austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Then I was ready to tell them my tale

The linguistics community is a-twitter following Monday's declaration by the National Association of Participles and Predicates that adjectives and adverbs are ``pretty much the same thing'' and there was no real point distinguishing between them. We don protective gear and go into the community to find its opinions.

Dr Minerva Picrite, Affiliate Professor of Hydrological English at Lesser Pompous Lakes University Of, visited in her office, said the change is ``not so big'' as laymen might think. ``Giving words kinds is culturally dependent. Ancient Romans recognized no divisions between pronouns, blue, and fresh-water fish. They'd think you so eccentric for separating `them' from `shad' they'd guess you were emperor, and put you in a palace, checking who you wanted thrown to lions. And don't think they'd be blue lions, because they wouldn't fit in those togas.'' Then the door flung open and the real Dr Minerva Picrite pointed at the impostor, leading campus security in chasing her off with sticks.

Oscar McIntyre, Online Sarcasm Editor for the Tri-City Hectoring, getting the background wrong, said, ``Make all adjectives and adverbs the same thing and the language becomes nonsense: how could you tell `carefully grab the blue box' from `quickly grab the molten box' or `fastidiously grab the squamous box'? You can't, so now all these millions of words mean the same thing. But we only need maybe three of them so sentences don't sound repetitive. I vote we keep `squamous', `fastidiously', and `arrhythmic'. Thus the plan is squamous but it needs to go fastidiously more. Arrhythmic.''

The Real Dr Minerva Picrite, Affiliate Professor of Hydrological English at Lesser Pompous Lakes University Of, compared the word taxonomies to those of other languages. ``We've all heard how so-called Eskimo languages have no word for `hamster giggles', yet, neither do we. We have to ask why they'd want to talk about hamster giggles. When would hamsters have even got up there? You wouldn't think it'd be before air travel really got going, but then why would you use precious air cargo space on hamsters? And what would they giggle about?'' We called security and said we wanted the Impostor Dr Minerva Picrite back, and they cleaned their pointy sticks.

Kenny Dacite, network wallpaperer for Vegetarian Seaplanes, launched into a lengthy and apparently often-delivered diatribe about Apple's ``Think Different'' advertising slogan, which they've used as recently as nine years ago. By ten minutes in we hated Kenny and the idea of grammar, and began muttering about how inconvenient it is punching in the wrong ``PIN number'' at the ``ATM machine'' in the hope his brain would lock up in a hypercritical pedantic loop. Unfortunately he incorporated that into his diatribe and we ran away. Three hours later he had moved on to berating traffic signs.

Parker Foidolite, freelance post-manufacture -ly installer, said, ``It won't be squamous for me but the fastidiously trouble is the Model League of Words all the arrhythmic schoolchildren participate in. It's been fragmented since the gerunds split off the verbals party. Merging adjectives and adverbs will be seen as a power play.'' Then he tipped his head, watched the mob with sticks chasing traffic signs, and added, ``It won't be squamous for the Actual League of Words either.''

Jack Basalt, Bank of Orchid Development stick pointy-ier, said, ``That's how they get you. First you have adjectives being about the same as adverbs. Then, why shouldn't a penny be about the same as a five-dollar bill? Once there why shouldn't blue be about the same as a giggling hamster? Before you know it they've got you.'' After pausing to shake his thesaurus at an ATM he said, ``Of course, who wants to go un-got?''

Another Impostor Dr Minerva Picrite, Not Affiliate Professor of Hydrological English at Lesser Pompous Lakes University Of, warned the change could have effects. ``Until we know how this alters the language, nervous would-be speakers are sure to hoard word supplies. We haven't met ergative demand for years, complementizers have been rationed in British English since the Suez Crisis, and this morning I saw a deli offering, `2 Blah Slices'. We're in for a genitive time.''

Trivia: ``Fastidious'', in its first appearance around 1440, meant ``full of pride, disdainful of others, haughty''; by 1531 it came to mean ``disgusting, disagreeable, distasteful or unpleasant''. Its modern ``overly meticulous or particular'' definition surfaced around 1848. Source: Semantic Antics: How And Why Words Change Their Meanings, Sol Steinmetz.

Currently Reading: Cadillac Desert: The American West And Its Disappearing Water, Marc Reisner.


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