As bloggers, we play with words. Some of them are more fun quirky than others. Here are a few of the interesting ways we use words.
The pond that separates us
Despite speaking the same language, there are a lot of differences between British-speak and American-speaking, with Canadian-speak thrown in there somewhere in between. Blogging has brought me into more regular contact with Brit-speak than ever before.
I always have to pause and think when I hear “half ten”. Is it 9:30 or 10:30? I know it’s 10:30, but I need an extra second to be sure about that.
I still haven’t gotten used to “GP’s surgery.” I know what it is, but it still doesn’t make sense. Unless they’re performing a surgery, why is it a surgery?
Speaking of healthcare, what on earth is with the nursing sister and matron job titles in the NHS? Most of the world is moving away from gendered job titles, but not the NHS! The term “modern matron” in particular seems like rather an oxymoron.
What’s up with the pronunciation of lieutenant and colonel? The American pronunciation is fine; it’s a reasonable anglicization of the French. But why in Canada and the UK are we throwing an “f” sound in there?
Then there are works and expressions I’ve learned from fellow bloggers across the pond. Ami of Undercover Superhero introduced me to the phrase “got on my tits,” which creates some interesting imagery. Rory of A Guy Called Bloke introduced me to cracking and, more recently, pootlings.
Words & phrases from TV
In my mind, Seinfeld will always be the best show to ever be on TV. Aside from that, though, it’s contributed many sayings that are still well recognized, including soup Nazi, low talker, shrinkage, anti-dentite, and not that there’s anything wrong with that.
And chances are the word “pivot” will forever be pronounced in your head the way Ross shouted it in an episode of Friends.
Me or her?
Some people like to refer to themselves in the third person. I find it rather strange, but that’s just me. I used to work with someone who did this frequently. His girlfriend also worked with us, and she said she tried to break him of the habit, but she had no success.
The versatility of swear words
Talking about emotions coming and going, Paula of Light Motifs II said “Sometimes it’s a long-ass train.” In general, swear words can be added on to either the beginner or end of most words to add a nice bit of emphasis. A long train is just so much less interesting than a long-ass train or a long as fuck train.
A few assorted others
Some people say “I’m on my period,” but I’ve always said “I have my period.” I’ve tried to look up this difference, because I’m curious that way, but I haven’t figured out if it’s a regional thing, something else, or just random.
Goof is an insult that has Canadian significance. It’s prison slang for child molester, and it’s considered one of the worst things you can call someone.
Canada has some quirky regional terminology for men’s underwear. Gotch and gitch are used in central Canada, and gonch and ginch are used in western Canada. My dad is from central Canada, so I grew up in a gotch household. I despise the word almost as much as I despise the word panties.
I’m not that big a fan of Batman, but there are some gems from the Adam West era, such as “Holy purple cannibals, Batman” (and yes, that’s a real example). I was particularly taken by this about 20 years ago, but rather than being creative enough to come up with the word(s) in the middle of that sentence, I just shortened it to “holy Batman!”
I’ve gone through assorted other idiosyncratic phrases over the years. A current one is “grates my rutabagas” (annoys me). Perhaps it stems from my brother’s prolific creation of his own words when he was a kid.
Do you have any personal favourite odd or interesting expression?