Whilst watching an episode of QI last night (a new one, that is, not one of many endless repeats, and therefore heightening the impressiveness of my following claim) I surprised my parents somewhat, and perhaps would have also surprised the makers of the show, by correctly answering a question. I say it would have surprised the makers of the show because after watching the episode I also watched a ‘behind the scenes/making of’ style program on QI (no, my Saturday nights aren’t always this dull*), in which featured one of the production staff stating that the questions of which compiled for the show are never actually expected to be matched with a correct answer, due to the absurd and completely tedious nature of them.
The question in, erm, question, was something along the lines of, ‘How would the following be pronounced: Ye olde pork pie shoppe’. The answer being…drum roll please… The old pork pie shop, with emphasis on the The. My English A-Level days came bounding back to me almost instantaneously when I saw this and remembered that the word Ye, actually began as a symbol used in Early Modern English as a short version of writing the word ‘The’. The problem is that the abbreviation so closely resembled the letters Ye that it eventually became used and pronounced as a word itself instead. By mistake or laziness, I don’t know, but there you have it: a brief version of my Quite Interesting fact.
And why am I sharing this with you? Believe it or not it isn’t to show off or appear fantastically clever – I’m not. But for a while now I’ve been itching to put together a post about my love of the English language. I recently began working at on office five miles away from my house and my bike ride there and back each day saw me mulling over grammar in my head. Not questioning it, not wondering how it should be used in certain sentences, just thinking about it. It’s actually quite scary how much distance I can cover without realising whilst thinking about it. Obviously thoughts of semi-colons and the like wouldn’t have made the most interesting reading, but tonight’s re-discovery seemed worthy of a mention.
Now onto my next mission: score over 50 points on University Challenge**.
*Dull refers to the common conception of the word in this context. I, however, find an evening of gentle education rather pleasurable.
**From the comfort of my living room.