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WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?

I’m a word nerd. If you’re the same, you know what I mean.

The English language is an ever-evolving, living organism. Every day people are creating new words and usages for them. In fact, William Shakespeare coined many of the words we use today such as skim-milk, lonely, and bedazzled. One way he did this was by changing nouns into verbs and verbs into adjectives. Here’s an excellent example from Hamlet:

 

“And what so poor a man as Hamlet is

May do, to express his love and friending to you." Yep. He was using it long before Facebook came along.

 

You’ve probably heard that Eskimos have about 47 different words for snow with different meanings whereas in English we only have one. If you’re interested, read more about it here:  Inuit Words for Snow.

 

Last year I fell in love with a great book called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, who creates new words for which we have no words in English. I opened the book randomly and this is what I saw:

 

xeno (n)

 

The smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers - a warm smile, a sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidence - moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone.

 

Now, I ask you, is that not fabulous??!! 

 

Whenever I hear a quotation, phrase or word that I like, I write it down in a book. I believe I’ve mentioned in an earlier newsletter that my nephew used to call my hearing aids, “listening ears.” He also corrected me the next time I saw him when he said there was no such thing as “listening ears.” Oh, come on! Little stinker.

 

Recently, I’ve added two more words to my list. At a neighbor's get-together, there was a three-year old girl who had begun to learn words like, everybody, nobody, anybody - so it was only natural for her to use this new grammar concept when she asked, “Whobody moved the car?” Whobody! I loved it!

 

The other word was from one of Sebastian Maniscalco's comedy shows on Netflix. He said he called selfies "lonelies." I laughed out loud at that, but it got me thinking. Now I have nothing against selfies per-se when used to mark special occasions, trips, new profile photos, that sort of thing, but if you’re going to post daily selfies (I mean lonelies) of yourself in your car from different angles to garner compliments like, “You’re so beautiful!” that’s where I hit the “unfriend” button. Thank you, Facebook.

 

When you think about it. social media can also be unsocial media.  You’ve got so many friends on Facebook, but how many flesh and blood friends do you have in reality? Facebook makes you feel connected to others, but unless you have real contact with people in life, you’re not really so connected. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends from long ago or who live in different states/countries for example. But for the love of all that's good, stop with all the selfies


So to conclude my rather wordy newsletter, I’ll henceforth be incorporating whobody and lonelies into my vocabulary. And I don’t care if Jack says they aren’t real, I’m going to call my hearing aids “listening ears.” So there, Mr. Smarty Pants! (God, I love that kid.)

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