Buckminster Skeeter: Wanna buy a watch?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


For some reason I've been noticing certain words lately - the ones which describe objects or things but also are used as adjectives or verbs attributed to the very thing with which they share the name. Like an orange(the fruit) is orange(the color). I start wondering which was named first. Rain is water falling and when it falls it rains. The noun and verb are the same - this holds true for all precipitation: sleet, snow and hail. Seems strange. You drink a drink but you don't eat eats. You can drink water. You can also water with water. But you can't 'any other liquid' with many 'any other liquids'. You can grease with grease but it's not really a liquid, or is it? I fish for fish a lot but I can also fish for shark. I hammer with a hammer, saw with a saw, vacuum with a vacuum, and chisel with a chisel. Seems like a lot of tools share the noun verb relationship. At some point they (?) decided it was easier just to stick and 'er' on the end of a verb to describe the noun: compute-computer, grind-grinder, mow-mower, pressure wash-pressure washer, etc... I can hike (verb) or go on a hike(noun), camp in a camp, bike on a bike, skateboard on a skateboard, or skate on a skate (2 actually, maybe that doesn't count). I cannot guitar my guitar but I can drum on a drum. I couldn't pencil with a pencil so I decided to pen with a pen.

The non-uniformity of the English language gives me a headache. It's amazing that foreigners can pick up on it. Most languages, at least the romance languages, have simple rules for conjugating verbs and rarely, if ever, does a verb and a noun share the same word. Did English evolve from lazy wordsmiths?

To make matters worse we tend to verbalize nouns. This is a peeve of mine and I refuse to employ this kind of language. I will never summer at the beach, boat on a sunny afternoon, or dialogue with my colleagues.

Then again it may be fun and slightly irritating to my peers if I over do it a bit. Tomorrow I will do my best to only use nouns to describe actions. Perhaps I will newspaper while comoding, car over to Applebees and food, chair in my office and paperwork until I conference room with my staff. I will tell them to job better and try to paycheck them accordingly. If they don't like it they can lips my ass. If it's not to hot when I home I may grass. My wife will dinner then we will bathtub that kids, mattress them, then television for a few hours.

Why not? People get away with all kinds of bullshit language - but people usually see it as being unique rather than annoying. Bling Bling, blah blah, make up your own definitions and people may just start emulating you. Especially if your on Mtv. Or in the corporate environment. They make up shit all the time to make things sound more important or to shroud the truth of incompetence and failure.


Blogger Dr. Metal said...

Brilliant. And welcome back.

I think you'd like what is called the "heterological paradox" (aka Grelling's paradox). It has to do with heterological words. A homological word is a word that refers to itself. So 'polysyllabic' is homological while 'monosyllabic' is not. 'Grandiloquent' is homological but 'unicorn' is not. You get the idea. Well, paradox has to do with the word 'heterological'. Is *it* heterological? It is if and only if it isn't. Because if it isn't heterological then it doesn't refer to itself. But then it's homological because it does. But then it's not so it is. You get the idea. What we can do with words.

8:41 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

I really, really want to say something clever and witty here, but absolutely cannot. The reason? I have been laughing all morning thinking of your carefully chosen words in writing "mattress" the kids. You were going to put bed the kids initially, weren't you, but that sounded so horrible - even for you. I'm dying here. You're killing me. I'm positive now: you are the funniest person I know. Congratulations.

7:37 AM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Oh, I forgot to mention my thoughts on Grelling's paradox. I'm not sure if I can accept that all adjectives must be either homological or heterological, just based on the fact that the words are opposites. That's confining, and I've never been real big on confinement of any kind. Also, some adjectives can be relative. In my reading about this the word short is used often to describe a homological/autological word. But the word short contains five letters. There are many words in our language that are shorter than the word short. So, is it really auotological? My opinion is no. Yours may be yes.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Buckminster Skeeter said...

You are correct - I almost put 'bed' but I figured not only did it sound bad but I may pop up on an FBI screen somewhere if I used it.

I love a good paradox.

11:20 AM  
Blogger mugwump said...

The omnipotence paradox is a good one.

12:31 PM  

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