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Language misuse is a burning issue

Published 30/09/2015

In the recent controversy surrounding bonfires in our streets, it is noticeable many speakers refer to bonfires as "bone" fires.

Thinking this could not be correct, I went to the dictionary. It turns out the word bonfire derives from a contraction of "beacon fires", with the bon part coming from the Danish word baun, meaning beacon.

But Danish? Oh, yes. Ireland and England have had a few visits from the Danes in the past. People like Canute.

He became king of Denmark, Norway, and England in the 11th century. He remains famous for correcting mistaken notions.

Some people today should bone up about what they mean and say.

FREDERICK CARROLL

Enniskillen, Co Fermangh

Belfast Telegraph

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