Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2020

Archive for the category “Words”

It Either Is Or It Isn’t…Isn’t it?

I learned something new recently and while that isn’t Front Page News it does merit mention on these pages. What surprised me about this is that it had to do with the English language. I’m pretty good with my native language but this was something completely new to me.

I’m talking about: CONTRONYMS.

Growing up I learned about Synonyms, Homonyms, Antonyms, Paronyms, Pseudonyms, and even Acronyms, but I never heard of Contronyms.

Contronyms are words that have two contradictory meanings. They are really their own opposites.

I think I like Contronyms. They appeal to the rebel in me. They also may be an explanation I can fall back on when I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.

While they may be somewhat rare in the Wide World of Nyms they are not obscure words. It’s their usage that makes them unusual. For Example…

“Apology” – A statement of contrition for an action, or a defense of one.

“Dust” – To add fine particles, or to remove them.

“Left” – To Remain, or to Depart

“Bound” – Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement.

These words, literally, can have you coming and going, hither and yon, to and fro, or even this and that. 

I’m a fan of language. Without it I would have a really hard time writing this Blog. There would be a lot of blank space between the punctuation marks. It might be difficult to get my meaning across if my sentence looked like ”      “, –  ” !”

That might work if I wrote only on Monday mornings after a rough weekend and the readers had taken their vows of silence very seriously.

If I had never learned about Contronyms my life and my writing would not have changed all that much. When I am working on a Fiction Project it is usually a story with distinctively “Noirish” overtones. I try to create a shadowy mood and dialogue that is basic and to the point. Symbolism doesn’t get a lot of space on my page. I can’t imagine that my Fedora-wearing hero would be using very many Contronyms while skulking down the dark alleys down by the Waterfront. It might be a challenge though.

” I asked the night watchman if he’d seen the burglars.” He told me “I seen the men bolt.”

“Bolt I said? Was he telling me that the crooks had fled or that they were securely tied up?”

“Oh, No, Mister Detective. Bad guys left here.”

“He was at it again. They left or they were left here waiting to ambush me? What was this guy trying to do – confuse me?”

You see how using Contronyms would be an unneeded complication? If there is one thing I don’t need in my writing it is any sort of “Handicap.” 

“Handicap” – An advantage provided to ensure equality, or a disadvantage that prevents equal achievement.

 

 

 

Words? I Know Dozens Of Them

 

Oh, The Creative Process. It’s not as simple as those three little words might indicate. It is a delicate and fragile thing – a lot like a soufflé, one jarring moment and it all falls as flat as a three week old Dr. Pepper.

On a good day I can sit down and knock out enough to fulfill my daily blog requirement in less than an hour. I try to keep it between 500 – 700 words. That is enough to make my point (If I have one) or at least get to the punchline. That’s all I ask. I don’t try to push my Muse too far. Of course there are those other days when it all hits the wall like wet spaghetti.

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Reblog from The Whirly Girl – “look, they’re not extinct”

Today I have the pleasure of presenting a Reblog of a recent posting from the clever and creative mind of:

the whirly girl

: look, they’re not extinct :


Quite the contrary. The trusty old thesaurus ¹ is alive and well and a popular fixture on bookshelves the world over.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for Peter Roget, creator of this masterwork, he died (perished, croaked, met his maker) in 1869. A compiler, sorter, and compulsive list maker, Roget titled the 1852 edition of his classic reference book Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition.

Yikes, well, what can you say? The guy was wordy (long-winded, verbose, a gasbag). And we celebrate his yattering brilliance yet today, January 18th, known now and forevermore as Thesaurus Day. Get out the pointy party hats, my huckleberry friends, and let’s blow the roof off this dump.

Yay, words!

copyright © 2019 the whirly girl


¹ Yes, in answer to the age-old question, there is a synonym for thesaurus: wordfinder.

NOTE: This is a revised and updated reblog from some time ago. I don’t remember exactly when and I’m too lazy to check, so we’ll never know for sure. I adore the thesaurus, though, and get trapped in its pages regularly, dashing from word to word to word for hours on end, like a hummingbird on speed. It deserves a day of glory and, as I’ve already alluded, I’m shiftless — a reblog is effortless.

171,476

 

I LOVE LANGUAGE and it use, misuse, and ability to be twisted and return to its original shape. It’s a lot like Silly Putty.

There are so many times that I hear words come flying from the mouths of relatively sane people that I have to stop and listen just to make sure that it’s not my hearing that is cuckoo. Words will go wherever we point them.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary there are 171,476 English words in current use. Most of us don’t know and use more than a tiny fraction of that total. Personally, I feel comfortable with dozens of those words.

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“Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries”

 

TODAY’S POSTING IS A BIT OF A DETOUR from the usual stretch of pavement that is this blog. On most days I just write about the speed bumps in my life and my encounters with people who either fascinate, entertain, or appall me. Today I am going to talk about a book I am reading. How exciting, No? A book that really doesn’t rely on pictures, Super heroes, or the secret to quick elimination of Belly Fat. It is a book filled with and about Words. I love it.

To oversimplify it “Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” by Kory Stamper is about how Dictionaries are written and it is not as simple as one would think. I would classify this book as a Love Letter to Language.

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I’m Tempted

I’M TEMPTED. I’LL MULL IT OVER FOR A WHILE AND DECIDE; YES OR NO.

While I do this blog almost every day I also have other, larger, projects that I’m working on. Short stories, Full length novels, and other junk are what I have percolating on the other burners.

This morning I got an email about a contest – a contest for Writers calling on them to churn out 10,000 words of a novel. The contest does not offer fame and fortune which would be an immediate signal to hit the Delete button. What it did offer was feedback and, frankly, that is much more valuable than any prize or promise.

I am tempted.

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Read This Before Anyone Else

 

MY LINGUISTIC SKILLS ARE FALLING OUT OF DATE. New words are popping up all of the time and I am just not keeping current. Zounds!

This morning when I crawled down to St. Arbucks for my daily transfusion I ran headlong into a newish word that I have been seeing but not bothering to learn or adopt.

My Barista was wearing a new name tag that read, “I’m your BAE.”

BAE?

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I’m Only Following Orders 

ADDITIONALLY HAPPY, ADDITIONALLY HAPPY, MODERATE JOY, MODERATE JOY.

A little piece of the jigsaw of my everyday life has fallen into place once more. About a month ago the Little Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood reopened and yesterday the Dollar Store right next to it has returned to active duty. Both places were hit by a pair of teenage arsonists last August. The little intestinal orifices were caught, but I was in Pot Sticker and Won Ton withdrawal for a long time. Now, praise to heaven above, both commercial spots are open again.

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What Is This Stuff?

faber1TO QUOTE THE FOUNDER OF THAT GREAT INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING – FABER COLLEGE, “KNOWLEDGE IS GOOD.”

Knowledge is that which is universally agreed upon to be really good “Stuff”. And it is better to go through life with good “Stuff”.

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What’s Next ?

book1I’M GETTING TO BE A REALLY ANNOYING PERSON when I have to deal with myself. Nag. Nag. Nag. I just don’t give myself a moment’s peace. Would it hurt if I cut myself some slack?

Yes.

What is behind all of this? Lemme tell ya.

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What’s The Good Word?

word1WORDS. I’M A BIG FAN OF WORDS. I USE THEM EVERY DAY. Without words I would be speechless. The only people I know who don’t like words are Mimes – and we all know how loved they are.

(Advice: Never stand next to a Mime. You might end up as collateral damage or, even worse, you might get stuck inside that invisible box that all Mimes seem to have.)

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