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Speak Easy: Siamese Twins

Speak Easy: Siamese Twins

All the English words in this Speak Easy puzzle are «Siamese Twins» or «Irreversible Binomials», in other words a pair or grouping of words used together and joined by either «and» or «or» and in which the order of the words cannot be inversed.  Many of these phrases are rhythmic or alliterative making them catchy. Some word combinations have become so widely used that their meanings surpass the meaning of the constituent words and are thus inseparable and permanent parts of the English lexicon. Many of them are also clichés, thus should be used with caution. Some of them translated to French by another set of Siamese Twins. Please make a comment below if you know what the equivalent French linguistic term is!

Siamses-twinsVolumes 1, 2 and 3 of Speak Easy puzzles can be purchased on store.fusac.fr.

The term Siamese Twins was first used as a linguistics term by H. W. Fowler, a renowned lexicographer who worked on A Dictionary of Modern English Usage in 1926. As a regular word the term comes from the most famous cojoined (the current and politically correct term) twins Chang and Eng Bunker who were born in Siam in 1811.They two brothers travelled to the United States, became citizens, married two sisters and fathered a total of twenty two children and lived 63 years triomphing over extraordinary odds and predjudice!
Read this Daily Mail summary of their lives.

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2 Responses to "Speak Easy: Siamese Twins"

  1. Ann Zaleski dit :

    It looks like you introduced one error in the above pairings: 21 and 33 are reversed.
    Perhaps you did this on purpose to invite comments?

    • Lisa from FUSAC dit :

      Hello Ann,
      Thanks for your comment and for catching the mistake. 21. The birds and the bees does turn into les cigognes et les choux in French, but we have replaced number 33 with a new phrase (Out and About = Etre de sortie) as we can’t come up with a satisfactory translation of “neither hide nor hair”. Any one have any suggestions?

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