“You Ain’t S**t!”

I had a strange experience recently on, I believe, Facebook. It might have been Twitter, but I think it was Facebook. Having a cursory pass through my newsfeed, something caught my eye. It was a headline for a fairly typical slightly clickbaity article. It featured a young woman, presumably a model or actress, standing next to a billboard on which she featured. The headline was a quote from her, something like this:

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Don’t be such a…

You can imagine any word you like to finish that sentence. Personally, I’m thinking of a few different words. Words that all have two things in common: they can be used to insult a man, and refer to the male sexual organ (so be forewarned: if you’re sensitive to bad language, I’ll be swinging a lot of it round willy-nilly in the next few paragraphs).

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“They were trying to pull the sheep over our head, and something got lost in translation.”

It certainly did! This was overheard in passing recently, and I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t mean to mock, because I believe the individual who said this was under stress and therefore liable to make a slip. But it was funny. Ah, but I could see where they were coming from.

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The English Language and Social Class

I’ve still been thinking about common mispronunciations since Saturday. While doing a little casual googling to confirm what I suspected about which mispronunciations annoyed people, I came across a post which featured some of the more common language errors that bedevil Americans in particular. They were all there: supposably, libary, literally, irregardless, aks et al. And I can understand why they might be annoying. If you say one thing, and someone else says another, that’s annoying. Even more so if the dictionary agrees with you. Getting annoyed is ok, but are such errors really a sign of the death of the English language?

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Overpowered by Funk

Marge, when kids these days say “bad,” they mean “good.” And to “shake your booty” means to wiggle one’s butt. Permit me to demonstrate…  – Homer Simpson

What do you think of when you hear the word funk? Possibly music, with a particular catchy, sexy kind of grooviness. Or perhaps not necessarily music, but something else with a similar kind of cool. You might also be thinking of the 1970s at the same time, but funk of course is truly timeless.

You may, however, think of a smell. Not just any smell, but one so overpowering, so ripe, so pungent that it’s completely repulsive. Old blue cheese wrapped in a dirty sports sock on a hot summer day kind of repulsive. That could certainly be described as funky. But why would we use the same word for two such different things? Continue reading

Swag – Don’t it Make You Feel Old?

Do you have swag? Of course you do. You’re with it, you’re hip, you’re cool. You’re well aware that swag is the latest cool word among fashionable young people like yourself, and you know that it’s an uncountable noun that refers to a fashionable manner and accompanying manner. Unsurprisingly, it’s an abbreviation of swagger.

And do you know what? Swag makes me feel old. Continue reading