Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Teasing Task

Like most writers, I’m fascinated by language. Some of the oldest forms in English are amongst the most evocative. What about these expressions, all derived from medieval hunting jargon?

  • A sounder of wild boar
  • A drift of pigs
  • A shrewdness of apes
  • A watch of nightingales
  • A skulk of foxes
  • An unkindness of ravens
  • A murder of crows

Ages ago, I heard James Naughtie talking on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme about this. He produced these, which I loved:

  • A smear of journalists
  • A pedant of Today Programme presenters

That made me start musing about romantic novelists. So far— deliberately excluding those that would be X-rated — I’ve come up with the suggestions below.

  • A passion of romantic novelists
  • An escape of romantic novelists
  • A happiness of romantic novelists

and (I wonder why?)

  • A vineyard of romantic novelists

I’m sure visitors to our blog will have lots of ideas here. I’d love to hear them.



Jan Jones said...

Oh, I just LOVE a watch of nightingales!

I'd suggest a relationship of romantic novelists. Or maybe a friendliness? A hilarity? A party?

Caroline Storer said...

"A plethora of romance readers" - after all, romance sales account for the vast proportion of book sales - worldwide. Take care. Caroline x

Joanna Maitland said...

Yes, I love nightingales, too, Jan. A party of romantic novelists is lovely -- all those double meanings.

Hadn't even begun to think about romance readers, Caroline. Plethora is great. What about "a sigh of romance readers"? or "a relaxation of romance readers"? Gosh, food for thought here.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Library of romance novelists next to a den of dishy heartthrobs.
or a Salon of Romance Novelists.
You take care.

Nicola Cornick said...

I like a Salon of Romance Novelists! Love all these collective nouns. I have a book with a whole list of them and that refers to a "worship of writers"! My favourite though is a smuck of jellyfish although I'm not sure what a smuck is.