It’s no secret that I have kind of a word and language-usage obsession. Someone else wrote in another blog, “As a grammatically conscientious person who frequents internet forums and YouTube, I have found it necessary to develop a few coping mechanisms.” Sadly, I don’t seem to have developed any such mechanisms, and so I still twitch and rant at inappropriate moments, and my Paul has to tell me not to correct the waitress’ pronunciation of Smithwick’s, for example.
It’s just . . . not so much my wanting to be right, as my wanting everyone else to be as right as I am. And I love words and word usage. I just love them . . .
My Paul and I had a kind of lazy rainy Saturday, and at one point that afternoon, he was online on his laptop, and I was reading someone’s self-published novel. After a little back-and-forth between us, my Paul concluded, “I get disgusted about skyrocketing national debt. You get disgusted with misspellings. We have different thresholds for outrage.”
He’s right. But seriously. In just one chapter the author of this book wrote “Pi whole” when he meant “pie hole” and “nube” for “newbie”–many times on the last one. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to read “noob” when it’s supposed to be “newbie”–and “newbie” even looks like what it means? I mean, it does, right? It’s not like some other aspects of the English language that are actually confusing . . . The story, a YA “cyber-fiction” novel, is quite entertaining so far, but I have to say the whole grammar/spelling thing has put me off self-publishing. It’s pretty clear everybody needs another pair of (knowledgeable) eyes to proofread his or her work.
On the other hand . . . I do like messing with words and meanings. Like–recently I’ve been playing this game in my head where I misplace syllable emphases and divisions. I think I first started doing this when one of my parents made some quip about someone putting “the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble.” I no longer have any idea what the context of that joke was–it was quite some time ago–but even still I sometimes like to take multisyllabic words and rough them up a little. Then I like to make up new definitions for the mispronunciations.
My favourite one is Acetaminophen. If you pronounce it like, “AHset-AHmen-OHphen,” it sounds like the name of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Or, if you take the word linguistics and divide it differently than I did above–say, “LINGui-stics”–well, this summer my Paul and I went into a coffee shop where, instead of the usual earth-friendly-ish wooden coffee stirrers, they had raw linguine with which to stir one’s coffee. I know. The emphasised syllable in linguine is the same as in linguistics, but for some reason “LINGui-stics makes me think of those pasta coffee stirrers.
Okay–now you go. Rough up a word. Then tell us what it means.