Bokeh becomes a verb, by Apple

Is it not soooooo exciting to see the birth of a new word?! It certainly was so when I saw a new ad by Apple. The ad is about the depth control of iPhone, and three mothers talk about how the picture of a child is blurred by using the word "bokeh".

Bokeh comes from a Japanese word ぼけ (blurr, hazy), and my ignorance pains me, but the word is fairly universal in the world of photography. The word was introduced and popularized in 1997 in a photography magazine. The Japanese word ぼけ has several meanings, but the photographic technical term bokeh means a kind of artistic haziness / blur, and photographic magazines takes it up as technical topics in their articles. Back then, the term bokeh was used as a noun, which seems to be the usual start of neology ('to achieve great bokeh', 'bokeh produced by ** lens', 'creative application of bokeh' ),.

Now, the noun bokeh has come to a new phase - it has become a verb! And I feel that it will be firmly and casually accepted in our vocabulary, owing to the power of Apple. The mothers in the ad talks as below:

mother 1 : Did you bokeh my child?
mother 2 : Um, no, that was totally unintentional...
               Look, I can un-bokeh, see...  Bokeh, un-bokeh.
mother 1 : Wow, what kind of person bokehs a child?
               I would never bokeh your child.

The word is so naturally conjugated as a regular transitive verb, used in interrogative sentence, affixable too.

This verb-ing of the word may already have been done among photograph enthusiasts, but the impact of the ad by the "Apple" certainly will get the word accepted universally.

Oh, and please do read the comments sent to the article  about this verb-ing of Bokeh by Apple. Many photograph lovers write about the word bokeh, how the term was used as a noun first, and it does not mean just a blur but the quality needs to be considered... etc.


On British Accent in America

I recently read an article about parents in America noticing their toddlers developing British accent and vocabulary (and also snorting at the end of the sentence), very different to their parents'. The children are influenced by the British based animated TV show "Peppa Pig".

The show follows a life of Peppa Pig and his brother George, and his family and friends. I think it is quite addictive, the little children (animal children) speaking in cute lisping British accent. They say 'mummy', 'daddy' and 'biscuit', pronounce 'tomato' with a long /a/. The characters speak in British, but in different accent, but mainly in southern accent.

The show attracts children around 2 to 5 years old, a very sensitive age for acquiring language and accent.

We can read on Twitter tweets of parents about their children's British accent, and a lot of them sound quite happy and find it cute that their children are developing, to them, 'foreign' accent.

To Americans, the British accent seems to be attractive, charming. Maybe it brings up the impression of the Royal family, and monarchy is something that America has never had in its history since the discovery of the continent.

This reminds me of one of my favourite movie, "Love Actually" (2009). Colin Frissell, perpetually girlfriend-less caterer living in London, thinks that British girls are stuck-up and that is why he cannot find a girlfriend. He hits on a great idea, to go to America where his cute British accent will be a killer to American girls.

'American girls would seirously dig me with my cute British accent'

He also says in another scene,
'Stateside I am Prince William without the weird family.'
Well, a lot of people have the idea that girls are waiting for their prince charming.

And Colin's British accent instantaneously pulls the American girls, 3 all together, later 4. Well, it's a movie.

An American student studying in England called this "Colin Frissell Effect" in his blog. He asked his English uni friend who has studied in the States if the friend confirmed this effect. Unfortunately it didn't work so easily as the movie for him. The blogger however does think that British accent, no matter which, automatically gives the Americans the impression of James Bond, Hugh Grant, Harry Potter and Jude Law rolled into one (and would you not be attracted if all of them came in one package?!).

I remember from an interview of Kazuo Ishiguro talking about how he speaks (accent), when he was asked about his Japanese origin and his British-ness. When he wants to be recognized more for his British side, he tries to sound like Hugh Grant, and that sort of awes his listeners.

I found another article about trying to confirm with American guys if Brit guys' accent was an advantage when it comes to meeting girls. Some of them do believe that British accent has 'the charm', surely becomes an icebreaker, and the Brits get a head start.

Accent has power to charm the listeners, and 'charm' is a topic I want to write about in the future


Konmari'd - Life changing Magic of Tidying up 02

Tidying up your house brings magic to your life, it has even become religious, owing to Marie Kondo!

In the entry of December 2016, I wrote about the Japanese decluttering consultant and specialist Marie Kondo.


Her book translated into English and other languages were skyrocket hit and put her into the global spotlight. The organizational guru presently based in the States became even more cultural phenomenon these days owing to her Netflix shows of home makeovers. (And recently she has been accused and attacked on media by bibliophiles who were offended personally when Marie Kondo said the ideal number of books to keep is 30.)


As in the same line with the book, her website and show upgrade "the magic" of KonMari method targeting the  non-Japanese audience - KonMari sits on the floor and solemnly greets the house like a ritual when she is to embark on the client's home makeover, there are pictures of her lovingly touching boxes as to show how she appreciates all the things whether be kept or thrown away, the show narrates that she has been inspired by the philosophy of Shintoism and has applied it to her method. Marie Kondo's lovely Asian looks also adds mysterious Oriental taste that interest Western people.

KonMari method is not just magic, now it is near religion -  and Americans love it.

To show how widespread it is, the word KonMari, or her method has been mentioned in popular comedy drama lines. Emily Gilmore in "Gilmore Girls : A Year in the Life" rummages through the piles of her belongings aiming to declutter her life, tells her daughter if she knows Marie Kondo, the Japanese woman.

"Does this bring joy?"
(Feels the dress near her heart.)
(Chucks it away.)

I have seen new kinds of hashtags on social medias since the last entry.


Past tenses were not so popular before, but now there are people showing off the result of the makeover of their shelf or wardrobe or desk on Instagram hashtagged #KonMaried / #Konmari'd.

I also saw a title of an article "The husband was KonMaried..."  Used in a passive (also in a negative nuance though)! This coined word is making a steady growth!

And #Konverts!
It denotes people who are so influenced and devoted to KonMari method.
Now this is really getting religious.


The 12 days of Christmas - 4th and 5th day

So, more on the hidden message in the Christmas song, 'The 12 days of Christmas'.

"On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle-doves
And a partridge in a pear tree"

Birds again... and they are 'calling birds', sounds like they are singing out.
The four calling birds refer to the four Evangelist, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Gospels they wrote. They are the first Four Books in the New Testament.

Gospel according to Matthew writes Jesus as King of the Jews, Mark as a servant, Luke as the Son of Man, and John as the Son of God.

The word 'gospel' originally means 'good news'. Imagine birds singing good news of Jesus, good association.

On the fourth day, the Lord reminds you of:
the Four Gospels
faith, hope and love
the Old Testament and the New Testament
and the Jesus on the cross. 

"On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Five golden rings
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle-doves
And a partridge in a pear tree"

Five gold rings! At last, something that is present like!

The five golden ring refers to 'the Pentateuch', the first Five Books of the Old Testament written by Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It is the history of creation of the world and man, to his fall from grace..... reminder from the Lord of the big mistakes people have made over thousands of years.

So, on the fifth day the Lord reminds you of
the Pentateuch,
the Four Gospels
faith, hope and love,
the Old Testament and the New Testament
and the Jesus on the cross.

The reminder list gets heavier each day...


The 12 days of Christmas - 2nd and 3rd day

What is encrypted in "The 12 days of Christmas" 

So, "my true love" is God almighty, and each day after Christmas he sends messages to the Catholics to remind them of the important teachings of their beliefs.

"On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me 
Two turtle-doves
And a partridge in a pear tree."

Two turtle-doves mean the Old Testament and the New Testament, two collection books of religious writings. 

The Old Testament is based on the Hebrew bible, and the number of books contained differ between Christian Churches. The Protestant Church Old Testament contains 39 books whereas the Catholic one contains 46. The second part of the Christian Bible, the New Testament contains 27 books.

And also on the second day, the Lord does not forget to remind you also of Jesus on the cross.

"On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Three French hens
Two turtle-doves
And a partridge in a pear tree."

Three French hens refers to "faith, hope and love", the Theological Virtues. It is mentioned in Corinthians 13 : 13 in the New Testament. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

By the way, the lyrics of the school anthem of my old school was exactly the words from Corinthians 13 - "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels..." to "But the greatest of these is love."To me, Corinthians 13 is more a lyrics of the song I used to sing every week at school assemblies than the words of the Bible.

So, on the third day of Christmas, the Lord reminds us of 
faith, hope and love,
and also reminds us again the importance of 
the Old Testament and the New Testament, 
and of Jesus on the cross.

See you next time.


The 12 days of Christmas - an encrypted counting song

Hello. Back blogging again.
Sort of faded off from spring, and through summer and autumn, and now it's Christmas!

So let me blog about one Christmas song that kind of 'haunted' me since childhood, "The 12 days of Christmas".

From Christmas, a person receives a gift from his / her true love every day until Epiphany, and the number of gifts builds up each day. It takes the form of a counting song, but the lyrics never really made sense to me. The gifts that the true love send are genuinely bizarre!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Two turtledoves
And a partridge in a pear tree

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Three French hens
Two turtledoves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtledoves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

And it goes on and on and on. So far this person has received 20 birds:
4 partridges in a pear tree, 6 turtledoves, 6 French hens and 4 calling birds (I like to think that the person receives the new gift with the previous ones all over again, it adds more non-sensical fun to the song). This person or the true love must be infatuated with feathered creatures to receive or send so many, not saying any complaint and keep on singing.

Well, it goes on until the twelfth day, and here is the breakdown of the gifts sent:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a milking
Seven swans are swimming
Six geese are laying
Five golden rings
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtledoves
And a partridge in a pear tree.

The troop is fully armed, ready to make havoc on the twelfth night!

Recently I read somewhere that this innocent nonsense song was an encrypted counting song that started and became popular in England in the 18th century among the persecuted Catholics living under the Protestant society. The lyrics have a double meaning that remind the Catholics the important teachings of their belief.

Now, that is something worth digging into, isn't it?

Because Henry VIII split up with the Roman Catholic Church in order to split up his wives (and for some, to cut off their heads), the Catholics could not practice their belief openly, so they taught the Catholic teachings to their young children through this encrypted song.

"My true love gave to me"
Who is the true love in the Catholic context? God almighty.

God sends you messages every day, reminding you of the important doctrines of the Catholic church.

On the first day of Christmas, that's 25th December, you get "a partridge in a pear tree" which is "Jesus on the cross". God reminds you not to forget about Jesus who sacrificed himself to save us from our sins.

More to come tomorrow!


English's Diversity and Complexity

It's quite interesting that Simon Horobin starts his book How English Became English: A Short History of a Global Language with a reference to an adjective "English" that Samuel Johnson made in 1755:
Belonging to England; thence English is the language of England.(Dictionary of the English Language)
By citing Johnson's, his aim is to demonstrate how the concept of "English" has changed over time. Horobin continues:
"Samuel Johnson's straightforward identification of English as the language of England hardly begins to capture the diversity and complexity of the language's use in the twenty-first century."
Johnson's definition "hardly captures the diversity and complexity," the one that is not easy to apply to in our present times. It tells how the meaning of the word changes quite in an unpredictable way. Even the gigantic figure in the field of lexicography would not have doubted English is the language of England!

Perhaps the closer to our sense of "English" is the one that first appears in 1910 according to the OED:
2d. As a count noun: a variety of English used in a particular context or (now esp.) a certain region of the world; (in pl.) regional varieties of English considered together, often in contradistinction to the concept of English as a language with a single standard or correct form.
Doctor Johnson would be surprised to know that English is, above all, "a count noun"!

One would say that the time is pretty much closer to the end when people takes English "as a language with a single standard or correct form," as the OED puts it.

These are the ideas that lead up to the very interesting question posed in "Old English, a different language?

Works cited:

Horobin, Simon. How English Became English: A Short History of a Global Language. Oxford University Press, 2016.