Tag Archives: Language

Words

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of words. Actually more than just a fan, I’m an addict. I use them constantly…every day…without pause. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing else I can do but use words.

When I’m waking up, I use words (“oh my god not another day of this“, “turn off the alarm!”, “is it Friday yet?”).

When I take a shower I use words (“did you use up ALL of the shampoo?”, “what happened to my loofah?”).

Driving to work…words (“GET OUT OF MY WAY!“, “GET OFF THE PHONE AND DRIVE!”, “@#&%(&@#%(*&@!!!!!“).

And when I get to work, just watch out because it’s like word overload!

Moving forward, we need to recognize that a paradigm shift is needed for the right engagement. In today’s world, we have a need for a robust escalation process that will provide accountability and ownership to the ratifying body, namely the MRC. The culture of tomorrow, will have to migrate toward a sustainable corporate ecosystem, whereby the employee resources will be empowered to define, address, and solve problems as they arise, enabling a versatile risk valuing dynamic.” *I’ve actually only worked in one place where this paragraph would be heard and would make complete sense.

But it doesn’t stop there…when I get home from work, there are more words there too (“I thought I asked you to take the trash cans out this morning“, “Why is there cat vomit all over my keyboard?”, “I was nearly run off the road driving home by some idiot on their phone“).

It’s like they are there waiting for me. They sit dormant all day long, and then as soon as I open the door to my house, BOOM! Words! But it still doesn’t stop. You’d think that maybe while I’m eating dinner there would be some type of reprieve.

You’d be thinking wrong (“I thought I told you that I was trying to watch my carb intake…I can’t eat all this bread.”, “I don’t like feta in my Merlot.“, “What is this?“).

And even then it’s not over…I go to bed and pick up my latest novel to read…more words (I am unable to share any words for this portion due to copyright law). And this time it’s not just me using them, it’s the author of the book! I’m not the only one dealing with this terrible affliction apparently.

Then finally it’s time for sleep…you guessed it, more words. Only this time they are in my head…and they just won’t stop. It’s just one word after another, creating all these strange sentences and paragraphs that no one understands, especially me.

Peas porridge hot. Cold pigs fly. Why oh why oh why oh why. The bell rang again today as I dreamed of Manderlay. Unfortunately, the can on the stove was boiling and I was unable to clean the litter box again. I cried for what seemed like napkins, and still I cried some more. Did I leave the gas on or was that the doorbell? Wait…wait…MELON LIQUOR!

I wake up the next day and this cycle starts itself all over again.

I’ve been to the doctor numerous times about the problem, unfortunately, he seems to be afflicted as well, because he just can’t shut UP with all the words. Different words, yes, because he has to use all that doctor jargon like “delusional” and “mental instability” and “psychotic episode“. But who understands those doctor words anyway except doctors…so he couldn’t help me really, although he prescribed me some sort of pill that’s supposed to reduce the number of words I have…it’s called “valium” or “Demerol” or something like that, but again, doctor words, so I just ignore them.

I long for the day when the words take a break, even if just for a moment, so that I can have some peace and quiet and listen to the birds chirp, and the crickets crick, and the bees buzz, and the moths moth, and the fish gurgle, and the diet pepsi vanilla fizz, and the phone ring, and the cats meow, and the refrigerator hum, and the fan whirl, and the vacuum cleaner inhale, and the stairs creak, and the champagne cork pop, and the pill bottle whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

* Disclaimer: If you dislike what I write, there is a wonderful set of words I’d like to introduce you to. [censored]. You.

PS. There are 756 words in this post. Thought you’d want to know.

DSC

So over the last few months, I’ve been fighting off a recurring problem which I think impacts a large number of people. Some of you may have experienced this issue both at work and at home. At work, it is less frequent, but often makes people stop, look around, and wonder. At home at least you are in the privacy of your own home. I am of course talking about dieresis.

Dieresis is a problem that affects, on average, 873 million people per day…mostly Europeans. For those of us who are not European, and may be slightly concerned, I offer a translation. Dieresis is an umlaut. An umlaut you say? But I dreamed about one of those just last night! Those two precious little dots that appear above some but not all of the vowels in our language, causing a tightening of the mouth…a puckering if you will…to achieve perfect pronunciation.

Some of you possibly have lives and don’t dream about umlauts. Instead you may have day dreams of degree signs, affirmations of acutes, tirades about tildes, or dialogues about diphthongs. Some of you, a very small special some of you, may even be having an affair with a cedilla. But no matter which of these marvelous characters you ponder, they all serve the amazing purpose of turning words and sounds into the language that we speak every day. (Ponder that one for a moment.)

Most of us are pretty familiar with “special characters”. I’m not referring to Tinky Winky, or Binky Banky, or Plinky Plonky, or whatever the h*ll those creatures are called. I’m referring to those marvelous symbols that were not originally included in the 26 letter English alphabet. Perhaps you are familiar with the ampersand &, the at @, the pound # (or £ if you’re Region-2), the splat *, and the bang !. Those special characters do nothing to change the way a word sounds, but often represent words of their own (mostly because we are too lazy as a species to write “and” or “at” so someone developed the & and @). But having a language means that it must be adaptable. New words must be created on a regular basis to keep the discussions flowing. But how are we to create new words with only the 26 letters available to us?

There comes the true value and impact of the diacritical marks. Not only are the diacritical marks “special characters”, but they are “diacritical special characters”, DSC for short. DSC have allowed us to extend and expand the language to include words that may never have appeared. DSC allow us to change the pronunciation of a word, without changing the composite letters. DSC allow us to truly sound more pompous and pretentious than we ever could have been, unless we had been born in Europe. (*snaps to my European friends who sign away most of their rights once they become my friends*)

Many years ago while on a trip to Oregon I had a lovely dinner and social event with a group of work folks. I had traveled north to attend a leadership development class, and on the journey felt as though I should go amongst my people and drink. After a lovely dinner, the remaining group made our way to the local Chevy’s for margaritas. Chevy’s, being an authentic Spanish restaurant, offered us the opportunity to interact with people who speak somewhat differently than we do, and who natively make use of DSC in every-day language. I am of course talking about our friends in the south, our Spanish-Mexican-Or-Other-Spanish-Speaking-Country-Americans.

One such native speaker was our waitress/attendant/server/provider/food service professional. Her name, Consuèlla Maria Conchita Aloña Rodriguez Turner. I knew that this was a person I could ask a question that I had been waiting all my life to ask.

What on earth is a cedilla?

For those of you just joining us: Ç. It’s basically the letter C with a little curvy tail. Almost as though a comma and a C just got a little too close one night after several top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt. Honey, if I had a comma shoved in me, I’d pronounce things differently too. (sorry, I just channeled Queen Latìfa for a moment)

Much to my chagrin, CMCART had never heard of the cedilla. I don’t know whether it is because I pronounced it “seh-DEE-uh” or whether she was from an area that simply did not have this DSC as part of their dialect, but none the less, my question remained unanswered. [note: I later discovered that the cedilla is NOT part of the Spanish dialect at all, therefore, I was totally off-base in asking CMCART]

So what to do with all of these special characters? Well, once you’ve had a few TSMotRnS (top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt – honestly, if you would keep up with me I wouldn’t have to explain these things), the natural inclination is to start using DSC to make fun of people. And that we did. Thankfully, there were so few people sitting near us, we thought it easier to just make fun of ourselves by giving everyone their own special accented name.

I won’t go into the full detail of our naming scheme, but suffice it to say we made sure that everyone had at least one special character. To illustrate our most precious name, I will introduce Monte.

Now in the original form this would be pronounced: Mahn-tee, with the accent on the first syllable. Obviously, this name needed some special characters, and with so many at our disposal here’s what we came up with… Möñté. Three special characters (o-umlaut, n-yay, and the l’accent acute), all in the same name…transforming Mahn-tee into Moon-Yehn-Tay. As you can clearly see, inclusion of special characters transformed this normally boring and bland name into something posh, debonair, and ear-catching. Imagine the looks you would get yelling across the cafe…”Moon-Yehn-Tay…over here!!” (So much better than Mahn-tee…don’t you agree? *snaps to Monte for his willingness to be temporarily portrayed as a boring/bland-named individual, because he’s not boring or bland at all*)

Alas, not everyone can have such a special name like Möñté. Most of you will go through life with mundane-as-molasses-Martin’s, bland-as-butter-Bonnie’s or routine-as-rain-Rhonda’s. But just think of the possibilities for your career, or your life, if you could be Mare-TEEN-yah, BOON-yeee, or Ro-HOON-day. Great Las Vegas Showgirl names…