Let's Talk Words

Both the joy and bane of our existence, they're the fountain from which our art springs and the pit in which we despair when nothing goes write. (wink) I'm talking about words. This week's blog post is dedicated to them, in their goodness, badness, and all their lettery glory.


Words date back to the time when people started speaking. Most likely. One word started to sound like another and that was confusing enough for us to do ridiculous things like call one thing ascent and another assent and another ass-end. It all became a jumbled beautiful dictionary-copia. Let's discuss words. Together, let's revel in their confusery and their bigness and emotion. We'll commiserate. We'll share. We will do it all by breaking down words into the five main categories that make them VHFSP (very hard for smart people).


Artwork by Fred Charles

First up are the confusables. The Internet is a wonderful place, and it says that confusables are real things, and anyone who has ever had to look up effect versus affect won't doubt that. You know the personal things that won't be shared by the important personnel? Further or farther? (That one still gets me.) Do you grin and bear it or grin and bare it? Then or than?


Next, the localese. Localese is a dialect made up specifically for this blog post, according to the Internet, but the following examples should nicely illustrate the point. How often do we write in our native speak only to realize we are part of the select region where only few are likely to know what we're discussing? Take the following: a hoagie in Pennsylvania is an untoasted sandwich. Want your buns burned in Philly? Ask for a grinder. Visit the northeast and ask for a grinder. You'll get a hoagie. Want that toasted? Ask for it toasted.


Speaking of local words, did you know "jawn" is an actual word in Philly? I'm told it can mean literally anything, as in "give me that jawn," or, quite literally, "get off my jawn." Thirsty in

Artwork by Fred Charles

Rhode Island? We'll direct you to a bubbler (only, not during Covid. Get your mouth off that sh*t).


Third, let's talk about the mispronounced. These things are real killers for me, so I'm going to go ahead and say it now: there's a soap box in the next few lines. First, it's NUC-LE-AR, not NUC-U-LUR. Actually, I take it back. That's probably the biggest one one. Stepping down...


Fourth on our list are the mis-spellables. We're not talking about all the junk words we've made up for the sake of this post. We're talking about seperate. Desparate. Definately. These are almost unforgivable because it took me several tries to misspell them here in the post (the level of autocorrect even on this website is almost unreal).


Last, and fifth there are the words that shall not be spoken, also known as the uglies. Tyler Vendetti does this wonderfully well in the awesome book The Illustrated Compendium of Ugly English Words. Since we're rebels, we'll go ahead and name of few of Vendetti's chosen uglies. They include such phenoms as everyone's favorite (moist), the English language subversive (phlegm), and one that I think of with my bagel breakfast (schmear). We highly recommend this book on days when your words need a pick-me-up in the most hideous way possible.


Wait, there's one more. For goodness sake, it's an espresso, and if you are drinking EXpressos, then maybe, just maybe, it's time for a Loud Coffee Press intervention.


Tell us about your word joys, hates, and... phobias! Sound off below in the comments!


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