Category Archives: language

Words are fun

Very real feelings that don’t have a name, but should:
– That crushing disappointment you feel when someone you thought was cool turns out to be a racist.
Suggested word: crackerjacked

-The mix of desperation and optimism that accompanies staring at your facebook chat list (or gchat or whatever) hoping that a specific person will talk to you.
Suggested word: pitiope

-The rush of power that directly follows the sending of an important email.
Suggested word: megalemailical

-The feeling of pathetic uncertainty after sending something through snail mail (as in, “Did I actually put the thing in the envelope?” or “Did I somehow manage to rip a page out of my 8th grade diary and shove it in there too?”).
Suggest word: poubt

-The wave of self-doubt and self-hatred you feel when you realize that you put too much stock in social media things (e.g. obsessing over status updates/tweets, “Oh my god, why didn’t he friend me?” etc.). N.B. The younger generation does not feel this feeling; it will die out with the Gen Yers.
Suggested word:  shamloss

-The shudder of happiness you feel when someone you don’t know very well, but whom you think is cool, says your first name for the first time.
Suggested word: namgasmic

-The fear that accompanies walking past a group of teenagers.
Suggested word: agifiated
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Scrabble Rabble

 

So, I’ve always considered myself kind of a wordie (like a foodie, but with words. Also, I’m a foodie, but I mostly just say that to justify my binges). I like learning new words. I like etymology. I like learning about morphemes and phonemes. My favorite paper I ever wrote was about language’s loss of meaning in post-modern literature. Blah blah blah smart people things blah.*

SO WHY IS IT THAT I SUCK SO HARD-CORE AT SCRABBLE?!

The Holy Grail

I’ve grown attached to the iPhone app “Words with Friends,” and I am getting SCHOOLED by several different people. Constantly. Constant schooling. Where are you going, Lisa? Oh, I’m going to SCHOOL, but not alone; someone’s TAKING ME TO SCHOOL.

Words are supposed to be MY thing, so why am I being crushed by my engineer and math-minded sister? It’s untoward, I tells ya!

The worst, though, is my coworker who destroys me be about 100 points every single time. I even had the Z and the Q last game. BOTH.

The third game we played was prefaced by a friendly, “I’m gonna give ya tips this time…” followed later by a “You’re getting better” with a little thumbs up emoticon. First of all, how do you make a thumbs up emoticon? Secondly, that makes me pride burn something fierce.

Now, logically I know that prowess at Scrabble really has nothing to do with your vocabulary, since a well-placed “za” can take you over the edge. Still, WHY CAN’T I BE GOOD AT ANYTHING?!

* I’m well aware that my writing doesn’t really reflect this, but I have been going through a period of intense dumbening (waaait, that’s not how you spell ‘dumbening.’ WAIT! Dumbening’s not even a word). I’m going to blame the Los Angeles smog for this, but in reality it’s probably some sort of metaphor-based defense mechanism to protect me from…life? Whatever. Shut up.


Them’s fighting words


For as much as I lament the loss of traditional English grammar and the rise of chat-speak in everyday conversation and writing, English as an ever-changing organism is just tops. Look how words can change meaning depending on context! Marvel at how words go in and out of vogue faster than skinny jeans! One of my favorite private hobbies is single-handedly trying to rescue a word from cultural obscurity by making it popular again. Right now I think I’m going to work on bringing “bodacious” back. Watch me fail spectacularly.

However, the best part about language is the capability to create neologisms, or new words. All you have to do is string some morphemes together, define it and suddenly the word becomes law. Sound familiar? That’s the same power God has. In the Bible. Did I just freak your mind? No?

When I was younger, my friends and I set out on an intellectual quest. We were going to create some new words, use them all the time, and get our whole group of friends to say them. We wanted to infiltrate the subconscious of our peers, and get them to speak the language that we invented. We figured we were using our power as clique leaders of the loser group for good rather than for evil, and this cause was right up there with helping the homeless. Two gems came out of this meeting of the minds:

Dubspew (v): to vomit in one’s mouth, swallow it, and vomit again. To be used when something is particularly distasteful. I totes dubspewed when I saw Tim groping Tonya.

Vipe (adj).: Pleasing or trendy. That new butterfly clip is so vipe, girl!

Our friends’ subconsciouses were stronger than we had anticipated; the words didn’t catch on (though my friends and I still use dubspew to a degree). But it was a noble effort for a linguistic takeover.

But we all make our own words all the time. No place is our neologism-making more prolific or creative than in the creation of swears and insults. I consider myself particularly adept at that, naturally. Just driving the other night, another car cut me off, and in my blinding rage, I screamed, “You fucking twatternacht!”

What’s a twatternacht? Nacht means “night” in German, and twat means “twat”. So “twat night”?” That means nothing. Etymology is a dead science where neologisms are concerned. Context is everything.

Nevertheless, I’ll tell you what twatternacht means:

Twatternacht (n.): A typical ignorant douchebag marked with aggressive assholeishness.  I can’t believe that twatternacht stole my cat!

Can also be used in the expletive. Oh, twatternacht! I left my keys in the ignition!

Yes, fake words like twatternacht remind me that language is just the coolest thing ever. No, I don’t regret majoring in English and Linguistics at all—it makes me be all meta with neologism-creation. So there.