Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ramble: Not Just a Math Nerd: Word Fun

In case you thought I was only a math/tech nerd, here is a post at Language Log that made me laugh: The shock of seeing a new verb anniversarying. Here is my favorite quote from the article:
I don't mean to suggest that there's anything particularly wrong with verbing new nouns, of course: you can pretty much verb any noun you want to verb. But if you pick a solidly nouny noun and use it without warning or precedent as a verb, it may cause a certain shock, ....
Anyway, I am a bit of a language nerd. I like words. In a recent community meeting, I used the word penultimate to refer to the one before the last item in a list. The CEO of our association then asked me if I kept a list of words like that to use. I suppose I do, but the list is purely mental (as you might say am I).

New addition to this post. I have a new favorite initialization: MSO (minimal scatological object). I found it at Language Log Most of the People in the World Could Care Less.
The process has been generalized to give with a variety of MSOs ("minimal scatological objects"):

I could give a {damn|shit|hoot|(flying) fuck|crap|rat's ass}

The MSO can be an elaborate nonce formation ("a gnat's left testicle"; "a fart in a tornado"; "a rat's hairy scrotum").
Words are such fun.

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