Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sounds rude doesn't it?

I speak of the word ablaut, a recent Word o the day that caught my attention. Of course, when I say it sounds rude, I don't mean it sounds rude in the sense that it "sounds rude", I mean that it sounds rude to me (to whom almost everything sounds rude) particularly, and even more so when coupled with it's meaning, which is "vowel change".

you know, it sounds sorta like... oh nevermind..

The more detailed meaning is:

the systematic substitution of one root vowel sound for another in different inflectional forms or derivatives of a word, as in ring, rang, rung
so there you go. It's the kind of word I'd like to be clever enough to use in regular conversation, but I'm afraid I'm not.

Another word I really love, and I love in the sense that I fucking hate, is "literally". The word itself is inoffensive, but the problem is the way it's used, but strangely enough it never really hit me why it bothered me so much, I always thought it was just that it's so overused, but I realized now that it's because it's mostly used incorrectly, "I literally died", "I've seen it literally millions of times", "the sea literally sang to me" etc etc etc.. Imagine that! All this time I've been oblivious to a major kind of inappropriate word usage... of course, I must have always been subconsciously aware of it, I was just protecting myself from the true extent of the horror... if I hadn't blocked it out I'd have been forced to realize that the person in front of me hadn't died, etc because it was either impossible or extremely unlikely and GODDAMMIT IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE USED TO EMPHASISE YOUR POINT and gotten quite peeved.. grrrr.. it literally makes my blood boil.

Ok no, I don't mean that in the sense of it's actual meaning.. ie what really occurred. Actually it's not even true if you take into account I'm using the word "literally" in the common incorrect way, which would make the meaning really "really" angry. The meaning of that sentence can be understood if you know I'm using that word in the common incorrect usage and heavily exaggerating all of it.

Ok, let's say some of the time I hear it (the word "literally" use incorrectly) I don't even notice. Some of the time I hear it get mildly annoyed, out of some of those times I get slightly more than mildly annoyed. Some of the times I'm amused, and out of those times some of those times I'm inspired to write something about it, and out of those times, some of them.. at least one, I put it on my blog.

And that's it. Literally. If I was a kiwi I would say it more like "luterally" depending on how you read those vowels. Of course if you're from New Zealand and reading this, it sounds more like "literally".

I'm not sure if that was an ablaut or not.. was ablaut, if I just ablauted, I just did an ablaut. Whatever.

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