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Lingo Lingerings

Sunday, July 30, 2023

End of July already!

I guess if I want to have a blog post dated this month I'd better write one fast!

My furniture was all moved into my new address as of May 24.  My old house was sold and my bridge loan paid off as of June 1.  This summer I have done little but fill out paperwork, unpack boxes and try to get everything moved around/fixed up.  

There is still no light at the end of the tunnel.  However I've also spent some time with my youngest granddaughter who, also, just moved into a new place and is getting settled.  It's funny how helping someone else to put together their furniture with a screwdriver feels like taking a break.  And I do schedule a little time to unwind each day.  Every evening I walk my dog or, rather, as a Jack Russell terrier, he takes me for a vigorous walk.  All the kids in the new community have now met Oliver.  I have a rule that it's OK to pet him but only one child at a time.

Later, I read myself to sleep with something light.  I just finished "The Crime That Binds" by Laurie Cass,  This is the latest in her murder mystery series featuring Minnie Hamilton, a librarian who drives a bookmobile with her sociable cat riding along.  As someone who loves books, Minnie often plays around with words, as I do. When contemplating "toastiness" and "sogginess" to describe a microwaved sandwich, she just has to look them up.  Merriam-Webster recognizes only "sogginess" but a wiki dictionary does, already, cover "toastiness".

Then follows a passage in the book that just blows me away:

"...I felt an odd sense of comfort. The world changed around us, sometimes at breakneck speed and sometimes so slow that only rocks could understand the long-term impacts. Language, however, moved with us."

It's true. Language is always changing. This annoys many people, like members of the Académie Française, created by the French to halt the process or at least slow it.  The Académie is also charged with creating appropriate new vocabulary as the need arises. But, to their frustration, people often ignore their terminology, instead adopting the words that spring up, organically, without effort, as society moves forward.  Sometimes new expressions even lead the way by inspiring people to investigate and adopt new ideas.  It's a bit like being walked by a Jack Russell terrier.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Ex -- Ex Libris

 My crazy translation: Formerly -- From the Library of...

When I was a child, when given a book as a present, the first thing you did was write your name on the first page opposite the front cover.  When you were older you bought a bunch of bookplates to paste to the inside front cover of all of them.  It usually said, "Ex Libris" in a fancy script, then you wrote your nam on the line below.  

By the time you were an adult, you actually had a collection worthy of being called a small, personal library featuring some classics of literature plus leading works and reference books in whatever profession you prepared for in college.  And the homes of your grandparents' generation housed bookcase after bookcase in the living rooms or dens.

Today, of course, you can access any book you want via the internet and read it on your computer.

I've just downsized and moved into a townhome after donating carton after carton of books to Goodwill.  Not only is there no space for all of them but they're really heavy to move!  I still have more books and bookcases than I should, crammed into too little space.  The Goodwill donations will be ongoing for a while. 

It is with great sadness that I have given up the concept of building and maintaining a true "personal library".  Nobody does that anymore.  Computers and smartphones make any book accessible anywhere, anytime.  But for me there's just nothing like settling down with a bound copy on paper.

Thursday, May 18, 2023


It's been a while since my subconscious invented a new word which showed up in the early morning as I awoke.  But I got one today: "profeale" (pronounced "pro-FEEL".  It's a combination of "profile" and "reveal".  This is a noun describing a summary of a person which also gives you an insight, usually sudden, into their personality, character and motivations.  It can also be used as an adjective as in: "They went on a profeale date".

I awoke dreaming that I was writing it as "profile" and realizing that spelling was wrong because it has already been used for the spelling of "PRO-file".  I suppose profeale does not really need the silent "e" at the end, but it feels natural, somehow.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Liminal Space

According to 10.play.com.au, 

"Dictionary.com has put out a list of new additions, including, antifragile, liminal space, petfluencer and digital nomad."

I especially like "liminal space".  It's perfect for describing my life right now.

Here's dictionary.com's definition --

liminal space  [ lim-uh-nl speys ]  
noun  a state or place characterized by being transitional or intermediate in some way:
Motels are such liminal spaces—everyone there is either coming or going.
In the film, Venice is a liminal space where the real and imaginary meet.
Informal. any location that is unsettling, uncanny, or dreamlike:
The classroom when school is out for the summer is a liminal space. 

 At present, I am between homes.  My house has sold.  Tomorrow is the real estate closing on the new townhouse I've bought.  My furniture and possessions are in boxes or in disarray.  My teaching materials for this, last week of the semester are all in my car so they won't get lost. I am living in liminal space.

More about new words in English

 Ischoolconnect.com has a big blog entry about new words in the English language.  

It's an interesting list, but I don't think it represents truly new terms.  For example, "knell" was used by Edgar Allen Poe in his poem "The Bells".

The very first word, abnegation, has its roots in a similar medieval word and Latin before that.  However, this may be a word that is being used by young people more in recent years because it is the name of one of the "factions" in the young adults' series "Divergent".

I must read the blog again from that viewpoint.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Screen Grab

No, I'm not posting one, here.

Instead, here's the definition from Oxford Language as found on Google:

screen grab
a frame of television or video footage that is digitized and stored as a still image for subsequent display, editing, or printing.
"a screen grab from Wednesday's episode"
take a screen grab of
"the rap star screen-grabbed almost a dozen tweets from fans"

This is a new term in English which I just saw and will make good use of.  It fills a need and, as a bonus, is colorful!

You could use the more standard, technical phrase "screen capture" or "screen shot" but that doesn't quite get across the immediacy of the action.

I saw the term in a story about a YouTuber who purposely crashed his plane to get more views, thereby breaking all sorts of FAA regulations.  Now, what sort of expression can we invent to describe that action?

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Tri-Level and Related

 I just sold my house and bought a townhome where I don't have to mow the lawn, shovel snow or repaint the garage doors.

This made me think about unique US architectural terms.  My old house was a tri-level, one form of split-level architecture largely inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The new townhouse says it has an open floor-plan, currently a popular architectural feature.  The tri-level made excellent use of what you would call "shared air space", though not in the same way an open floor-plan does.  

People buying and selling homes in the US suburban sprawl use these terms.  How about other countries?  As a traveler, I'm usually in the heart of cities!  I did first learn the concept of a residential condominium decades ago when I went to France.  I need to ask my students about the words they encounter when looking for housing.

© Copyright , Margaret R. Jones