Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Language Arts

The Miracle of Language book mentioned redundant words and the growth of a language.
I think that some of the redundant words he mentioned have changed their meaning so they would not sound correct without the second, technically redundant, word.
Also, there are some words that seem to come into existence as a family joke, but then you can notice that other people use the same word, or mispronunciation of a store. My father, for example, calls Target "tar-jay (soft 'j')" as if it was French. And when I was at one of my friends' house, I heard her father call it the same thing. It was weird.
Also, there are some words that become widely used and then pretty much disappear. I have a dictionary that states that "absquatulate" is slang.
Today I was chatting with my mum and the Mr.Dolan and I called somebody a slacker and he commented how that's such an old word that he hasn't heard for thirty years.
Did anybody else notice anything/ have any comments on this book?

-And if you're wondering, absquatulate is slang. It means "to make off, decamp, or abscond." It's just from the 1830s.


Me, Myself, and I said...

*One redundancy that a lot of people do is "ATM machine"... "automatic teller machine machine"...

martitr said...

I've heard the Tar' jay thing as well. And my uncle used to call JCPenney Jacques Pen ne' in the same manner. I've heard ATM both ways but it's definitely redundant with the "machine" tagged at the end. The Target example is a good one because it demonstrates how slang and popular usage can often determine received usage over a long period of time. Not the Target would ever become standard. I think that is what it is -- a slang play on words. A more standardized example would be the acceptance of prepositions at the end of a sentence where the proper pronoun sounds awkward or too formal. There are probably better examples and I can see the grammar police heading my way now but standard usage is not always as standard as we think it is!