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I am Diagnosed as a Logophile

“Inconceivable”! “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Cult favorite The Princess Bride has so many famous quotes, but really, I love that someone is called out for misusing a word.  I am just sitting here chuckling as I think about it.  And I think about all the crazily misused words I hear, but of course, do not personally call out.  Today, I’m here to call them out.  And call  myself out so I don’t come across as a word Nazi.

Wrong words, mispronounced words, urban words, tribal words.  I love them all.  Let’s talk about a few of them.

I obviously love to read.  Not only do I like a good story, I like a good character, a good subject and a unique viewpoint.  I also love words and their origins.  The thing I love has a side that drives me crazy.  Pronouncing words! For instance, the study of word origins is etymology.  I would love to actually use that highfalutin word, but when I try to speak it aloud, it comes out entomology.  Which is the study of bugs.  Which I’m not interested in, nor do I love.  Other words that vex me are words I’m almost sure I know the meaning of, but I might be using exactly opposite of what they mean.  Like is a Philistine a bad guy?  I know it’s in the bible so I need to think back to the old stories before I use that label.  Is Pariah an outcast or someone you’d like to invite to dinner?  Is the ultimate Prodigal God who lavishes on us, or some wastrel we would be embarrassed to hang out with?  Somebody who throws away unused squares of aluminum foil?  You see how a little education can be a bad thing.

Once I was in a meeting with a person who was working on his MBA, which in my opinion means he had some basic level of understanding of the English vocabulary. But… he kept using the word surreal.  As in his low inventory levels were surreal.  Um, like a Dali painting? My dear, smart friend who was also in the meeting kept catching my eye every time he used it and we could barely keep from cracking up. I mention this because it’s now a commonly misused word. Well who knew Dali had a picture of the Prodigal Son? Sorry about the surreal nudity.

Dali’s Filius Prodigus

I know the difference between good and well. “How are you today, sir”?  “Very well, I thank you.”  I learned that song on my fingers when I was three.  I know it’s not good, but everyone says “I’m good.”  I like saying I’m good.  It’s incorrect, but I don’t always want to sound pompous.

Literally.  Is that the most overused word of the 21st century?  “When such and such happened, I literally died!”  Um, no you didn’t. You’re here talking to me about it.  I hear the word so often and it is almost never used properly.  The term needed is “figuratively,” but that loses so much drama.

Affect and effect, further and farther – oh, just forget it.

There are words I purposely use incorrectly.  Often I like to eat a grilled cheese samrich.  Yep, those are things we eat in our family.  After a meal, I warsh the dishes.  My grandparents and parents added an R and it makes me feel down home to use it that way.  I completely change the spelling of doesn’t when I speak. It sounds like this.  “He dudn’t like that mushroom pizza.”  We have used beeswax for so many years, I don’t think we know the real word anymore. “It’s really none of their beeswax how much I weigh.”  My sisters and I have others, but you get the gist.  It makes me smile writing this.

I could pontificate on this subject for pages, but I’ll let it go.  However, if you find the humor in language, please drop a comment and share with everyone.  In fact, I just found out there is a term to describe people like me – Logophile.

Now, why all this attention to words and their meanings, you ask? Well, my brother-in-law’s sister and family came for Christmas. We had never met them before because they live in England. But they are not just strangers off the street. We share family members. For Thanksgiving we went to another brother-in-law’s brother’s house. We do know them well and see them at family functions. He calls himself my husband’s “almost brother-in-law.” So I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary and found “Family-In-Law.” No blood or marriage ties, yet still family. I loved it! That’s what got this whole ball started.

Oh, and one sad footnote, like so many others of my age, half the time I cannot even think of the most simple word I’m trying to use!

Things that made me go “Hmmm” this week

  • Watching headlines on ESPN at the gym that said “Breaking News.”  Ok, whatever is going on in the sports world merits “breaking”???
  • Seeing a nun in full habit taking a stroll down Country Club Way.  The last time I saw a nun in full habit was in Rome and before that I cannot even remember.  In my booze-chugging country club neighborhood!  Well, I was just astounded.  As astounded as I would have been seeing a werewolf strolling through Soho in the rain.  And that’s exactly what went through my mind and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.  She saw me smiling in the car and returned a beautiful one.  She had out her rosary, and I know she was praying out in the desert sunshine and I really could not love her more.  Maybe she was an angel.  I guess that’s just how supernatural the whole thing seemed.
  • Coming home to a sweet potato plant that had been completely uprooted and eaten off my porch.  Javelinas!  That plant has been there for months and I didn’t even know javelinas like that plant.  Well, unless a werewolf did it.  Or a nun.

What I’m Reading

I finished The Strawberry Thief.  I wanted so badly to love it like I loved Chocolat, but I finished so disappointed.  Joanne Harris writes beautifully, but the characters (except the priest) were so flat and unlikable.  I love Roux and Vianne, but meh!  The book felt really long on one hand and really rushed on the other.  I finished the audio of The Bookwoman’s Last Fling and it was fun.  I think it will be the last in that series because the author is old, and that makes me kind of sad.  I started Big Red Tequilla by Rick Riordan on audio and it is fun so far.  Now, here are my excuses coming at you.  It has been SO DANG COLD here that I haven’t been outside or really walking until yesterday – and yesterday I walked in a down coat and stocking cap.  Walking is when I get my audio books in.  I feel so behind.  I started the latest Jack Reacher yesterday, Blue Moon.  Of course, I love it.  Of course, I wish I wasn’t writing this or working, and I could just hunker down by the fire and love on Jack Reacher for the day.  And love on Roxy because she loves Jack too.  Or maybe she loves the soft blanket.  Or the fireplace.

What I’m Eating

We had a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas day and hosted my sister Monique and her husband Peter.  Peter’s sister and her family joined us from England and we had a wonderful time with them.  I know that nobody needs a recipe for a turkey dinner, so no pics of that.  I did make a chicken and rice dish with zucchini and all my stand-by Trader Joe ingredients.  Honestly, on my regular eating routine, I would never had made this, but it turned out not too bad. I had so many photo ops while we were entertaining this week, but I didn’t even know where my camera was.  Everything was just so busy.  I did get this shot of my sister at the cheese board Pete put together.

Monique at the cheeseboard
Chicken Zucchini Rice Bowl

What I’m Doing

We had the best Christmas with family this week, even though the visit was very short.  We played games, visited, ate and drank.  We walked around Old Town Scottsdale where we had a fantastic brunch followed up by a trip for ice cream at the historic Sugar Bowl.  We drove to the Mystery Castle, but my sister is in an ankle boot and it didn’t seem a wise choice to tour, so we just appreciated it from the outside.

Sugar Bowl Ice Cream in Old Town Scottsdale

Things are back to normal in our household. Roxy LOVED all the extra attention, but frankly, Kinsey is just happy with laundry day. It’s really hard to be hygienic with critters.

Kinsey helping with laundry

2 Comment

  1. The cheese board looks delish! I wish I were there to have some! You do make some pretty awesome cheese boards 🙂

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