This blog originally appeared on the Student led AllAboutLinguistics blog.

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Jamie Lepiorz

Movember is a charity event centred around the month of November in which many people grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s health risks, including testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health issues. Movember uses money raised to support education programmes, research, and to support those living with and beyond cancer. The goal of Movember is to change the face of men’s health.

At the University of Sheffield, the English Society (EngSoc) has undergone a mo-makeover and is hosting all manner of Movember festivities and fundraisers. There will be cake sales, quizzes and much more. Culminating in a Mo-party for all Mo-growers, so you could say they are Mo-goers (I’ll stop with the awful jokes now). 68 staff and students in the department aim to raise money.

First-year MoBrothers (including me: second row, left)

And just to show that linguistics is everywhere… Movember is interesting linguistically, being a blend. The word moustache forms the start of the new word being contracted to simply ‘mo’. Then blended with November to form a word which is not only new and simple but which can be memorable and used at the forefront of a men’s health campaign.

3 linguistically interesting Movember facts

mobro1The word moustache has an interesting history, from an orthographic viewpoint there have been two different spellings of the word throughout history as both ‘moustache’ and ‘mustache’ the latter being more common in American English. Moustache is originally from the French language.

In Welsh, November translates as Tachwedd, so Movember is known as Tache-wedd. A bilingual coinage which not only makes an interesting word formation but also requires a lot of skill from the original creator.

‘I moustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later’ is a pun based around the word moustache being used as a homophone for the phrase ‘must ask’. Homophones are when words are pronounced the same but have different meanings and contexts they can be used in.
mobro2To read a little more about the EngSoc campaign, click here

To donate and view the teams efforts, click here 

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