Tuesday, 21 July 2009


I have a weird voice. Always have done. Despite having been born in the North East of England and having lived here all my life, I speak in an odd mid-atlantic accent which leads people to think I'm actually either American, Australian, South African, Canadian, Dutch, Danish, or even a Kiwi.

Because it's an odd voice, it commands people's attention, and it can be quite nice to listen to, when I pay attention to my diction and avoid eliding words like some stoned Californian. So I often wind up doing the sales announcements in the shop where I work. Today, I made use of that rather ugly portmanteau word 'unputdownable' in the course of an announcement, leading a customer to query whether 'unputdownable' is 'actually a word.' It's certainly an ugly word, two verbs colliding like cars between prefix and suffix: but is it an actual word?

A quick googling showed that most online dictionaries think it is, and also showed up two interesting articles, to which I link below:

Here, Andrew Brown has a good hard bash at the sort of crap perpetrated on the reading public by his namesake Dan, and here, Elizabeth Bachner wonders about the good/bad-putdownable/unputdownable continuum, in the process concocting an extended gustatory metaphor and having a swipe at publishing tastes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

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