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Whenever I’m watching Hollywood/film types talking about something as being an “oh-MAUZH”, a little language alert is always activated in my head. Homage has been kicking around in spoken English for over 500 years, so what reason do we have to keep the pronunciation french? I mean, it even comes as part of a set phrase as well: to pay homage (“HUMMidge”). I’m not sure it would sound very natural to pay ohmauzh to something…

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It is only by interacting with others that we get to see how our personal language differs from others. Unfortunately, sometimes, we find out very late in life how our sense of language differs from the general consensus.

One of my favourite G-rated expletives is apparently made-up. “Gadzikes”. I’m not sure how I acquired it, but it was definitely kicking around in my head by the time I was eight. Apparently, the source is “Gadzooks”, an equally rare expletive, but at least this one is historically attested. What probably happened, is that I encountered gadzooks in one of the many british fantasy novels I was reading at the time, and combined it with a more readily-accessible expletive (ie, yikes), forming my glorious Gadzikes!. But, since I’m using it as an expletive, people readily understand the intent behind the utterance. What perhaps is not so immediately obvious is that the etymology of gadzooks is religious in theme, as is geez. In short, gadzooks is formed from “God’s Hooks” in reference to the nails of the crucifix, and geez is a truncation of “Jesus”. Sacré bleu!

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Glossary

COCA - Corpus of Contemporary American English
L1/L2/... - Primary/Secondary Language
NNS - Non-Native Speaker
NS - Native Speaker