What is more…

an excercise in getting to the point

Tag: Language

Word(s)…

As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve been learning alot of words for the GRE. I have noticed (a) that there are many words that signify very specific things, which you would never have expected to have their own word, and (b) some of the ETS/Barron/Princeton Review definitions are funny/interesting to me. Some examples:

Words that mean one thing… and the exact opposite (e.g. cleave = to break apart, or to hold tightly together. Or, sanction = to make legal, or to impose punishments upon)

Words that sound alike, but mean exactly the opposite (timorous = fearful, temerity = fearlessness)

Definitions that have a low view of clergy (salacious = lascivious, lustful i.e. a salacious monk; or, pontifical = pertaining to a bishop or pope; pretentious or pompous)

Words that don’t really need to exist (avuncular = of or like an uncle)

Definitions that make me laugh (academic = not practical or directly useful; bohemian = unconventional (in an artistic way))

Definition that scares me (gerontocracy = rule by the elderly…  I’ve been to Sun City West, many elderly should not be driving, let alone ruling)

There’s a word for that? (rebus = representation of words in the form of symbols, i.e. R U coming over L8er??)

Random (cow = to intimidate… they don’t seem that intimidating to me)

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Oh ’10?…

One of my early memories: on some television sitcom, I see a teenage girl, talking about a date and how she didn’t feel appreciated by the guy. She says “Doesn’t he know, its the ’90s. Women can do anything they want.”

“It’s the ’90s” was not an uncommon phrase to hear when I was growing up [from ages 6-16]. It just flowed off the tongue. It made sense. Everyone knew you were talking about the nineteen-90s. I remember in high school, wondering what we would say after the year 2000. “It’s the zeros” just didn’t seem to make sense. At some point I heard someone use the phrase “the oughts” (or “aughts” depending on how you spell it). I wondered if that would stick. Looking back, I suppose that most often I would say of any particular year “oh-7” or “oh-8.” Eventually the fear of confusion between that and, say, 1907 or 1908 just went away.

This morning I was looking at a calendar for next year, and I realized, I don’t know how to say 2010, or how we will refer to the next decade. Of course we can say “two thousand and ten” but that will be too cumbersome most of the time. Perhaps “twenty-ten” will be more common. It certainly makes more sense than “twenty-nine” which sounds closer to the year was Jesus was walking around in Galilee. Maybe we will refer to the next decade as “the teens” but that sounds a bit adolescent. Besides, we don’t really even refer to the 1910’s as the teens.

In the tradition of “oh-7” and “oh-8,” my guess is that I will refer to the next year as “oh-10″ rather than simply ’10. But that makes me wonder: when will it be appropriate to refer to any year in this century simply by the last two numbers like we did in say ” ’86 ” or ” ’95 .” In nineteen years will we be saying “Doesn’t he know that it is ’29?”

Kind-of weird to think about… probably weirder to blog about. These are the things that go through my head when classes no longer vie for my attention. In any case, I hope that you have a wonderful ’10, however you choose to say it.