The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nice weather for ducks

It's been raining a lot recently, and I mean a lot. It hasn't just been the usual, boring, British drizzle. It's been rain that draws you to the window to watch, awed and mesmerised by the power of the elements.

I noticed today that my last four Facebook status updates have been about the rain! At first, I thought that was a bit sad in a rather British kind of way, but when you think about it, the weather, and its unpredictability, can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life; your mood, your movements, your plans, the cricket. Really, it's hardly surprising that we Brits talk about the weather so much and I think it's something we should be unapologetic about.

Years ago, when I was teaching mixed groups of learners studying at a language school in Cambridge, I put together a worksheet about all the words we use in English for rain. It wasn't so much intended to teach new vocabulary, as to act as a starting point for discussion about a. cultural differences in conversational topics and b. the wonderful variety and richness of English as a language and the fact that we have so many different and subtly nuanced ways of talking about the same thing. Sadly, the worksheet was put together before the age of electronic materials and has long since been lost, but I've just put together a new selection of rain words:

rain, showers, drizzle, deluge, downpour, cloudburst, a sprinkle of rain, a few spots of rain, spits and spots

pour with rain, be spitting with rain, teem down, bucket down, tip it down, fall down, pelt down, come down (in sheets/buckets), lash down, chuck it down, be pissing it down, the heavens open, be raining cats and dogs

driving, torrential, showery, patchy, heavy, steady rain

I start teaching again next week and I think if this weather continues, I might be putting together a new worksheet ...


Post a Comment

<< Home