Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"I have a woeful feeling, as if the double O of doom were sticking in my throat."

From the ongoing discussion about Big Words (of course some people would call it just blog chatter, since we're all supposed to be non-professionals not entitled to consider these things):

The Deputy Headmistress weighs in again on all of this, and mentions a high-ranking clergyman who says (in big words) that he would like to simplify church language for the rest of us.

"Why is he allowed words the rest of us aren't? Is it because they taste yucky, so we won't like them anyway?"

Ah! I love it, it makes so much sense. Not that any of us believe in a conspiracy to limit our language or turn us all into Alphas, Betas...Epsilons...

The DHM's reference to "yucky" refers to a motherly deception she once tried to keep one of her offspring from asking for the pop she was drinking. (She is very, very sorry now and will never do it again.) It reminds me of some friends of ours who used to give their toddler plain yogurt while they were eating ice cream. It worked--until he got old enough to notice that there was a difference! (And it NEVER worked when the younger ones came along.)

And goodness knows I do like yogurt myself--I have some yogging on the heating pad as we speak. But speaking strictly in terms of "something somebody else has that's better than what you've been given"--is it possible that we've been gradually slipped more and more yogurt in place of the Vanilla Chocolate Chip that might give us ideas about Mocha Almond Fudge or even White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle?

Like our toddler friend (who's now an almost Goliath-sized teenager), demand your semantic rights as loudly as you can, and be a voice for the vocabulary-impaired.
"Black showed his teeth and made a restless gesture. 'Taking a single letter from the alphabet,' he said, 'should make life simpler.'

"'I don't see why. Take the F from life and you have lie. It's adding a letter to simple that makes it simpler. Taking a letter from hoarder makes it harder.'"--James Thurber, The Wonderful O


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I love that Thurber book. It's fantastic.

And I guess it woudl be too embarrassing to mention that the same child who was told that Coke was yukky also thought that fried okra was cookies.
And she believed that green peas were candy.

And no, it never worked with any of the younger children.

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

"Not that any of us believe in a conspiracy to limit our language or turn us all into Alphas, Betas...Epsilons..."

Actually, maybe there is a conspiracy. I wouldn't doubt it, especially after reading Gatto's book.

We used to call all vegetables "yummy" and it worked quite nicely. I have the only kids I know who ask for Brussel sprouts at the store.

Sarah said...

I've linked to my blog, Mama Squirrel.

Thank you for mentioning the book; I've not read it. Yet.

Javamom said...

Ah! I love The Wonderful O.

Hubby (the head of the English Dept. at his school) read this aloud to each other from time to time.

Javamom said...

make that *Hubby and I...