Friday, 31 August 2007

English Siamese twins?

I am not talking about some Siamese twins in the UK or in fact a Conjoined human twins. I am talking about Siamese twins in the English language. The phrase Siamese twins "in the context of the English language refers to a pair or grouping of words that is often used together as an idiomatic expression and usually conjoined by the words andor or."
(quoted from

According to Wikipedia, this term was first used and popularised by H. W. Fowler, a renowned lexicographer.

Recently, I have taken an interest in the English language used in the business community. I have recently written a blog article about some interesting cliché used commonly by business people in both spoken language and in documents. (See my post "Thinking out of the box").
Other than the cliché, I am also finding that some form of the Siamese twins are getting used quite often in the business circles.

So often I will hear people blurb out about "meet and greet" events, teeing up a "chalk and talk" meetings, things that happened in our "hustle and bustle" lives and the "wear and tear" was the reason why our cars broke down in the middle of busy highways.

I use some of these phrases so frequently and without give much thoughts to their origin and realising that the there is a special term called "Siamese twins" to describe them.

Wikipedia has a great article about these Siamese twins and have long list different variations.

Well, I leave you with this thought:
Does the use of Siamese twins from time to time in our daily lives just simply part and parcel or willy-nilly? Does all these phrases "spice up" our conversation or make things sound more interesting, or are they so ingrain in our daily lives by and large that we use them without giving much thoughts and considerations? Perhaps a bit of both?

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