I’m sorry that I can’t contribute with English examples, but I hope these will be somewhat fun as well.
Talking about family language, my late grandma used to say in Portuguese “nÃ£o estou muito quarenta hoje” (I’m not very forty today), which meant that she was feeling under the weather on that particular day. I always wondered why forty and not any other number. I even thought it had something to do with fever, since in the Celsius scale if you have 40 degrees, you’re sizzling (maybe even close to death). But then being 40 couldn’t be a good thing, that would be a bad thing, so I don’t get it.
A “euphemism” that some people use to say they are going to the bathroom is “vou tirar Ã¡gua do joelho” (I’m going to take water out of my knee). Is that because of the relative proximity? That still stumps me to this day.
On noms de fetus (noms de feti?), we started off calling our first “the little shmookie”. After birth, he became shmookie, or the shmookie. I think, if you address somebody as shmookie, you just have to tickle them under their chin or something. The sound is compelling.
When we got our second, they became the “little dudes”. This was all fine and dandy until our third child proved to be a girl. Problem solved one night while tiredly serving a late dinner: “OK, dude, here’s your plate. And here’s your plate, dude. And here’s your plate, dude.” “I’m not a dude!” “Ah, Doodah! That’s what I said. Two dudes and a doodah!”
She’s been our little doodah ever since, thanks to the parade. (Familiar form: “Doo”, as in “Time to wake up for school now, Doo!”)
(My favorite [outside my family] nom de toddler is that of Bay Buchanan, named by her older brothers who couldn’t get the whole word “baby” out — and it stuck for life!)
A nice example of creaky voice at minute 39 of this podcast:
A caller observes that after moving to Indianapolis, he noticed that many of the locals say the names of commercial enterprises as if they’re plural or possessive, even when they’re not, such as calling Walmart “Walmart’s.” Grant explains the inclination to add the S sound to the names of businesses in casual speech and writing.
A tangent to this issue has come up at work.
For a company whose name really IS possessive (e.g. Macy’s; Sotheby’s; Moody’s: not so much Victoria’s Secret) it can be very awkward to use an “of” construction to render the possessive. (e.g. “Did you order that from the website of Macy’s?”; “The commission of Sotheby’s varies with each auction purchase.”) Is there a style guide that indicates if an invariant form can be used appropriately? (e.g. “Did you order that from Macy’s website?”; “Sotheby’s commission varies with each auction purchase.”)
I tend to think in these cases, the same form can be subjective, objective, and possessive. I can find evidence of this — along with lots of handling I think is flatly wrong — but nothing authoritative.
Thanks for any help.
Speaking of speak…
That little bit thrown in there after the discussion about speak vs talk, when Martha uses “speak to” meaning “speak about”…
What is it about saying speak to instead of speak about? That usage seems fairly recent, and there’s something about it that rubs me the wrong way.
“Those roses sure are wilting this summer. Joe Green, you’re the garden expert, can you speak to that?”
This would make me think, uhm, no, Joe can not speak to an issue. He can speak about it though. Apparently it’s become common enough that only grumps like me get bothered by it. Anyone else cringe when they hear that?
grumble grumble 😉
I haven’t heard the “creaky voice” episode yet, but I clicked on the link to the original story and listened to examples. Evidently, I have “creaky voice.” I don’t do it on purpose, so the idea that it’s some kind of intentional affectation doesn’t ring true for me. As a native Californian, raised by native Californians, I don’t have any connection to Washington. So where did I get my “creak?”
I had to laugh at the mi-oove and ri-uude vowel-fronting Californiaism. I’m TOTALLY guilty as charged on that one.
What about “wanna” and “gonna” and “kinda” are those Lazy-California-Speak too? Or is that common everywhere?
There’s another good “creaky voice” example in a YouTube video posted by Google, touting their Chrome browser. The woman does it all the way through, and very much as described by the caller who brought up the topic: she starts out each sentence pretty normally, but as she nears the end, she gets creaky.
Post edited 12:17PM – May-19-09 by Glenn
A tangent to this issue has come up at work.
For a company whose name really IS possessive (e.g. Macy’s; Sotheby’s; Moody’s: not so much Victoria’s Secret) it can be very awkward to use an “of” construction to render the possessive. (e.g. “Did you order that from the website of Macy’s?”; “The commission of Sotheby’s varies with each auction purchase.”)
As a former employee of JCPenney, there is a reason those in some generations call it Penney’s. In the 60’s or 70’s the signs on the store fronts were actually changed to Penney’s.
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