Speaker followed by Dinner - Host John Calvert
Wed 18th July 2018 at 18.30 - 20.00
John Calvert talked to us about language in his usual humorous manner. He told us of his hate of some of the sloppy language used by folk and when he was in business, the first hint of sloppy language during interview would consign a candidate immediately to the rejected pile !
He talked of some of our poets, Norman Nicholson from Millom and a great poem he wrote about the dismantling of the iron works at Millom, for a long time the only source of jobs and income for many living in his home town.
John continued to tell us that much of our language was "invented" by that great wordsmith, William Shakespeare, words such as quarrelsome and expressions like, living in a fools paradise, eating me out of house and home, wearing ones heart on ones sleeve
Also that other great wordsmith's work, Rudyard Kipling the target of students in Manchester when his eponymous poem "If" was desecrated on the orders of the student union !
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Words have great power especially when used by an orator such as Churchill, who used words so skillfully to inspire our nation in the darkest times.
Our language is almost a universal one used throughout the world for business but John surprised us all when asking what the fastest growing language is, his answer EMOJI floored us all !
He told us that most of us use fewer than 10,000 words although the Oxford English Dictionary (now 20 volumes) contains 171,476 words, 47,156 obsolete words and 9500 derivatives.
President Colin gave the vote of thanks and also wished John a Happy Birthday for the coming weekend.
On the Dismantling of Millom Ironworks..
............They cut up the carcass of the old ironworks
Like a fat beast in a slaughter-house: they shovelled my childhood
On to a rubbish heap. Here my father's father,
Foreman of the back furnace, unsluiced the metal lava
To slop in fiery gutters across the foundry floor
And boil round the workmen's boots: here five generations
Toasted the bread they earned at a thousand degrees Fahrenheit
And the town thrived on its iron diet.
Norman Nicholson Poet