There’s A Word For That

Aglet – the little plastic or metal thing that keeps the ends of shoelaces from unravelling.  English has a word for every object or action or thought.  Well, almost every.  Other languages and cultures have concepts that English doesn’t cover.  The Finns (the country, not the drunken Irish) are obsessed with familial relations.  English has aunts and uncles.  Finnish breaks them down to mother’s side or father’s, if they are mother’s, or father’s, sisters and brothers, or just married to them.  It runs to about 26 different words.  Who cares?  Other than Finns, obviously?

Males tend to excel at math and spatial relationships, while females do better with language and communication.  There will be no smart comments allowed when I admit that I have always been a linguiphile. (That’s a lover of language.)  I was able to read magazines before I turned 5, and my voracious print consumption gained me my greatest and best ability, one from which I have not garnered a nickel in my entire life.  I understand words, and know their exact meanings, and often how that occurred.

My daughter bought me a Words To Impress People, word-a-day calendar for Christmas.  It contained words like, dalliance, iconoclast, raconteur, ideologue, sacrilegious and abatement.  While interesting, it was no big deal.  I don’t need to impress people.  These words are in my normal vocabulary.  I’ve used them in my posts.  I hope some of you have looked up one or two you might not have known.

It wasn’t till I got to January 25th, that I hit one I didn’t know, or at least hadn’t run into – labanotation. (Oh dear, Spellcheck doesn’t like that one.)  I might have been able to pull it apart and figure it out on my own, but – there’s the definition.  It’s the nomenclature used to choreograph ballets, modern dance and other performances, so that dancers can follow the steps.  I can’t think why a classy, upscale guy like me didn’t know that one.

Words can be used for precision, gravitas or historical value.  As the late, great Benny Hill often said, “He was bent on seeing her, does not mean that the sight of her doubled him up.”  Some words are used instead of others for effect, to produce certain opinions and feelings.  I personally like the word *sonorous*, meaning to have a full, rich, impressive sound, for two interconnected reasons.  It resembles the word *snore*, and when I think of it, I get the mental image of any political assembly, half of them droning on, self-importantly, the other half snoozing.  😛

I try not to use text-speak or tweet-write.  I’ve posted WTF a couple of times, but I feel that anything more important than whether or not you had raisins in your oatmeal this morning, is worth more than 140 characters.  I’ve previously pointed out the difference between those who can read, and those who do read.  Sadly, I fear that many of those who don’t read, feel that they do, because of all the smart-phone thumbnastics they go through to feel connected.

LMFAO or YOLO is not going to get or keep a job for them.  I feel sorry for them because, with all their cute little abbreviations, their vocabulary will soon be down to 200 words.  They think they’re communicating, but actually they’re missing the broad complexities that the language is capable of.  😕

Now that I’m retarded retired, most of the sad, miscommunication I’m exposed to, comes from print, whether paper and ink, or digital.  I’ll continue to rant about crossword puzzle makers’ casual ignorance of precise meanings.  Bring – and fetch.  Bring means that you have it, and carry it to me.  Fetch means you don’t have it, but must go to get it before bringing it to me.  Tiny details that prevent you from being wrong, and looking the fool.

I ranted to myself about, should = must, yesterday.  I should study for a test tomorrow, rather than going to see the movie, A Good Day To Die Hard.  I must answer to several people for the poor mark I will get on the exam.

A misuse of names affects the son and his employer.  I have never been approached by someone who did not possess American, State licence plates, or regional accents, for the location of a particular, much-mispronounced city street.  The famous composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, has an English name, with two B’s, and six letters, pronounced “Webb-Brr.”  On his Wikipedia page, there is even a note, “Do not confuse with Andrew Weber.”  Our Weber Street is named for a German with only one B and five letters in his name, pronounced “Wee-Brr.”  See the difference?  Many don’t!  😦

The son’s plastic molding company makes parts for the American-owned Weber barbecue company, and to agree with their customer, are forced to pronounce it Webb-Brr.

I worked for four years at a precision machine shop, where tolerances went down to Millionths of an inch, yet the chief engineer wondered why his young male assistant and I bothered to set our digital watches to within a second of radio Standard time.  With my obsession with the language, I often wonder why writers (and speakers) devote so much time and energy to other things, yet fail so badly in their word choices and spelling.

There’s a word for that, but it’s not commonly used in polite company, so, I’m done.  😀


18 thoughts on “There’s A Word For That

  1. Daniel Digby says:

    I constantly have trouble pronouncing street and city names. How about Houston St. in Macon GA or Calliope or Terpsichore in New Orleans? Most people have little trouble with Cairo IL, but what about Cairo TN, Cairo NY, or Cairo GA? Then there’s Itta Bena MS and Chalybeate MS. The fun part is giving it your best shot and having the locals laugh at you.

    One of my favorites was when I tried to spell that city in Ohio where the Bengals play before the days of spellcheckers without bothering look it up. The return letter asked “When will you guys down in Memfus learn how to spell?”


    • Archon's Den says:

      Calliope and Terpsichore are Greek, and have definite rules for pronunciation, as does Hermione, from Harry Potter. Cairo is from Egypt, and should have one pronunciation. The fact that there are four American cities, and they have different ones, proves the problem. I must research Itta Bena, and Chalybeate. A blog-friend lives near Chilli, OH, which the residents rhyme with sky-lee. The local Weber/Webber thing just means some folk don’t pay attention.


  2. BrainRants says:

    Archon, you and your family are my favorite Canadians. Oh, and Kayjai. This is a really great article, if you’ll take praise from an American derived of the drunken Irish. Like there’s something wrong with that…


    • Archon's Den says:

      Archon and family will bask in the praise from a drunken Irish-American, even with a German name. A cheap Scotsman (are there any other kinds?) can usually get a drunken Irishman to buy a round, or seven. Are you aware that Shimoniac now has his own site? Check my blog-roll, if interested. KayJai, the site, sits abandoned, but you might look at RogueBlogger46 when you’re checking the blog-roll. Welcome back. We will lament all too soon, when we go back on short rations of Rants! 😦


    • benzeknees says:

      And what about me? I don’t fall into your favorite Canadians category?


  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    I too Archon have had a long affection with vocabulary, but my weakness is a subject you mention, pronunciation. Unlike German, which has definite rules for that, English seems downright perverse. ( I somehow survived two years of German and about all I now retain of it are the pronunciation rules and how to ask for a cup of coffee.)

    I almost invariably get English pronunciation wrong, so I’ve been pleased to see that the Merriam Webster app for the iPad now comes not just with those arcane markings but actual sound. It’s a welcome crutch.


    • Archon's Den says:

      English not only accepts words from other languages, it will chase them down dark alleys and mug them for new words. The language comes from so many different sources, that it’s impossible to have a unified whole, whether for spelling or pronunciation. I don’t have an iPad or SmartPhone but my website hangout, does the same.


  4. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Well, you got me to look up “YOLO” – you only live once…? I completely agree with the texting – it drives me nuts!
    I actually had a little boy argue with me the other day that there was no reason he should learn how to do long division! Yes, he told me I was old and kids these days used calculators for math…very sad. (soon no one will excel in math)


    • Archon's Den says:

      See previous comment. Famous last words, “Hey guys, watch this. YOLO.” Sci-Fi books are great predictors. I read one back in the 50s or 60s which foretold a time about now, where an EMP strike killed all computers and calculators, and the one guy on Earth who remembered how to do math, had to teach everybody all over again.
      Your Nelly, the rapper, has invited my Nelly(Furtado, the non-Portuguese racist) to do a Nelly and Nelly concert in aid of some charity, and of course, their careers.


      • whiteladyinthehood says:

        Hey, I actually know what an EMP is! (not because I’m smart, though, I’ve seen enough action movies.) The kids pretty much tell me, their phones will do all the thinking for them one day…that’s sounds sci-fi…maybe I should suggest they read this book!
        Nelly and Nelly! I think I would pass on that concert, even it is for charity!


  5. benzeknees says:

    I had a huge belly laugh once after a tourist asked me for directions to “Pipeline Rd.” They pronounced it Pip-ee-leen-ee Rd. It took me a while to figure out where they wanted to go – it wasn’t until they showed it to me written down I was able to give them proper directions.
    I do use some of the tweet abbreviations when I write things, but never professionally & I try to write out my words in full on my blog.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Years ago, there was a Playboy joke about an old, old-maid who told her room-mate she wished she could have been Sarah Pip-ee-leen-ee. The friend put on her glasses, glanced at the newspaper being read, and said, “That was the Sahara pipeline that was laid by 200 men in 90 days.”


  6. I do not have a particularly large vocabulary, but I do enjoy words. I often find myself asking people to define a word they’re using, because their meaning could be taken in several different ways.

    I also do the Queries on my blog and almost always ask people to define the word we’re talking about. Someone may say “yes” to a question like, “Do you believe in Destiny?”, but when I get them to define the word, I sometimes find they’re saying they believe the same thing as another person who answered “no”. The true answer really depends on how they define destiny. It’s very interesting.


    • Archon's Den says:

      It’s wise that you double-check context meanings. As my post infers, many people use words they’ve only heard in conversations, and to which they often assign arbitrary, but false, values.


  7. Oh, dear. It seems I’ve been remiss…you been posting a whole slew that I’ve been wanton in reading. My apologies. I’ve been otherwise engaged, but don’t think I have been intentionally ignoring. And, my thanks for giving Rants a ‘heads up’…I’m still trying to get others to realize what’s what.


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