Renaissance (II)

As explained in more detail below, this is the second of some rather whimsical posts loosely related to a bit of reading wot I did about the life and times of Leonardo. (I do like a good biography…am I turning into my grandfather? Ack.)

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo, according to a self-portrait painted in his early 60s

Sticking with English for the moment – or, at least, Englishified Italian – I came across the following phrase in one of Nicholls’s descriptions of Leonardo’s life, and the activities that are commonly ascribed to this genius (the author comments quite rightly at the beginning of the book that this word is a particularly over-used word, especially nowadays—but he does admit that da Vinci is one man who does the term justice): Nicholls refers to ‘all things Leonardian’.

This gave me pause (as no one outside Dickens adaptations says…apt given what follows?). What, outside the realms of a particularly heavily researched book, would be the more common expression? Ah yes: ‘all things Leonardo’. And I realised, rather belatedly, why this latter form – in its manifestation as ‘all things football’, ‘all things pop music’, ‘all things business’, ‘all things wombat’, or whatever – annoys me so much. (Yes, this is another language rant. Sue me.)

Put simply, it’s the noun-ifying (yes, in the context, I think it is a word) of adjectives. Not the transformation of nouns into adjectives, which is a perfectly understandable development of language (‘Sweden’ to ‘Swedish’, ‘crime’ to ‘criminal’, etc.), but the use of nouns as adjectives. Saying ‘all things football’ rather than ‘everything football-related’ is just…lazy.

Thinking about it, though, maybe it’s simply another development of language. I’ll get back to eating, shooting, and leaving.


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