Monthly Archives: October 2012

Word of the week, 31st October

I actually managed to use “meretricious” a little this week, mainly explaining its meaning, but it really is very satisfying to say.

This week’s word, paying some attention to Christmas *shudder* tradition, is:

Slubberdegullion

Slu-ber-dih-gull-ee-on; noun; A foul, villainous and worthless person.

It’s such a fantastic insult. Possibly formed from a mix of words from around Europe, this is in no way a compliment. It rings like a pantomime line, and it somehow both rolls and spits out of your mouth, making it especially satisfying to say. Not too harsh, but not too comical. Now go and do something productive, you slubbdegullions.

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Word of the week, 24th October

I failed in my attempt to us the word “pedagogy” as much as possible last week. Or maybe not, I mean, I didn’t really have any context in which to say it.

Anyway, the word for this week is:

Meretricious

Meh-reh-trih-shus; adjective; Seeming attractive but not really having much worth; Trying to allure through being vulgar.

The “tricious” part of this word is the most satisfying, I find. It’s like how swear words are often very relieving to say, you can sort of spit them out. This is a word I can imagine using more.

“This show is so amazing, look at all these people on holiday!”

“Yes, but’s it’s all a little meretricious, don’t you think?”

“Quite, particularly that man sunbathing nude.”

Hurrah for vocabulary expansion!

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“Bought” vs “brought”

This is really just a little something that I saw the other day that filled me with an unnecessary amount of discomfort. A friend said on a social networking site, “I thought I brought a long top from primark but it may be a dress….”

Now, some of you may think that that is correct, and it is only in one context; that she had brought the supposed top somewhere. So she was going to a party and brought her top, only to realise it was a dress. If, however, she meant that she bought the top from Primark (which she did in the actual context), then… well, she means she bought the top.

If you buy, you bought; if you bring, you brought.

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Word of the week, 17th October

This week’s wonderful word is:

Pedagogy

Ped-ah-goh-jee; noun; The function of a teacher: teaching.

A housemate said this word the other day and it rang beautifully in my ears. Good fun to say, and fun to slip into conversation, I imagine. I’m going to try using it as much as possible this week.

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Why do you hate being corrected?

Scrolling through Twitter earlier today, I noticed a fair few people showing disdain for those who correct their grammar and spelling; “its only twitter i dont have to type perfetly,” was among the horror I saw. Why? Why don’t you need to type perfectly? I can understand key slips, the odd space missed through a stiff space bar (though I always quickly scan what I write on social networks before posting; it’s no more than 140 characters, it doesn’t take long to read), but plain ignorance? It seems totally unnecessary.

So, these people that protest their free sub-editors; what is it that annoys them about being corrected? My initial idea is that it makes them feel stupid, and I can relate to this having a boyfriend that was home-schooled by reading non-stop (he read the whole series of Game of Thrones so far in two months), and who corrects my spelling frequently. I felt stupid at first, but soon realised I should take it not as an insult to my intelligence, but help so that I may not make the same mistake. I even ask him what words mean when I’m unsure now, because there is nothing weird about wanting to learn.

Why not learn?

This is something I have a great deal of discomfort with. In schools, or specifically English and American schools, there is an unwritten rule that if you are not naturally smart, you are a nerd to want to learn. And it’s not ’til you reach college/high school level that you start to realise that this may not be true, and begin trying to suck up all the information you can. But it is never too late or weird to learn things when you’ve left education. And obviously I’m talking about people my age, twenty-somethings that haven’t gone through life to learn that you are always learning.

I know people with dyslexia and other things that affect their reading and writing may protest that they cannot help their mistakes, in which case it is easier to simply tell the person correcting you “Oh, I didn’t realise. I have dyslexia, you see,” probably making them feel a bit guilty for correcting you in the first place. So is this why people don’t like being corrected?

Another potentiality someone pointed out to me is that it can come off as pretentious. I can somewhat understand where that feeling comes from, but surely the correction must first be faced with some hostility to come to the conclusion that the corrector is being pretentious. I suppose in some cases it can be incredibly condescending; think JK Rowling’s Harry Potter character Hermione Granger, “It’s ‘levi-O-sar’, not ‘levio-SAR’!”

Overall, I think most people who dislike their grammar being corrected have simply mistaken someone else’s care and appreciation for the English language for a chance to have a petty jab at them. Though I’m sure some people do it for this reason (shame on you all), I don’t believe people are out to make others feel bad. And now I’ve spent my one weekly optimism token. Damn.

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Word of the week, 9th October

This is the first of what I intend to be a weekly addition of posts about words that I like. Not necessarily words that I use very often (nor perhaps many other people do), but words that I like the sound of nevertheless (that’s one I do use regularly). I’ll even spell it out phonetically, and say a bit about why I like it and some background on the word itself.

To start off, the word of this week is:

Platypi

Pla-ti-pie; plural noun; plural of platypus, an egg-laying, web-footed, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, venomous mammal.

I love the word “platypi”, it sounds so much better than “platypuses”. I use it whenever the opportunity rarely comes along, and I don’t give a damn if platypus means “flat-footed” or “duck-like” and so “pus” does not become “pi”, it sounds better. What about “sheep”? They don’t even get a plural, they’re just always “sheep”.
Sadly, “platypi” doesn’t have a collective noun because apparently you don’t see platypi in groups and it’s not worth it. Phooey.

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“Xmas”

What better way to start off a subbing blog than a good moan? I don’t doubt that since last month, we’ve all seen that horrendous sign in supermarkets for the “Xmas” aisle. As a child, I always thought that the beginning of Christmas was December; that was when you started buying Christmas things, not as soon as the heating needed putting on at night. But along with the cynicism I’ve developed through simply getting older, “Xmas” really has started being forced on us earlier ever year. Now, some may say that the word “forced” is a little strong, and  to that I say, “Balderdash!”

In what world of commercial holidays does Christmas get advertised before Halloween?! And it’s worse in small supermarkets because you get that horrible cross-over in the one holiday aisle they have, causing must distress to shoppers like myself (see evidence below).

“It’s an outrage!”

This would all be just about bearable for me if we could only abolish the word “Xmas”. This abomination of abbreviation has always made me cringe at Christmas cards from friends and family that have the word “Xmas” anywhere on them, particularly if it’s in their writing. It reminds me of everything un-Christmas-y on Christmas. Children screaming because they got the wrong toy, mum fretting over dinner, dad breaking out that year’s Christmas drink of choice at 11am, all below a multi-coloured LED “Xmas” tree singing a JLS cover of “I wish it could be Christmas everyday” (I imagine they’ve actually released something like that by now).

I can’t say much on Christmas needing to be a religious affair anymore; I’m not Christian and yet for years I sang the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” solo for our dear landlady’s Boxing Day chapel service. But I still feel that the presents and the get-up shouldn’t be what it’s about. Some people love all of that, I’d much rather have a quiet day exchanging a few gifts to family, eating a nice meal together, and all snuggling down in the evening to watch a nice Christmas-y film like The Gruffalo (said my inner-child).

I’m only thankful that this holiday will be spent at neither mine or my boyfriend’s mothers’ houses. While it’s lovely having your family around at Christmas, we’ll be spending it primarily at our house with friends who couldn’t get home for Christmas, probably playing cheesy games and watching silly Christmas TV, under a correctly-decorated Christmas tree and sans JLS Christmas song covers.

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