An Innocuous Post

I have fallen behind on my reading and commenting by diving down too many rabbit holes. I did a Blog about culling from the herd and became obsessed with words that rhyme with cull, e.g., dull, gull, hull, lull, mull, null. But then I pronounce their cousins bull, full, and pull a bit differently. What is up with that? While trying to find some pleasant common ground with my daughter-in-law Asia on our rainy Wednesday walk, we talked about language. I am impressed that she is fluent in English and Polish and can get by speaking German and Russian. I know only English. She mentioned I use a couple of words regularly: innocuous and visceral. I was pleasantly surprised. I would have guessed the word “I” or “you” and “know” because a training manager once cautioned me to avoid saying “you know” so much. Some people drive me crazy by starting almost every sentence with the word “typically” or “actually” as a placeholder. When my company transferred me to Wichita and I met my new staff for the first time, I apparently used the word “trepidation.” It caused no outward visceral reaction at the time but in the next staff meeting everyone was trying to interject “trepidation” into the dialogue without laughing. I think I learned that word from watching Star Trek but apparently Kansans were tuned in to Bonanza. My wife’s favorite words are, “What were you thinking?” She says mine are, “I thought it would be funny.”

23 thoughts on “An Innocuous Post

  1. Star Trek and Bonanza are the same thing with different costume trailers. I’m with Beth on the oft/mis used throwaway adverbs. Because they are basically actually literally useless. There was a time when linguists considered American English as spoken by Kansans to be the cleanest, least “accent laden” in the land. Maybe they were basically literally actually working your version of it into their colloquial vocabulary. You know, possession of a better than third grade vocabulary does not require, like, you know, for you to use it or anything. You know?

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  2. In English a person who speaks two languages is called “bilingual;” if they speak a third language, “trilingual.” More than that, we usually abbreviate their ability to “multilingual.” So what do you call someone who only speaks ONE language?: American. 😂
    As for Kansans, be careful as some of us are in your audience, even though we live in other states now. Hey, I watched Star Trek, and some of us are bilingual. 😉
    In clicking the Like button, I thought of how like so many people, like especially young ones, like use the word like like umpteen times like in a single sentence! Like, what is up with like that? 🙄

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  3. As the family grammar Nazi, I’m easily aggravated by commonly but improperly used words. Some would say that a certain politician was incredible and they would be correct albeit unintentionally. I could care less…means the opposite of the intended “couldn’t”. The word I probably overuse is “perseverate” which my spell check doesn’t even recognize; but I’m not going to agonize over it. And I’m often nonplussed by adults who say, “It don’t make no difference to me”. Does it or doesn’t it? Oh, this is too much fun! Where’s the Universal Translator when you need it?

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