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A cure for language? Malapropisms?

Updated on April 25, 2013

The use of malapropisms is always funny. Until the world turns into one, as it has now rather inconsiderately done without making an appointment. I’d like to not-very-gently explore the use of malapropisms in a wider, more annoying way.

I’m doing this to prove a point I really should know better than to try to make.

Dickens invented Mrs Malaprop, the epitome of the misused word in the wrong place. Gerald Durrell has a classic story of an old girlfriend who was dropping clangers all over her conversation. Malapropisms drip from the most improbable people and other vacant areas.

Obviously, this isn’t enough. We need to descend into the abysmal bowels of expression, wading in the fetid horrors of vacuous viviparous vagrant vilified vocabularies. (There was this sale on “v’s”, see…)

In this way we can abolish any sort of rational meaning whatsoever, so people can really understand what they’re talking about. It’s already well under way. Consider the civilized conversation of the early 21st century malapropisms, without the smells:

“Dud yew saw thud shew? Showering whit herpes if yew dozen flush yore farce?”

“Youth, Ur dud. Id whizz fussy-neutering.”

As you can see, this too-efficient use of words soon becomes like the financial news or IT articles- Full of things you really don’t want to even think about. The net effect of this high level of articulation is supposed to be excellent. There is absolutely no possibility of any sort of interest in anything.

It’s hard to spread disinformation when nobody cares what’s being said about anything. So it follows that malapropisms will save humanity from both the world and use of language.

A cure for language?

Is this the way to a better world, where they-folk-critters may grovel in delightful sycophantic squalor without having to worry about the terrible risk of relevance which language may create? Will humanity finally escape relevance altogether? Will success spoil the US education system?

Language is a troublemaker. It expects you to keep track of words, sometimes even whole sentences, and you can’t get insurance if it accidentally happens to you. It lurks in the most unlike places, like friends and family. It leaps out at you at work. It even expects you to use it and take it for perverted walks inside the finely splintered minds of the people you speak to.

Clearly, it must be stopped. By cunning, superfluous use of the famous “Words what do things” aka malapropisms, we may avoid the immoralities of language. Thus shall we return to a pastoral existence in which even a bored blade of grass wouldn’t dare bother to start a conversation with humanity.

The “Words what do things” are sub-tool and varicose. They err used to premeditate interest in other subjects. The theory is that whatever the subject, the “Words what do things” will create a sudden desperate desire to think of something else.

Fur sample:

I’ve taken up management science lechering. The herdience* is very dispersive. They find words and build huts out of them. I stand on the stooge, and they take in every shudder of inflection and meaning.

*(Mispronunciation is permitted among consenting adults and bricks which can’t run away or throw themselves at the speaker.)

About ten minutes of this sort of speech, in a rational species, would cause immediate self-extinction. In Homo Sap, it’ll take a few million years, but it will be worth it.

Mimbly Tales
Mimbly Tales

Read this thing, and see if you really want to admit to reading it. Therefore you don't need a language, just excuses.



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    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hm. From the structure, it's like "I hear you", and I think it also comes from California biz/movie speak. It's also faux artistic, as in "I am seeing it/you/them as...". That genre of expression hasn't come out to Australia yet, thank God, but thanks for warning me. Nothing like wasting words and hiding in the present tense to tangle a sentence.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      There's another disease that's come over the literary world here. It's called 'weakened verbs', i.e., 'I am liking this' compared to straightforward 'I like this', or 'I am seeing you' as opposed to 'I see you'.

      It's something that's come eastward across the US and 'the Pond' from Hollywood, and smacks of somebody writing in English and thinking in German (like the business of saying something and making it sound like a question. Gets confusing). Could be their scriptwriters are Central European, 3rd generation American and haven't mastered the lingo yet.

      Alright already?!

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      "New wave" as in blow-dried humour; know it and despise it. As for toilet humour, all that can be said is that it has a great sense of direction. I'm worried, though, that the English language might try and make a break for it due to this sort of abuse. Perhaps if we leave out a saucer of context, or something....?

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Nicely put, Paul. We used to have a couple of comedy acts in the UK that made great use of malapropisms and mispronunciation. The earlier one was Hilda Baker, who made a habit of either using the wrong words altogether - trying to sound educated with big words - or saying them wrong. The other act was a comic who called himself 'Professor Stanley Unwin' and mispronounced everything. Funny thing was everybody had an inkling of what he was saying. Try to think about what he was saying and you were doomed. 'Let it wash over you' - go with the flow - and you were in the swim, as the phrase goes. It all sounded gobbledy-gook but it worked.

      (We have a lot of 'new wave' comedy acts these days who don't seem to be able to put a joke together without a sprinkling of f**r letter w**ds, and then there some who don't say much and everybody in the audience starts hooting with laughter. That ain't comedy, that's clowning).


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