February 15, 2012

Word To Your Mother

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:

What words do you absolutely hate? Which do you adore?

When I read this topic I couldn't help laughing because on Monday I already started jotting down notes for a post on this very thing. How timely, weird, and bizarro is that? My post was more focused on words that are kind of ruined for me because they'll be forever linked to something else, but close enough. So I've decided to morph the two topics being that they're so close.

Words that make me cringe
  • Anything with the root 'rect' in it. I'm pretty sure I don't even need to explain why.
  • Most of the proper scientific names for male and female reproductive 'bits' (*shudder*).
  • All of the extremely vulgar slang words for the above mentioned naughty bits and bobs.
  • Words that can have an alternate, slightly dirtier meaning (Example: That grody word that starts with 'e' and means to 'blurt out suddenly'...and something else). Here's a hint, if it comes up in the Urban Dictionary as something else, maybe just avoid it.
  • Words that are either pronounced wrong or just wrong altogether. Example: 'realtor' pronounced real-i-ter, 'irregardless' (not a word), 'misunderestimated', 'library' said like lib-ary, and so on. Also, expressions that are way off like "Blessing in the skies" O_o
  • The word 'impossibly', overused to the max in YA fiction. "His eyes were impossibly blue." OR "You're impossibly fast. And strong. Your skin is pale white..." Enough of that. Each and every time I see this cop-out word scattered like shrapnel through YA books in particular (though adult fiction is certainly not innocent), I die a little inside.
  • Any and all words intended to wound or that are thrown about carelessly--racial slurs, labels, religious cuss words, profanity without any regard to audience or context.
  
Words that will forever be linked to something else (in my head)
I like to think I'm the perfect human example of classical conditioning à la Pavlov's slobbering dog. All of the following words when heard will almost certainly evoke a reaction or a song out of me.
  
A while: Think Twilight movie and the whole "How long have you been seventeen?" and Sparkle Dude's reply, "A while". Any and all conversations with my sister are put on pause mid-sentence when this word crops up until one of us says "a while" all breathy-like. It's kind of an inside joke....

Modern: This one requires reaching far back into the ole memory bank, back when Kidman and Cruise were still an item. The movie Far & Away was a personal fave, but one scene in particular stands out in my mind--where Shannon (Kidman) is bouncing up and down drunk, plunking away on the piano, and claiming that she's "modern" (for playing band music instead of classical). You say 'modern' and I instantly have Camptown Races playing all frenetic and old-timey in my head.

Umbrella: ♫ Ella ella, ay ay ay ♫  No futher explanation required (thanks for that, Rihanna).

Vertigo: Hello? Hello?  Two little characters can be blamed for this--U and 2. Enough said.

Trifle: Remember this? "It’s a trifle. It’s got all of these layers. First there’s a layer of ladyfingers, then a layer of jam, then custard, which I made from scratch, then raspberries, more ladyfingers, then beef sautéed with peas and onions, then a little more custard, and then bananas, and then I just put some whipped cream on top!" I can't hear or read 'trifle' or look at a trifle dish without this popping into my head and then I get the giggles. Guys, there is a Friends episode for everything.

There are definitely others, but I'll stop there so as not to completely bore the heck out of you.

Kudos to Hans Zimmer for calling the
 first track of the score "Discombobulate'
(Here's Discombobulate on YouTube)
Words that I kinda like
  • fortuitous
  • malarkey
  • relish
  • plebiscite
  • ephemeral
  • idiosyncrasy
  • perpendicular
  • discombobulated
  • luminescence
  • factotum
  • oscillate
  • ambrosia
  • archipelago 
  • erudite (now that I know how to pronounce it correctly)*
  • any and all French words 'borrowed' in the English language and pronounced correctly (ie. the word 'foyer' is pronounced foy-ay and not phonetically)
  • denouement (see bullet just above)
  • doppelgänger (though The Vampire Diaries kind of needs to be cut off for overusage)

There are just far too many cool words to list here. Don't you love expanding your vocabulary? I do. I guess that makes me a bit of a logophile even if I don't always work them into conversation or into my writing. I suppose there are far worse 'philes' out there. Like *gasp* Bibliophiles *gasp*.

Are there any words that make you squirrelly? What about words that make you smile?

P. S. For a really tasty-sounding low-fat banana trifle recipe that isn't made with sautéed beef, peas, and onions, check out Katy Upperman's post today.
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*Fact: I read Divergent by Veronica Roth in its entirety mispronouncing this word in my head. When I listened to the actual pronunciation online, I was shamazed at how different it was.

40 comments:

  1. Haha I always do that with umbrella and trifle too!

    Now that you've said it, there are a lot of words that reminds me of things. Like if anyone says twilight I'm always going to think of the sparkle clan now. Discombobulated reminds me of high school when me and my friends first learnt that word and giggled over how silly it sounded. We ended up overusing that word.

    Same with moose. That's always going to remind me of an argument between my friends that went on and on for a few years. One friend thought the plural of moose was meece, another thought moosi, and another believed it was mice. It was quite cringe-worthy to listen to.

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    1. There will always be words and expressions that are a direct link in my head to songs. I had to ride the bus to and from a teaching job one year, and every time we passed 'T&T Supermarket' (an Asian foods superstore). Each and every time we passed that thing, I got AC/DC's T.N.T. song stuck in my head. I swear that thing played on a loop every day for an entire school year just because of that daily bus ride.

      As for the 'moose' thing--doesn't it stand to reason that if the plural of 'goose' is 'geese' then shouldn't the plural of 'moose' be 'meese'? English makes no sense whatsoever. :-)

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  2. doppelgänger (though The Vampire Diaries kind of needs to be cut off for overusage) << HAHA, so true!
    Damn, girl, fun post! You made me laugh a lot ;)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana :-) Words are just kind of funny, aren't they?

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  3. Malarkey is one of my favourite words ^_^

    There is a Friends episodes for everything. My friends and I love to shout "PIVOT!" at each other whenever something is being carried :P

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    1. 'Marlarkey' just sounds so Irish to me :-) All of this Friends talk is making me want to sit down and watch some. May have to do that later as a treat for actually getting some writing done.

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  4. This is such a fascinating post! Words are such wonderful things, aren't they? 'Reverie' has to be my favourite!


    Stephanie

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    1. 'Reverie' is a really good word. I especially like words that roll of the tongue with little effort--'reverie' is one of those words :-)

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  5. This is a great post Jaime :D The Friends episode = classic!
    I had to smile at the mention of the French words borrowed by the English language...I can always come up with new words. Hubby tells me: you´re just twisting a French word trying to make it sound English...well they usually are in the dictionary! So yay for my French expanding my English vocabulary :D
    Oh and your Twilight inside joke with your sis: priceless (I do have to admit that I read all books ;-))

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    1. Around these parts we call morphing English and French words 'franglais' or 'frenglish' :-) French is just such a beautiful language. As is German when represented properly. Every movie I've ever seen with German spoken in it uses all of the hard-sounding words and makes them sound worse (ie. 'schnell' and 'achtung'). I lived in Germany for 6 months and picked up some of the language. I was surprised by how much I liked it. Incidentally, Germans are totally guilty of stacking words together into one great big crazy word :-) Makes me laugh.

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    2. I think the German language is also quite beautiful - even with their long words :D but I may be bias.

      Another language I find gorgeous is Russian...I love it when my hubby starts speaking it with his mom :D

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  6. LOL! This is one of my fav topics of conversation ;) The other day we were chatting about this on twitter--I've got a couple of girlfriends that hate the word "Moist" ... It doesn't bother me. But I don't like the words "uttered" and "interjected" ... those tags always bug me ;)

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    1. That's too funny. 'Moist' came up on quite a few RTW lists today :-) I have to say it kind of grosses me out too. 'Uttered' is one of those words that makes me think of something else, in this case a cow 'udder'. 'Interjected' just sounds too clunky and formal to me. I like to stick to the less distracting dialogue tags or just avoid them altogether when I can :-)

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  7. I have heard people make much of the US vs. UK pronunciation of the element Al. The fact is, they are spelled differently. In the US it's "aluminum," and in the UK there is actually an extra "i": "aluminium." Anyway... I completely understand your "cringe" words. And I, too, prefer French-derivative words to retain some semblance of their original pronunciation. Unfortunately, if you say words like denouement, or foyer properly, people might think you're being pretentious or snobby. *Sigh!* The cost of trying to get it right. :)

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    1. Okay that's totally weird. I just typed 'aluminum' into this reply and got the red underline, so on a whim I added the extra 'u' and the line went away. Bizarro! I think Blogger's gone British :-) It also stopped underlining 'favourite' with a 'u' awhile ago. Hmmm...

      As for the French pronunciation thing: I say it as close as possible to the original without throwing on an accent. It drives me bonkers when people are speaking English and a French word comes up so they pronounce it with an accent. Mid-sentence! That sounds pretentious to me :-)

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  8. Ha! I was smiling this morning when I read this. So serendipitous that we both mentioned trifles (of all things!) in our posts today. Thanks for the mention. I edited my post to link back to yours as well. :)

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    1. It was just too serendipitous (great word, by the way) to not comment on it :-) Thank you too for the mention!

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  9. Shamazed! I LOVE that! Also, I couldn't stop laughing when I read your comment about the blessing in the skies on my post. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :)

    Twilight: My husband and I often say, "You can google it" and "It's just a STORY" with Twilight-like inflections.

    Vertigo -- one of my least favorite words, unfortunately, mainly because I have it. I can say, "uno, dos, tres, catorce" when I'm not feeling well and my family knows to stay clear. :(

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    1. Welcome, new blogger friend! (*waves*) I've heard a ton of expressions or words totally messed up (some more common than others): Old-timer's disease, carpool tunnel syndrome, doggy dog world, for all intensive purposes, expresso (espresso), nucular (nuclear), foilage (foliage), and the always stupid-sounding 'supposably'. Awesome.

      Also, glad I'm not the only one who rips off phrases from Twilight and uses them mockingly in real life :-)

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    2. OMG. These three made me laugh: "Old-timer's disease, carpool tunnel syndrome, doggy dog world"

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  10. Excellent post! :) I love the way words can automatically invoke a movie or a song or a memory. I think the first TWILIGHT movie, especially, is chock full of hilariously awkward quotes.

    But I have to say, I am the opposite of this: "Most of the proper scientific names for male and female reproductive 'bits' (*shudder*)." I LOVE to use the scientific names because it totally throws people off and it always makes things at least ten times funnier.

    And on that note, does it ruin factotum when you think of the very obvious rhyming word in the male anatomy?

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    1. I had to stop and think for minute what male body part rhymes with 'factotum'. Duh! (*face palms*) And now I'm giggling uncontrollably. Now I won't be able to hear 'factotum' without immediately thinking 'scr****'. Too funny :-)

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    1. I used to brutalize the pronunciation of this word in my head because I'd never heard it said aloud. I'm kind of embarrassed now about it :-)

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  12. That's funny because my sister and I can't say the word 'inconceivable' without busting out laughing (The Princess Bride.)

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    1. Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about that one :-) "I do not think it means what you think it means." Classic! That one should be added to my list of words connected to something else.

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  13. I knew exactly what you were getting at when I read "a while" and "trifle" :)

    And the e word that ends with late? Yeah, I hate that one, too. When JK Rowling had Ron do this (uh, the blurt-out-suddenly version), I cringed and completely got the wrong picture of our dear ginger friend in my head. Sigh.

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    1. Okay, I totally just lol'd at this: "...got the wrong picture of our dear ginger friend". Bahaha! Too true :-)

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  14. This is a really thorough post on this! I haven't had time to really think through today's RTW, so I'll probably be back next week :)

    Although I laugh that you like relish...because it makes me think of hot dogs.

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    1. I got a little carried away....:D As for the relish thing, I don't actually eat relish, I just like the way the words sounds.

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  15. I LOVE the word doppelganger! And I really enjoyed the phrases or words from books that you don't care for, especially "a while" :) Great post!

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    1. This post was just way too much fun to do and I got seriously carried away (and could have kept going lol) :D Doppelganger has always kind of made me laugh.

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  16. What a great post! You touched on most of my shudder words, and you had some phenomenal 'likes!'

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    1. Thanks, Laurie :) I noticed similarities too when I visited your blog (great minds think alike).

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  17. I forgot all about discombobulated! I use that ALL the time! This was such a delightful post. I love how you connect certain words with memories, haha! I can't say that I do that, but I may not be thinking hard enough. :)

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  18. Schadenfreude is one of my faves! Love discombobulated, too.
    I mispronounce a lot of words--there's a fun book on that, THERE IS NO ZOO IN ZOOLOGY.

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  19. Love your "a while" inside joke.

    And I like luminescence too.

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  20. "sparkle dude"--heh heh! Okay my head hurts from that list of words! :P

    I do like archipelago !

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  21. Excellent word choices! I love luminescence and erudite (that one will forever make me think Divergent).

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  22. I love your love/hate relationship with words. It reminds me of me. I am sick of the word "absolutely" used all the time now for "yes." Here are some other word observations: http://daisybrain.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/curious-thoughts-and-observations/

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