Sunday, October 07, 2007

the verb and the infixed expletive

Radio 3's The Verb will be up for another five days. You can get the link to the show and who's talking at at or listen directly to the one with me in (until Friday) at

I don't think we talked about North and South poetry, which is how it's advertised.

You can hear me read the first page and a half of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, though, and talk about writing and blogging, and listen to lots of other discussion about language, poetry and literature and words.

My favourite conversation about language and words was before we went on the air, when Ian told us not to swear (as Radio 3 is only allowed one serious swear word per show) and also not to answer any question with an enthusiastic "ABSOLUTELY!" (which is apparently what writers tend to do). And when I said that I thus presumed that "absofuckinglutely" was right out, Deborah Cameron (Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford) enthusiastically explained to me that swearing is the only example of infixing in the English language and I was happy, for I had learned something.

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