Posts Tagged ‘Language’

Ain’t That The Truth

September 15, 2022

Speaking of “ain’t,” it’s only relatively recently that I fully realized my tendency to use terms like “ain’t” and drawl my words when I’m emotional was more than an affectation. I genuinely told myself it was something I started when I was a teenager “to be funny,” and the habit had just ingrained itself.

Then I heard a recording of myself as I child.

I guess some things you never fully “warsh” away.

It’s A Confucian Catch-22

June 30, 2022

Even so, despite what I said yesterday, in the grand scheme of things it’s truly not that big a deal if a parent calls their child “my baby,” which is why a respectful child should endure it despite any insult or indignity they feel.

Mind you, a child feeling insulted by the term is precisely why a respectful parent shouldn’t call them that.

See What I Did There?

June 29, 2022

Now I’ve got a pretty good idea what some people out there are thinking about what I wrote yesterday, and it goes along the lines of, “Oh come on, it’s not that big a deal!”

To which I respond, “Are you saying I shouldn’t ‘be a baby’ about it then?”

Even When No Insult Is Intended

June 28, 2022

While I admit that it seems unlikely to me that there has never been a child that actually liked being called “my baby” by a parent, I’m willing to bet the ones that do like it are few and far between.

If you don’t understand why, just consider how often “baby” is used as an insult when directed at non-babies, and how especially dire an insult that can be to a child old enough to understand they are not a baby anymore.

But Maybe That’s Just Me

June 22, 2022

I try to be precise in my language, and I think that, “I need to consult with you at your earliest mild inconvenience,” conveys just the right level of urgency for a non-emergency, “We REALLY to deal with this sooner rather than later.”

I Didn’t Look For Any Signs Of “Or Else,” But I Wouldn’t Be Surprised If They Were There

August 20, 2021

Another product of my taking more frequent walks is that I’m starting to become conversant in “the language of fences.” (It’s like the language of flowers, just less interesting . . . and with fences.)

For instance, a chain-link fence says, “We value our view,” while a standard six-foot tall fence says, “We value our privacy,” and an eight-foot tall fence with motion sensing lights says, “Go. Away.”

But On The Other Hand, I Really Did Need The Laugh

October 2, 2020

Schadenfreude (noun) – satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

I’m not proud I felt that today, I want to make that clear.

This Is An Amalgam Of A Couple Of True Stories I Know

August 19, 2020

One story that came out of the conversation with my son that I referenced yesterday was the following:

A proper and God-fearing Southern woman is told by her doctor that she needs to start drinking a glass of wine in the evening for her health.

“I can’t do that!” the woman protested. “Drinking is a sin!”

Sighing, the doctor explained that while she could write her a prescription for something else, the side-effects would be serious, and she strongly recommended the evening glass of wine, and suggested the woman discuss the matter with her minister before making her decision.

So the woman explains the situation to her minister, and when she’s done, the minister nods. “So, if I understand correctly,” he said slowly, “a glass of wine in the evening would help you, but you’re concerned about the consequences.”

“Exactly!” the woman replied. “I’m a proper, God-fearing woman! What would people think if I started drinking, particularly at my age?”

The minister nodded again. “I understand. I’m a God-fearing man myself. I grew up in this town and in this church, same as you; I consider the well-being of my flock, physical and spiritual, as one of my highest concerns, and I believe the same is true of God. So as His representative and as a shepherd of your soul, I’m advising you to drink the damn wine and to Hell with what people think.”

So In This Case For Me It Was A Matter Of Linguistic Precision

August 18, 2020

Over the weekend I came damn near to kicking something with the same toe I injured a while back, and I said as much out loud. This prompted L’s Mother to stage whisper to our son that, “Your Dad said ‘damn,'” to which I responded, “You’re damn right I did.”

While we were just being playful, this still prompted a fresh conversation with L. about when it is and is not appropriate to use certain language, how cultural mores can vary, and how that can impact the message you’re trying to convey. “For instance,” I said, “while this isn’t true for everyone, but among my people if you say that you ‘nearly’ kicked something, you came close, but if you say you came ‘damn near’ to kicking something, you came REALLY close.”

I Can Totally See That Happening

August 5, 2020

L’s Mother mentioned in passing the other day how she once heard someone discussing just how much of our early language learning as children is all “by ear” and without context. This leads to situations where a parent hears their child asking if they can have “an apple,” and nobody thinks anything of it until the child asks for “another napple.”