Hayjax is in Nottingham

This is what happens when you drop a Canadian into the East Midlands.

Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Where the stores have no name

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Can you imagine people in Vancouver shopping almost daily at a chain store and not knowing how to pronounce the name of it?  This is the situation with U.K. (by way of Germany) grocery chain Lidl.  Fair enough, it’s an ugly clump of letters that seems get macheted halfway into a real word, but still, you’d think there’s be some consensus.

I’ve asked dozens of people how to say it and the results have been extraordinary.  Generally, they titter and shrug as though, in a Borat-like moment of hapless foreignness, I have asked them how to pronounce the rudest street slang for a sex act involving three people and a well-oiled hamster.  Sometimes they put on a noncommittal, chin-stroking act. Sometimes they pull a diversionary tactic like looking over my shoulder and yelling, “What was THAT?”  But never do they give me a definitive answer.

Is it LID-el or LEED-el or LYD-el?  Is the answer a palace secret?  Will MI5 shut this blog down for asking the one question that could somehow unravel the fabric of the country’s existence?

I’m not alone in my quest for truth: 3,990 other people are asking too:

That’s more than double the number of people who want to know how to pronounce llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

For the record, there are close to 500 of these stores across the country and the first one opened in this country 15 YEARS AGO. During that time, people have pretty much just been mumbling into their cupped hand whenever they need to bring it up in conversation. It’s the weirdest cultural sinkhole I’ve ever come across.  Seriously, how long do you need to sort this out? Just pick a vowel sound and stick with it.


Written by Hayden

December 8, 2009 at 10:35 am

Posted in All posts, Language

Mr. Brain’s Freedom Balls

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Mr. Brain's Faggots

Remember when “French” was a bad word and America renamed French fries “freedom fries?” I would like to suggest that the English do a similar rebrand of that popular national meatball treat known as the faggot. Can we agree to call them “freedom balls” or something? Usually I’m a fan of countries that stand up to North American cultural hegemony and go their own damn way, but I think sometimes you have to admit when it’s time to catch up with the world and limit your exposure to ridicule.

Otherwise, stuff like this Mr. Brain’s Faggots commercial happens.

Written by Hayden

November 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Posted in All posts, Food, Language

“Whilst.” It looks stupid. It is stupid.

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This has become my pet language peeve over here. Why do the English love this word so much?  It’s fruity.  Unless your name is Lord Fopsalot or you’re wearing an Elizabethan ruff, I strongly recommend just saying “while.”  While is a fine, straight-shooting, no-nonsense word.  It gets the job done.  It’s got a modern snap to it.  It doesn’t winch itself into a stiff consonant cluster and then stand around in the sentence like a dusty old chaperone.  English people, no one else is still using this word.  Pack it in mothballs and let’s get this party started.

Written by Hayden

November 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in All posts, Language