Sunday, December 19, 2010

Anti-dis-in-no-nonsense

The evolution of language is mostly pretty cool.  Also, pretty cool is the English language.  I have a passing acquaintanceship with Italian (minimal), a forced working relationship with Latin (Try as I might, I couldn't get away from Latin.  I attended insane schools that insisted on Great Books curriculum, and Latin was a requirement to get through the core.  My interaction with Latin was like a co-worker you don't like but always get scheduled with and you don't realize you actually have begun to like until they quit the position), and also a wee bit of German (a pathetically wee bit.  I learned how to order food and ask for directions in German and that was it.  I relied very heavily on the panicked, flailing gestures and Deutsch-glish to get by...when my fluent friend was not nearby.)  Anyway, while the romance languages are incredibly musical and pretty, their regularity gets....boring.  English pretty much rocks because more often than not the words actually sound like what they describe, which is ever so much better, for poetry and musical lyrics and just making yourself generally understood.  It is a language of extreme onomatopoeia.  As is German, English's linguistic cousin.  For instance, merde could be anything really, whereas schei├če! most certainly sounds like a frustrated, but mild swear word with scatological roots.


Anyway, why am even talking about this?  I'm not really sure.  I haven't posted in a bit, and I thought I should do something, and I recently experienced a wordsmith revelation.  "Nonsense" is a cute word.  There are things that make sense, and there are things so ridiculous that they are a total absence of sense: nonsense.  What bothers me is the existence of the word no-nonsense.  A double negative that, if anything, obscures the actual meaning of the word and sounds very silly when you think about it.  No-nonsense basically means sensible, but the word is terribly gangly, and sounds made up when you say it 5 times.    


The motivation of this post is obscure even to me.  This weekend has been extremely successful in catching up on sleep and not much besides.  After a couple of beers, pondering in the corporate mire in which I spend my daily hours, this is what I came up with to discuss.  Cheers.                      

2 comments:

Black Mona said...

Oh, how Amo te. =)

But I will have to disagree with you over just one word in the English language that does not do justice to the concept behind it and that is "love". Especially today, where one word is dragged over various concepts to describe a variety of feelings ranging from a mild appreciation to an undying passion.

you lose, English, on "love".

But I liebe you a lot. =)

Newspaper Cut Outs said...

its really funny but my cousin is marry a guy who doesn't speak our native tongue. So my aunt was talking to all three of us(me,my cousin, and her fiance) and she was telling him something to do. He looked really confused and so my cousin was explaining that my aunt was speaking in our home language rather than english. she didn't even realize it at all. It was mighty funny to see her reaction after the realization. language is a really funny thing and so fascinating too. i wish my school offered science classes on the learning of languages. its a very interesting topic.