September 30, 2003

Making It Up As We Go: Language

Conglubrious: adj__ meaning: people getting together talking and having a good time.

Nope. You won't find it in the American Standard Dictionary. Or any other dictionary for that matter. Our son made it up, incorporated it into a high school essay, and almost got away with it. On the final revision, his teacher caught his creative impulse to forge new words. I think she actually marked his grade up for his brazen attempt to smuggle a new word of his own into the language.

Here's a veritable compendium of English words that once were in the King's English (some only for a very brief span) but now are found nowhere else on the internet but here, in the Compendium of Lost Words.

But backing up even farther in our utterances, peruse this brief account of the long evolutionary origins of modern language-- ours and the rest of the worlds'-- and their common ancestry from "Indo-European" roots thousands of years ago. Fascinating. Don't you think?

Posted by fred1st at September 30, 2003 05:32 AM | TrackBack

On the subject of language have you looked at Word Pirates or at this (from Butterflies and Wheels?)

Posted by: Ian at September 30, 2003 05:46 AM

Yes, it's a fast, irreverent, fun summary. "...the ice age squoze them out of the main part of Europe ..."

Sqoze as in squeeze/froze, I guess?

Posted by: Lin at September 30, 2003 07:30 AM

My husband has a hearing problem from shooting too many guns back in the days when hearing protection was only for the testosterone-challenged. He is an accomplished wordsmith and the best story teller I know. So when he doesn't hear something, the words he uses to fill in the blanks are usually better than the original. When we order a pizza he asks for some of that "sports car" cheese. What? Mazzerati, of course.

Posted by: Beth at September 30, 2003 07:45 AM

My wife uses 'squoze' as a normal construction - I suspect it has its roots in Elizabethan english - from which effectively much US usage of English has developed.

Two good print books are

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English
David Crystal
ISBN 0521424437

The Story of English
Robert McCrum, William Cran, Robert McNeil
ISBN 0574467780

Posted by: Ian at September 30, 2003 08:01 AM

As children my best friend and I often crafted our own words or twisted what we could into a private shorthand that 55 yrs later we still use to the puzzlement of others. "Obstacle Delusion" or "Suede and Deboner" tumbles out if I'm not very careful.

As Fred posted ages ago...we created a shorthand from experiences that strengthens our familial and friendship bonds. Pop culture and mass marketing aside, I think much of our slang comes from such initmate sources.

When I brought the current youngest cat, Zoe, home from the local shelter last August she immediately presented with FIE and was deathly ill for a long hot weekend. Our vet sent me home with meds ...but didn't tell me she had only a 10% chance of survival that weekend. I pushed liquids every hour for three long days and the little creature hung in there...she survived and florished.

So where the heck am I going with this story in the thread?

When I took her into the vet for her next checkup and final round of shots, he took one look at the sleek, shiny cat before him, flashed a big grin and said:

"Not bad for a dead cat."

So another private shorthand phrase entered our our maritial vocabulary.

Posted by: feste at September 30, 2003 06:46 PM

Hey folks i will keep this short and simple. Tonight we were playing a word scramble game as a group, and in the midst of telling a story i thru out the word "sqoze". I wasn't even aware that there was a discrepense on the word so i said it again when asked to repeat it. I am just glad to know that there are other people out there that back me on the validity of the word. haha rock on and thanks.

Posted by: Kenneth at July 6, 2004 11:30 PM

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