English language", exploring one word or phrase with each chapter: such as antanaclassis, gorm, umbles and spam. The book is a "papery child of the Inky Fool blog, which was started in 2009". In the preface, Mr Forsyth relates the cerebral inauguration of The Etymologicon, a long (too long, some would say) moment when he pinned down a friend who had innocently asked about the origins of the word "biscuit" and belaboured him with a verbal train of thought which threatened never to end. There was always something more to say. "There always is, you know."

If, like me, you agree that there is always more to say, and you long to hear Mark Forsyth saying it, please join us in the Memorial Library on Wednesday, 26th at 6 pm. Tea --- and biscuits --- from 5.30 pm onwards.

P.S. I have barely mentioned The Horologicon, about which . ..  but more of that another time.

See George Hope's review of The Etymologicon here.

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