Friday, December 13, 2013

Warm Fuzzy Words

There's a quote that makes me giggle.

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary."
—James Nicoll, can.general, March 21, 1992

Thus it is that there's little point in wasting energy on loving or hating anything about words. The language is alive and changing on a daily basis. However, under duress (and with a deadline looming) I'll confess to a few mild preferences.

Words that give me warm fuzzies:
Words that aren't words.
Ain't - Not a true word, but it's so expressive and regional, it's a fine tool when applied judiciously.

Words that annoy others.
Whom - I not only like 'whom', I know when and how it ought to be used. It may be archaic, but damn it, I learned it. You can pry my 'with whom?' out of my cold dead hands. Along with my ale flagon. Related? Farther. It is still a word and it doesn't mean the same thing as further. People saying further when farther is what's meant - well, that belongs down in my 'nails on a chalkboard' list.

I'm currently enamored of a group of words from a class I'm taking:
Systems - you build these
Experiment - then you test your systems
Action - what your systems drive you to
Bonus word - Contingency - that which you have in plan in case your experiments prove your system doesn't work
(I like these words, because at the moment, these words and this class seem to be doing the job I hoped they would...)

Words that are nails on my personal chalkboard:
Words that aren't words. Never mind what I said above. There are few words that aren't words that WORK. Most don't. One of the words that drives me to the brink of murderous rage: Irregardless - doesn't exist. You mean regardless. Don't make me break out the pitchfork and torch.

Words that aren't used correctly - Inflammable. This word doesn't mean what lots of people think it means. It means easily burned - easy to light afire. My gnomish fire mage would be happy to prove your socks are inflammable.

My least favorite words ever? Words that take away.

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