The Quirky Charm of British English: Unravelling the Linguistic Puzzle

Explore the fascinating journey of British English evolution and uncover the quirks that make it uniquely perplexing yet charming. Delve into the etymology of words shaped by diverse influences, revealing humorous insights along the way.

British English: A Language All Its Own

Let’s face it, British English is a delightful mess that baffles everyone. You might think that being born in this land of tea and crumpets would mean we find it easier, but oh, how wrong that assumption can be!

Prepare to journey through the charming maze of British English. Where words playfully dance through centuries of history and a cuppa can mean a lot more than just a drink.

Purple background graphic. Image of a brass compass. Text reads: A melting pot of influences.

A Melting Pot of Influences

The reason British English is so tricky is that it has diverse influences.

Throughout its history, our little island has had many invaders. From the ancient Celts to the Romans, Vikings to the Normans, including contributions from the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes tribes. All left their mark in our landscape, customs, and, of course, our language.

Purple background graphic. Image of concentric stone circles in grass. Text reads: The multitude of Celtic tribes.

Let’s start with the ancient Celts

There were a multitude of ancient Celtic tribes, each having their own dialect. However, the main Celtic languages mentioned today are Brittonic, Gaulish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh. Although my Cornish readers will shout at the screen to include Cornish on this list.

Believe it or not, there is a list of Celtic words or words of Celtic origin that still exist in the English language. My favourites include:

• Bogeyman

• Gob (beak or mouth)

Purple background graphic. Image of Roman mosaic. Text reads: What have the Romans ever done for us?

What have the Romans ever done for us?

The Romans gave us Latin, and English has lots of words of Latin origin.

We have changed some of these words to make them more like other English words by changing the ending e.g., ‘office’ from the Latin officium. But, just to confuse everyone, we kept some other Latin words intact.

  • etc. (et cetera used for ‘and so forth’)
  • agenda (things to be done)
  • a.m. (ante meridiem, before noon) and p.m. (post meridiem, after noon)
  • ultra (beyond)
  • P.S. (post scriptum, Post Script)
Purple background graphic. Image of four shouting Viking men charging off a Viking ship. Text reads: Help, the Vikings are coming!

Help, the Vikings are coming!

Yes, the earliest Viking activity in England comprised coastal raids. But by the 870s, the Danes had traded sword for plough and settled across most of Northern England in an area governed by treaties known as the Danelaw. England even had Danish kings from 1018 to 1042.

Without the Vikings, English would be missing some fantastic words like:

  • Berserk (berserkr means “bear-shirt” a Viking warrior who entered battle wearing nothing for armour but an animal skin)
  • Muck (myki means cow dung)
  • Skull (skulle)
  • Knife (knifr)
  • Die (deyja)

Each group left behind a piece of their vocabulary, resulting in a hodgepodge of linguistic gems.

But it’s not just the invaders and settlers that influenced our vocabulary. Exploration and the growing trade routes across the globe affected the English language, too.

Purple background graphic. Image of an old-style mechanical timepiece. Text reads: Etymology. A journey through time.

British English Etymology: A Journey Through Time

Word nerds like me love to delve into the origins of words, tracing their evolution like curious time travellers. British English is a goldmine of such verbal mysteries.

Take “gobsmacked,” for instance. This delightful term originated from “gob” (mouth) and “smacked” (as in hitting), aptly describing the feeling of being utterly astonished.

Multicoloured timeline about the History of the English Language

The complexities of Old English

Did you know Old English (Englisċ, pronounced [ eŋɡliʃ ] ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the original version of English? People spoke it back in the day in England and parts of Scotland during the Middle Ages.

Old English came from the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century and people started writing in it in the 7th century. Once the Normans took over in 1066, the upper classes started talking in Anglo-Norman (related to French) instead of English. This marked the end of Old English.

What’s the most common root of modern English?

Have you heard of the Oxford English Corpus (OEC)? It’s a collection of written text that contains over two billion words! All written in the English language.

Image of The first 100 high-frequency words taught in schools. From

I read in The Story of English that the first 100 most used words in English are from Old English. Except for “people” which is from the Latin “populus” and “because”, in part from the Latin “causa“.

If you want to know the history of English words, you’ve got to check out the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). It’s published by Oxford University Press. This book is the ultimate guide to the history of English and how it’s used all over the world. Word nerds, scholars, and researchers will find everything they need here.

Purple background graphic. Image of smiling older woman, arms outstretched looking up to the sky in the late afternoon sun. Text reads: Embrace the quirkiness.

British English: Embrace the Quirkiness

So, why is British English so bewildering, even for its own inhabitants? It’s a mix of historical influences, linguistic evolution, and a sprinkle of eccentricity. Instead of getting frustrated, let’s embrace the quirkiness. After all, it’s what makes British English an enchanting and endlessly fascinating linguistic puzzle.

Remember, even native speakers stumble upon the linguistic oddities. As we sip our tea and nibble on biscuits (not cookies!), let’s raise a cup to the delightful chaos that is British English.

So, the next time you’re lost in translation, just remember—we’re all in this linguistic rollercoaster together!

Cheers to embracing the linguistic labyrinth with a hearty laugh!

I’ve written many posts about language and the part it plays in storytelling. For example, read “Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Cosy Mysteries” where I highlight the top tropes and uncover the secrets behind successful cosy mysteries.

For more tips, check out my Library of Resources!

Overcoming Dyslexia: Tips for Improving Spelling and Grammar in Your Writing

Overcoming dyslexia when writing can feel scary. Empowering tips to enhance your craft and unleash your creativity. 

*Unleashing Your Writing Potential*

Do you love writing but struggle with spelling and grammar because of dyslexia? Don’t worry! When you embrace your unique neurodivergent journey, amazing things can happen in your writing.

This blog post is all about overcoming dyslexia’s challenges and becoming a better writer. However, I’ve also written “Mastering the Craft: 5 Essential Writing Techniques for Neurodivergent Authors” to help you maximise your strengths and figure out your writing process too.

Let’s dive in and unleash your writing potential!

**1. Embrace Your Unique Creativity**

Your dyslexia doesn’t hinder your creativity; it fuels it! Embrace the beautiful way your brain processes information and draws connections that others might not see. Celebrate your ability to think outside the box and weave captivating narratives only you can craft.

**2. Break Spelling Barriers with Tools**

Make spelling easier by using tools made for dyslexic writers. Make use of spell-checkers that let you customise them. This helps them adjust to your writing style and unique spelling needs.

**3. Create Your Personal Spelling Dictionary**

Your secret weapon for spelling: a personal dictionary! Make a list of words that always trip you up and how to spell them correctly. Keep it within reach and you’ll master those tricky words. You can find a template in my shop.

**4. Master Grammar with Memory Techniques**

Don’t let grammar rules stress you out – use memory techniques to own them.

Think of ways to remember rules using rhymes or mental images. For example, “I before E, except after C” can be remembered with the phrase “Piece of pie.

**5. Read, Read, Read!**

Dive into books!

When you read, you get better at storytelling and learn new writing styles and grammar. Reading more will improve your grammar and spelling skills naturally.

**6. Find a Supportive Community**

Connect with writers who understand the dyslexic struggle. Facebook groups are a great place to start.

There’s nothing like swapping stories with people who understand.

**7. Practice Freewriting**

Don’t worry about being perfect, just write what comes to mind! Write with no editing or criticism.

Freewriting is a great way to let your creativity soar and ideas flow without worrying about spelling or grammar.

**8. Editing Is Your Ally**

Editing is where your writing truly shines.

Embrace the power of editing software or professional editing services that understand dyslexic needs. Investing in editing ensures your work is polished, leaving you free to focus on your storytelling brilliance.

**9. Record and Listen**

For a fresh perspective, record yourself reading your work aloud.

If you listen closely, you’ll see what needs work.

Plus, it’s a great way to spot errors and make edits without the pressure of reading on the page.

**10. Celebrate Your Writing Journey**

Remember, dyslexia doesn’t define your writing journey; it enhances it. Don’t be afraid to be different. Your neurodivergent perspective can make your storytelling voice even more powerful.

Celebrate your journey, embrace your creativity, and keep writing, knowing your words are powerful, and entirely your own!

Congratulations, fellow wordsmiths!

You’ve taken the first steps toward conquering dyslexia and honing your writing craft. But your journey doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Join the vibrant and supportive community of Bookworm Writing Academy on Facebook!

*What Awaits You at Bookworm Writing Academy?*

Connect with Like-Minded Writers:

Surround yourself with fellow neurodivergent writers who understand your journey, triumphs, and challenges. Share experiences, celebrate wins, and find inspiration in this empowering community.

Empowering Writing Challenges:

Join our writing challenges to explore your creativity, unleash your potential, and take your writing to the next level.

Expert Q&A Sessions:

Chat with industry experts who understand dyslexic writing’s intricacies. You’ll get answers to all of your questions and guidance that fits your neurodivergent needs.

Exclusive Writing Tips and Insights:

Discover writing secrets that’ll make your dyslexia work for you. Learn how to crush obstacles, level up your storytelling, and own your awesome voice.

Celebrate Your Progress:

Tell us about your wins, no matter how small, and we’ll all cheer you on! We believe every step of your writing journey is worth celebrating!

Engage in Lively Discussions:

Jump into writing discussions about genres, characters, and plot twists. Get excited to share ideas and insights with other book lovers.

*How to Join Author’s Oasis*

Joining is easy! Click the button below to join our amazing Facebook group. Once you’re in, introduce yourself and let’s get this writing party started!

Join our community and celebrate your unique perspective. Let Author’s Oasis guide you on your dyslexia-friendly writing journey. We can’t wait to welcome you with open arms!

*Together, let’s turn our love for writing into an extraordinary tale of creativity, camaraderie, and literary triumphs!*

Beginning your journey as a writer is new and exciting, but it has its challenges too and learning which strategies work for you is essential to a long career as an author. That’s why I wrote the post, “7 Powerful Strategies for Dyslexic Writers: How to Unleash Creative Potential and Conquer Challenges.” Check it out.

Mastering the Craft: 5 Essential Writing Techniques for Neurodivergent Authors

Welcome, neurodivergent authors ready for some game-changing writing techniques?

Writing is a beautiful form of expression that knows no bounds. Today, I want to dive into five essential writing methods tailored for your unique neurodivergent minds.

Got dyslexia, ADHD, autism, or something else?

These techniques will help you maximise your strengths and figure out writing issues.

So, let’s dive in with my 5 Writing Techniques for Neurodivergent Authors!

Embrace Your Writing Process!

As neurodivergent authors, your writing methods might be unique. Own your way of thinking, be it non-linear, bursts of creativity, or meticulous planning. Work out what works for you and follow your own particular rhythm.

Writing is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

Utilise Mind Mapping

Mind mapping can help you sort out your thoughts. Start with a core concept and build on it, jotting down connected ideas as they come to mind.

This visual can help you put stuff together, come up with fresh ideas, and draw a plan for your writing project.

Break Down Tasks into Bite-Sized Steps

Big writing projects can seem intimidating. But dividing them into smaller chunks can make an enormous difference.

Make a list of what needs to get done. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and keep motivated by tackling one task at a time.

Use Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can greatly help neurodivergent writers in this digital age.

Look into text-to-speech software, spell-checkers, grammar checkers, and apps to help you focus on writing. These resources can help make spelling, grammar, and staying focused less stressful, which means you can focus on your storytelling.

Get advice and support

Writing can be a lonely experience but don’t forget you’re not alone.

Get input from people you trust, writing groups, or mentors that know what you need as a neurodivergent writer. Their ideas, motivation, and suggestions can help you perfect your work and develop as an author.

To sum it up

If you use these five writing techniques, you’ll be ready to take on the writing process with ease and imagination. Don’t forget, your neurodivergence isn’t a disadvantage. It’s a creative way to tell powerful stories. Believe in your strengths, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and let your words make a difference.

Happy writing!

Thank you for reading: Writing Techniques for Neurodivergent Authors. I hope you found it useful. Keep an eye out for more advice, tricks, and support made just for neurodivergent authors like you.

sticky notes on board
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

Embrace your creativity and break down those barriers with your extraordinary stories.

Remember, writing is your superpower!

Contact me today to explore how my editing and coaching services can support your neurodivergent writing journey.

For more tips, check out my Library of Resources!

Want to write a book?

Feeling overwhelmed or unsupported?

Don’t know how to start?

I’m your woman!

Join my friendly FB group Bookworm Writing Academy and let’s get the creative juices flowing and turn your dream into a reality.