Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Each morning before work, I have this little routine that I go through. I come here, FunnyOldWorld, and check for any new comments and follow links to other blogs to comment on. Then, most mornings, I also check my Facebook profile to see if anybody loves me. I have come to think of this routine as Funnybooking. It's a little bit German: taking two words and cramming them together to make one word describing the combination of the original two things! But I realise it's also human nature. Language is dynamic, we create new words all the time. People under the age of 15 may find it hard to believe that "internet" is quite a new word. Most people probably don't know that "ether" was a word which, a few hundred years ago, described the invisible medium through which light, heat, and electromagnetic waves were believed to travel. Of course, that theory was debunked, but today we have ethernet cables through which information is believed to travel!

My dad is a whizz at making up words. One I will never forget is "skillydappling". This described our labrador in the act of running through a puddle flicking up droplets with her paws and nose.

Then we have our good friend Donn, or HomoEscapeons, who has made an artform out of adapting words to his unique purposes and thought processes. ZimBOBway is a recent example from his blog.

Whilst these two examples are unlikely ever to make it into any official dictionary, they are wonderfully demonstrative of the inventiveness and adaptability of the human brain.

Some examples that did make it into a dictionary (of sorts) are those by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. As they state in their introduction to The Meaning Of Liff: "
In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist. On the other hand, the world is littererd with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places. Our job, as wee see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society."

We have mother's day, father's day, Christmas, Easter, World Youth Day, and countless other celebrations of mundane things and people. I hereby create Word Day. Today, Wednesday 2nd July, is a day for the creation of new words and the celebration of old ones. I want comments: What are your favourite words? Have you made up any new ones? These can be in any language (even Tolkein's Elvish if you like!), from any time or place, especially the ones within your head. Bring it on!


Andrew said...

The second most wonderful word in the dictionary is Zzxjoanw.

It is in the Music Lovers Dictionary.

Zzxjoanw - I always thought that it was a Maori drum and once put it down in scrabble. (Thats what MLD says) Grandmother threw a fit so I put down something else instead (probably ox) and just credited myself with the correct number of points. Please note that for the second Z I used a blank.

However the word is actually a hoax - it certainly fooled me! (and a lot of other people too)

Translations of Maori words only have the letters AEGHIKMNOPRTUW and always end in a vowel. - Wikipeadia has a nice entry on it.

Howevermore, my bestest word is a chess term and I have a dictionary at home which explains it in the most lovely fashion.

I will return...

Cazzie!!! said...

my favourite words, and I think I know why, have always been "because" and "friend". My favourite teacher in Grade 3 taight me how to spell because, it was a challenge for me, for what reason, I cannot tell. But, when I conquered the spelling of it, I never looked back. The spelling of the word friend was also difficult, until my teacher gave me a ditty...
"fry your FRIend before the END" and so, with that, I never get it wrong.
At work, I have to spell so mny medical terms and some of them are quite difficult to remember...and well, the most common one that most nurses, and even doctors have difficulty with is diarrhoea..see, it still doesn't look right to me!! Maybe it isn't right, LOL. We always consult each other, "quick, tell me the spelling of this..and well it is important to get it right..right?

Words, in high school we had "gas", "furgurger"(no idea what we said that for), "ace", "groovy", "farout" and "dyno-mite!" LOL. Crazy 80's stuff I think. I am the worst abuser of the word "Grouse". I was wrapped to find a place in Barwon Heads last time I went through there called "Grouse Cafe". Not only is it a cafe it also is a place for people to sell their art works..including surf boards that are painted really..umm...grouse!!

Moonroot said...

I love the German words 'Bustenhalter' (bra) and 'Dudelsac' (vacuum cleaner), because they make me laugh (not sure if I spelled them correctly though).
But my new favourite word just has to be 'Skillydappling' - just fabulous!

Menchie said...

for the life of me, i can't think of any new words. my brain is mush cause it's Friday. :D

Moonroot said...

Actually just remembered dudelsac is bagpipes - but because the name made us laugh, our family always called the vaccum cleaner the dudelsac. Just goes to prove your point about language being changeable/inventive I suppose!

Stace said...

Andrew - hoax or not, it's an awesome word. How do you remember how to spell it?!

Cazzie - I always had trouble with "friend" as a kid. I mean the spelling. Although the concept is a tough one too!!

Moonroot - dudelsac is cool, I can imagine kids giggling at that one :)

Menchie - it's not Friday anymore, come on! :)