Monthly Archives: September 2016

  • “Th” sound to disappear from English in coming decades?

    The “th” sound, which had its own letter – thorn (Þ, þ) in Old and Middle English – could disappear from spoken British English, today’s Daily Telegraph reports.

    By 2066, linguists are predicting that the “th” sound will vanish completely in london because there are so many foreigners who struggle to pronounce interdental consonants – the term for a sound created by pushing the tongue against the upper teeth.

    In the wider South East of England Estuary English – a hybrid of Cockney and received pronunciation (RP)– is already being replaced by Multicultural London English (MLE), which is heavily influenced by Caribbean, West African and Asian Communities.

    The Telegraph is reporting on the release of the Sounds of The Future report produced by Dr. Dominic Watt and Dr. Brendan Gunn from the University of York.

    Other predictions from the authors include:

    • Sound softening – hardly anyone says ‘syoot’ for ‘suit’ any more and this trend will continue with the sharp corners knocked off words;
    • Yod dropping – words like ‘cute’ or ‘beauty’ will become ‘coot’ and ‘booty’;
    • Consonant smushing – ‘w’ and ‘r’ are already similar for many southern English speakers, but the letters could completely collapse into one sound, whilst Words with ‘ch’ and ‘j’ could also become indistinguishable;
    • Glottal stop – the slight linguistic trip which turns ‘butter’ into ‘bu’er’ in dialects like Cockney could become more widespread around the country.

    Commenting on the same report, the Newcastle Chronicle leads with the headline “The Geordie accent is on the way out say language experts“, remarking that language experts say that by 2066 the distinctive Geordie accent will sound like a southern one.

    The Sound of 2016 report was commissioned by bankers HSBC, to mark the “voice biometric” technology which the bank is rolling out to 15 million customers, so perhaps it’s worth mentioning here the usual disclaimer about not trusting information from someone trying to sell you something. 😀

  • LibreOffice 5.2.2 now available for download

    Yesterday the LibreOffice project celebrated its sixth anniversary since the project forked from

    Just one day later The Document Foundation (TDF) has announced on its blog the release of LibreOffice 5.2.2, the second minor release of the 5.2 series.

    LibreOffice 6th anniversary banner

    LibreOffice 5.2.2 is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users and features a number of fixes over the major release announced in August. Those interested in release’s technical details about the release can consult the change log to discover the bugs fixed in RC1 and those fixed in RC2.

    For more conservative users and enterprise deployments, TDF recommends using LibreOffice 5.1.5 “still”, complete with the back-up of certified professional support.

    A summary of the most significant new features of the LibreOffice 5.2 family is also available on the LibreOffice website.

    Download LibreOffice

    LibreOffice 5.2.2 is available for immediate download.

    LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can also support The Document Foundation with a donation.

  • Neighbourhood Forum – Bristol Waste update

    An update has been received via Up our Street to questions raised by residents at the recent Neighbourhood Forum (posts passim).

    The responses from Bristol Waste are reproduced verbatim below.

    1. Litter bins at the Junction 3 development are reported to be too small and rarely emptied – is BWC responsible for these do you know?

    Junction 3 is not yet adopted and therefore not BWC responsibility to cleanse although we did cleanse it this week due to a complaint. It would be the developer who would take up this until the road becomes adopted by BCC. It is very close to becoming adopted, so in light of this we will begin attending to avoid further issues for the community as it would appear the developer has relinquished all responsibility. It’s been added to the crew maps for this week.

    2. Waverley Street communal bin is servicing some Fox Road properties from the back – a resident queried whether the replacement service brought in during the pilot could replicate this.

    We have looked at this in more detail and we intend to keep the service as consistent as possible for residents so as not to cause confusion or inconvenience where a set up suits them in terms of the point of collection. We will therefore be able to empty wheelie bins and boxes from Waverley Street for the houses which back onto there from Fox Road. We have amended the pilot map accordingly.

    Other updates

    Reporting fly-tipping and illegal waste dumping

    Tom Ward, the Streetscene Enforcement Officer for the area attended the meeting asked that local residents help him find and prosecute illegal fly tipping by reporting offences to him, try and take photos and record as much detail as possible if you witness this behaviour. Report online at or call Tom Ward on 07585307379.

    Reporting issues with drains

    One resident raised an issue with drains across the area – they are often blocked and smell bad. Please report any drain issues to Bristol City Council’s street issue area of the website:

    Finally, don’t forget the drop-in session later this week for the Stapleton Road communal bins trial (posts passim).

  • Communal bins to go in local pilot

    Bristol Waste Company, the wholly-owned council company that’s responsible for cleaning the streets, emptying the bins and collecting residents’ recycling (amongst other things. Ed.) is holding a drop-in session next week in Easton as part of the consultation on the pilot project removing communal bins along the Stapleton Road corridor.

    The event will be held at Muller Hall, 39 Seymour Road, Bristol, BS5 0UW (map) on Thursday 29th September from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

    flyer for event

    Bristol Waste would like as many local residents and other interested parties as possible to come and give their views and prospective attendees are asked to confirm they will be coming so sufficient tea, coffee and biscuits can be arranged.

    To confirm your attendance or for further details of the event please contact Jessica Tulit, Bristol Waste’s Community Engagement Officer, by emailing Jessica.Tulit [at] or telephoning 0117 304 9022.

    Unfortunately, your correspondent’s attendance is doubtful due to a family bereavement, but he will be there in spirit.

    It’s good to see that Bristol Waste is prepared to tackled the problems that communal bins are causing locally after two and a half years of inaction from Bristol City Council, which introduced the 1,280-litre bins some years ago as a response to fly-tipping.

    Despite a communal bin consultation (posts passim) last year revealed that the majority of residents believed fly-tipping had not been improved by the introduction of these monster bins: and my own fly-tipping records support this perception; communal bins are implicated in 60-67% of all the fly-tipping I report to the council.

    However, despite this evidence, Bristol City Council has not had the courage to remove them, but merely tinkered with the details of their deployment.

    In meetings with Bristol Waste, it has been made quite clear to both councillors and local residents that the company is just as fed up as we are with the problems caused by the local communal bins, which don’t just act as a magnet for fly-tipping. Analysis of the contents of the bins has revealed that only one-third is the stuff for which they were intended: the rest is made up of equal parts of recyclable materials and trade waste.

    Those recyclable materials can still be recycled, but will attract a lower price due to the contamination to which they are subject in the communal bins.

    Traders are supposed to have their own waste disposal contracts appropriate to their businesses. However, lots tend to cut corners – and their costs – by abusing the black communal bins earmarked specifically for use by residents (posts passim).

  • Google Translate fails again

    James Casson headshotIn Hamilton, New Zealand, mayoral candidate James Casson’s bid to appeal to Maori voters went terribly wrong, NZ news site Stuff reports.


    Mr. Casson used Google Translate to get his message across in te reo Maori.

    As a consequence, his election address dropped through the letterboxes of Maori voters made an impact for all the wrong reasons, with the unintelligible jumble of words and phrases being described by Waikato University language expert Tom Roa as “very, very, very poor“.

    Another Waikato University lecturer, Te Taka Keegan, who teaches computer science and worked on Google Translate remarked: “The gibberish that is written in the second part of this bio is barely recognisable as te reo Maori, it is disrespectful to the Maori language.”

    When queried, Mr. Casson said he was unaware of how his profile was translated, stating that he gave his English version to a “Maori woman” at his office to get it done.

    Stuff carried out its own test, copying Casson’s English language text into Google Translate and receiving in return “a word-for-word, error-ridden version of the official Hamilton City Council“, missing prepositions, articles and connecting words.

    According to Newshub, another New Zealand news site, a translation back into English of Mr. Casson’s botched Maori translation reads as follows:

    Work James 26 years inside New Zealand Police, before officer Charge of Northland, Hamilton community Police centre Flagstaff.

    Work overseas like a peace keeper in Bougainville, Papua new Guinea, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Timor to the United Nations.

    Return the good community, work the people work to safe. James worked for Police to build safe Hamilton for you.

    Straight ahead [the text then seems to be another Pacific language]. faitotonu mo e angatonu aia takitahi. KORE ki Mita Water, paying Rate for dinner Council/feast for councillors using a free Corporate Box at Stadium Waikato or by councillors.

    Free waka on some of the adds being used of Auckland.

    Working towards finishing vagrants in Auckland.

    Resources HCC maintenence, paddlers trying to hold into a beautiful looking Hamilton.

    The moral of this story is that if you want a decent translation, you’re still better of with a human being than machine translation and this is likely to be the case for many years to come.

  • Reuse Festival in Easton next month

    Provisional planning is underway for a reuse festival to be held in east Bristol on Saturday, 29th October.

    The festival will take place around the St Marks Road area of Easton. The organisers are hoping space can be made available either at St Mark’s Baptist Church, the mosque in St Mark’s Road and Mivart Street Studios.

    The provisional programme of activities is as follows:

    Further details will be posted here as and when received.

  • Free digital skills session at J3

    Your ‘umble scribe has today received an email from Kurt James, Neighbourhood Partnership Co-ordinator at Bristol City Council, announcing an event next month in east Bristol.

    get online at J3 with the Neighbourhood Partnership and local volunteers

    Bristol Libraries is organising a free (as in beer. Ed. 😀 ) digital skills workshop next month in collaboration with the Ashton, Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Partnership and local volunteers to help local residents who haven’t already done so get online.

    The event will be held at Junction 3 Library, Baptist Mills Court, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0FJ (map).

    The date and time: Tuesday 11th October, 1.30 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.

    Attendees will learn how to:

    • Get online for the first time;
    • Shop and bank online;
    • Access government services online;
    • Use social media.

    Those interested can book a space at the workshop by contacting the library by telephoning 0117 9223001. Call that number too if you want more information on the workshop.

    Originally posted on Bristol Wireless.

  • Stare-struck hack?

    Modern British society seems obsessed with celebrity culture: this is no more evident than in the mainstream media; and such is true of Bristol’s (news)paper of (warped) record, the Bristol Post.

    It would appear that no sooner does a Z-list non-entity have something to do with the city than the illiterati that constitute the current reporting staff of the Temple Way Ministry of Truth than they are lost for words – or for le mot juste at the very least.

    This is evident in a puff piece in today’s online edition featuring some nobody off some dire TV talent show, as per the obligatory screenshot below.

    sentence reads X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who next week is staring Sister Act at the Bristol Hippodrome, has dropped three dresses sizes in less than six months

    So Bristol Post, is a nobody off the telly looking intently at a show at the Hippodrome or taking part in it? In the immortal words of Private Eye, I think we should be told.

  • Golfing news

    The time-honoured business practice of top executives celebrating POETS Day on the fairway has come in for criticism from an unlikely source.

    At a Conservative Way Forward event at Westminster last week, the current international trade secretary and disgraced former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox MP is reported to have said:

    We’ve got to change the culture in our country. People have got to stop thinking about exporting as an opportunity and start thinking about it as a duty – companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon.

    Meanwhile in golfing “olds”, in April 2015, the disgraced former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox MP tweeted the photo below when standing for re-election.

    tweet reads latest student golfer at Tickenham Golf Club @TickenhamGolf #GE2015

    There’s an old adage about glass houses and stones, isn’t there?

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