Words Words Words~~Are You a Verbarian?
Words are not as satisfactory as we should like them to be, but, like our neighbours, we have got to live with them and must make the best and not the worst of them.— Samuel Butler
Each day millions of these flow out of mouths, into ears, onto paper, into cyberspace on the way to persuade, inform, convince, relay, defend, explain, question, advertise, calm, inflame. Words. Powerful tools.
Never been one to subscribe to that old saying…sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you. That is a reason for another hub all in itself. Words do have power.
Words carefully chosen, skillfully connected create images we often feel are real when we encounter the characters they bring to life.
The lives and experiences of those who have walked and those who continue to walk the planet are illustrated for us by a masterful writer who once again chooses the precise word will cause the person of whom they write to slip from the pages and appear before us. As their lives unfold, we often feel their presence as their story unfolds.
Are you a verbarian? Is much of your life centered around words and their usage, their power, their value? Chances are if you engage in expressing your ideas to others on line, on paper, and even in speaking you are entangled by adverbs, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, nouns, pronouns, interjections and on and on clamoring to be seen and heard.
After a bit I got to thinking about unusual words like the longest words.
Antidisestablishmentarianism with 28 letters was the one I had learned to spell as a little kid. I find there are others.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus has 27 letters if i got them all in here and means something like full and overflowing with honor but it maybe the first five letters should be: proud..as it seems to have an inflated amount of pride about its length.
Supercaliphragilisticexpialidocioushas 34 letters but some question whether it can count as it was made up for the Mary Poppins movie.
Really long word
While researching I found the following: "So what if we want a word that is not famous for being long, but a word that describes something real. What's the longest one of those?
Science writer Sam Kean, in his book, The Disappearing Spoon, worked really hard on this and after much sleuthing, he landed on a word that comes not from dancing English nannies but from virus-hunting scientists. It's a protein, found in a virus, but this is a very dangerous, economically important virus, the first ever discovered...
otherwise known as the dreaded tobacco mosaic virus.
It appeared in all its lettery splendor in 1964 in a reference source for chemists, "Chemical Abstracts." It is one thousand, one hundred and eighty five letters long. So as Sam says, "Take a breath," and...
Ta-ta-boom! This has to be the champ. (I know there's a suspiciously large number of "yl" combinations in there, but that's a suffix that biochemists use to describe certain amino acids, so it's truly descriptive). Is it time to unpack"
Imagine having that word on a spelling test.
Tongue Twisters can be fun....
Other "longest words"
It seems the list of longest words keeps growing. A few more are:
Pnuemonoultramicriscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis which has an alternate spelling too is said to be a lung disease whose cause is breathing in particles of volcanic dust. It has been described as hardly worthy of acknowledging.
There is also:
Hepaticocholangiocholecystenterostomies which is described as a surgical procedure in which the gall bladder, hepatic duct, and intestines are connected.
A way to bring more words to kids who are learning to express their ideas in writing
Go to your local hardware or paint store.
Ask if you may have a collection of the paint chips that are so abundant.
These offer many great ideas to use to express color in a new way.
Small words: if, and, but, my, your, this, that, our, many, only
Color words: blue, magenta, lavender, orange, burgundy,turquoise
Words that express feelings: courageous, calm, peaceful, confident, angry, lonely, sad, positive, wise, thoughtful
Connecting words in a way that allows the reader to make a mind movie of what you are expressing provides a window into the world you are creating.
Rearranging the same words of course changes the essence of the message.
The giant green toad was chased by an intimidating crocodile.
A giant green crocodile was chased by an intimidating toad.
Changing just a few words can change everything---what fun that is.
Making our writing more colorful and alive can be accomplished with one of many kinds of figurative language.
Similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, tongue twisters, puns, and spoonerisms accidental or intended, pangrams, and others make readers want to read on to see if you will not disappoint and that you will excite their senses through the strokes of your pen or the touch of your fingers on the keypad.
More puns at buzzle.com
Here are a few of them...
- "A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.
- When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
- A gossip is someone with a sense of rumor.
- When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
- Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
- A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
- Two silkworms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
- A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
- A plateau is a high form of flattery
Puns....a play on words ...humorous manipulation of words
Drum roll. please….
- A hamburger walked into a bar. The barkeep says, ‘Sorry, we don’t serve food here.’
- One small termite walked into a bar and asked, ‘Is the bartender here?’
- There were 2 peanuts who went into a bar. One was a-salted.
- The lights were too bright in the Chinese restaurant. So, the owner said, ‘I’ll dim sum’.
Onomatopoeia...words sound like the common sound of the object that is described.
Water plopped in the empty bucket
he was taking a bath
Boom….fireworks exploded all around them
Oxymorons…juxtaposition of two things that are seemingly opposite (pstraubie48's definition)
- Jumbo shrimp
- Pretty ugly
- Definite maybe
- Fine mess
- Agree to disagree
- Bitter sweet
- Blind eye
Spoonerisms…transposing initial or other sounds of word usually accidentally …
A blushing crow ( a crushing blow)
Ket of seas (a set of keys)
An old favorite hymn….Shall We Rather at the Giver? (Shall We Gather at the River?)
The girls are sin twisters (The girls are twin sisters.)
Keys and parrots (peas and carrots)
Let me sew you to your seat ( let me show you to your seat)
Palindromes...occurring in our writings by design or accidentally. There are those who analyzed the writings to see if they can find them…
Racecar, eye, madam , mom, toot, eve, tot, dad, radar, rotor, civic
Sometimes they are embedded within sentences...
- "Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
- Madam, I'm Adam.
- Never odd or even.
- No lemon, no melon.
- Was it a car or a cat I saw?"
These were found at voices on yahoo.
Mondegrees and Eggcorns
Mondegreens…mishear and swap words as in this song…
Sweet dreams are made of cheese
Instead of Sweet dreams are made of this
From stirrup queens.com some submissions ....
- I used to think Steve Perry was shouting, “CINNAMON GUM!!!” in “Oh Sherry”. Instead of the actual “Should’ve been gone” (author unknown)
- Until his late teens/early-20′s my husband used to sing “Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul” (instead of “Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul” by the Doobie Brothers) (from Tigger).
- My sil’s sister thought it was “too late to call the Nye’s” instead of “too late to apologize.” My kids thought Queen has a chicken song: ”We are the chickens, we are the chickens, no time for woosters(sic), ’cause we are the chickens of the world”. I kid you not. I know Freddie Mercury is probably rolling over in his grave about now (from Julia
- When I was a kid they used to show commercials on tv for the armed forces that said “Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines.” My brother still makes fun of me for saying “Army, Navy, AIRPORTS, Marines.” (from Denise).
- From Blinded By The Light (by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band). “Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche bag in the middle of the night” (from B–see Kristin’s too).
- From ‘Heart, I just died in your arms tonight’ by Whitesnake – the correct lyrics are “I just died in your arms tonight. It must have been something you said”. I always thought it was “Must have been something I ate” – which made perfect sense to me. (from Hope Springs).
- Mine is from the bit in Tiffany’s “I think we’re alone now” that goes “I think we’re alone now / There doesn’t seem to be anyone around / I think we’re alone now / The beating of our hearts is the only sound.” For years I thought the last line was “They’re beating up a horse, it’s the only sound” (from Hamstergirl).
Eggcorns…swap homophones in phrases in writing here for hear…
http://www.dailywritingtips.com/found-any-eggcorns-lately/ The folloiwng is from this eggcorn source...
"What Is An Eggcorn?
It may be simpler to define it by what it’s not. Here’s Mark Liberman’s take on it:
It’s not a folk etymology, because this is the usage of one person rather than an entire speech community.
It’s not a malapropism, because "egg corn" and "acorn" are really homonyms (at least in casual pronunciation), while pairs like "allegory" for "alligator," "oracular" for "vernacular" and "fortuitous" for "fortunate" are merely similar in sound
It’s not a mondegreen because the mis-construal is not part of a song or poem or similar performance.
Nor is an eggcorn simply a mistake. Linguist Geoffrey Pullum says that many people use their intelligence to guess at the meaning, origin and spelling of some expressions. It’s just that they guess wrong. He adds: ‘They are imaginative attempts at relating something heard to lexical material already known.’
Since Mark Liberman coined the term, linguists and language lovers have gone eggcorn hunting. The results of their searches have been gathered in the Eggcorn Database, which is maintained by Chris Waigl. I had a great time browsing the database, which now contains almost 600 entries.
Some examples of eggcorns include:
- antidotal evidence (anecdotal evidence)
- bonified (bona fide)
- bread and breakfast (bed and breakfast)
- damp squid (damp squib)
- ·duck tape (duct tape, now confused by the existence of a brand of duct tape known as Duck Tape)
- ·vast majority (vast majority)
· flaw in the ointment (fly in the ointment)
· home in (home in)
- internally grateful (eternally grateful)
- ·moot point (moot point)·
- on the spurt of the moment (on the spur of the moment)
- outer body experience (out of body experience)
- put the cat before the horse (put the cart before the horse)
- ·throes of passion (throes of passion)
- ·windshield factor (wind chill factor)
Mark Liberman says eggcorns are ‘a symptom of human intelligence and creativity’ . And they’re certainly fun to read. "
Pangrams are sentences that include all of the letters of the alphabet.
"Few quips galvanized the mock jury box.
Fred specialized in the job of making very quaint wax toys.
Back in June we delivered oxygen equipment of the same size.
Six of the women quietly gave back prizes to the judges."
Now of course we need to try this on our own.
You Got To....Watch This One!!!
Malapropisms...substituting a similar sounding word for the correct word
He is the pineapple of politeness for He is the pinnacle of politeness.
The now famous….nuclear pants for nuclear plants…
‘Malapropisms are the unintentional and often hilarious slips caused by the incorrect use of a word, either by ignorance or by confusion over the similar sounding or spelling.
The term 'Malapropism' is derived from the French term mal a propos, which translates as 'ill to purpose', and was brought into popular use in the English language by the famous playwright Richard Sheridan's Restoration Comedy of 1775, The Rivals. A character in this play is called Mrs. Malaprop and she certainly lives up to her name, dropping clangers throughout!
Mrs. Malaprop's Malapropisms -
1. "...she's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile." (alligator)
2. "Why, murder's the matter! slaughter's the matter! killing's the matter! - but he can tell you the perpendiculars." (particulars)
3. "Nay, no delusions to the past - Lydia is convinced;" (allusions)
5. "I am sure I have done everything in my power since I exploded the affair." (exposed)
7. "...if ever you betray what you are entrusted with... you forfeit my malevolence for ever..." (benevolence)
8. "I hope you will represent her to the captain as an object not altogether illegible."
9. "...promise to forget this fellow - to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory."
10. "O, he will dissolve my mystery!" (resolve)
Malapropisms by Some Well-known Folks :
- I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well." - George Bush II
- Natural gas is hemispheric... because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods. - George Bush II
- Listen to the blabbing brook. - Norm Crosby
- This is unparalyzed in the state's history. - Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House
- Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child. - Dan Quayle, US Vice President
Some others by everyday folks..
- Let's get down to brass roots.
- You've sent her barking up the wrong dog.
- If my grandfather was alive today he'd be turning in his grave
- You can plead with me until the cows come home blue in the face.
- I got stuck in the revolting doors.
- It wasn't my fault, even the police said I was totally blameworthy.
- Like I say, I'm trying to tie up a loose hole.
- You can lead a horse to manure but you can't make him drink.
- We're thinly skating on ice.’
- Her father was some kind of civil serpent."
More years ago than I recall exactly, a tiny book appeared on our doorstep. It has remained with me since then. It was published by Prentice Hall in 1946 in Longwood Cliffs New Jersey. Howard L Chase was its author.
It is a book that should be reprinted for all who love the different ways we are able to slaughter the king's English. Ladle Rat Rotten Hut is the name on a red banner across the lower right portion of the book.
The premise for Anguish is that 'many English words, can be substituted quite satisfactorily for others. When all the words in a given passage of English have been so replaced, the passage keeps its original meaning, but all the words have acquired new ones. A word that has received a new meaning becomes a wart, and when all the words in the passage have become warts, the passage is no longer English but Anguish."
I shared a few passages from this tiny book, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut. My copy is tattered and torn as down through the years countless hands have opened and closed its covers. I found one copy on line at Amazon. If you google, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an amazing number of resources pop up.
It is fun to read to someone and have them translate.
A friendly little warm is speaking to a board and the conversation goes this way:
"Europe oily disk moaning, " said the warm.
The board replies, "Doily board cashed or warm."
Having fun with words is this Anguish Languish.
Fur Hazy Jelly Gut Furlough
Unleashing ideas comes easily. Tumbling out, the words we select are carefully selected and arranged to convey our message. Sometimes the words take over and do the writing themselves. They fall from our fingertips and our lips in a perfect kind of cadence and rhythm to express just what is on our mind.
We return to the page where those words have fallen. "Maybe that was not really the best way to say what I am thinking," we may think. Using delete or backspace or an eraser or a pen, those same words disappear. But not really. They are saved somewhere so that they may rise once again, be redressed, and perhaps find a place on the page.Temporarily, new ones are chosen and the thought emerges.
Each day as I turn on my computer, my heart races as little as I know I am about to encounter another day of discovery as I read the words of others.
© 2012 Patricia Scott