Sunday, April 14, 2024

GAL FRIDAY: Making up words


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I’M GLAD WE have a leader who is a linguist. Even if you don’t support the man, you could learn a few new words and expressions whenever he speaks.

I mean, plenty people thought Olympus was just the cinema, where you could get in cheap on Tuesdays, for six dollars. Maybe if you have more money than the average folks – like Shelly Williams or one of the big-ups – then you could go to the VIP to see a movie like Stuart Little or something so.

But last week, from PM Stuart we heard about Mount Olympus. And we are enlightened. Now, I could say that my knowledge has been expanded. I now know that Mount Olympus was the home of the Greek deities, like Aphrodite and Zeus and ten others, known as the Ten Olympians.

And talking about Olympians, many of you may have watched the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner, gold winner of the 1976 decathlon. One of the fittest, strongest men in the world at the time. If you also read Sunday’s article by Toni Thorne you’d get some enlightenment on the topic of transgenderism and his journey. Moral of the story: life is too short to not be yourself.

Anyway, I digress. Back to our beloved Prime Minister. Aren’t you glad that he doesn’t simply make up words on the spot? Like some of my American friends. If left up to them, the English language will evolve at a speed of acceleration like never before; and we won’t get to truly savour it. For example, last week I read that Hollywood star, Gwenyth Paltrow and rockstar, Chris Martin engaged in “conscious uncoupling.”

See, in the Caribbean we’d make it less serious. Musical even. You’d hear that somebody horn somebody or Gorg would make up a song about it, and throw in some rum for good measure.

But all this superfluous novelty when it comes to language baffles me. Use the words we have, like the PM. No need to make up new ones to make your case sound more sophisticated, or outright baffling.

But, I guess that this is the age of immediate gratification: fast cars, fast food, even fast language. You don’t have a word? No worries, make up one on the spot. Oxford contains a few new entries so far, for 2015: loathless, earwigger and laterise are only some of them. While you may have seen these words before, they now have new primary meanings.

For example, I have a loathless relationship with Hoadie. In other words, I really like him. Here’s another: My neighbour is an earwigger. We would simply say, “She gipsy!” Final one: I will laterise this assignment. What the latter means is that I will be submitting this article late (sorry, Editor).

Confuffled yet?!?

To me, when we make up words instead of using and expanding our current vocabulary, it is a singular exhibition of bad, bad vocabulary.

Veoma Ali is an author, broadcaster, advertising exec and most important, a karaoke lover.


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