Will you be my wordfriend?


Word crushes are completely inexplicable.* Some words just reach out and grab your heart and refuse to let go. But, like all crushes, the attraction evaporates eventually. You may have been sweet on the word despondent for months when you suddenly hear it again and realize it's just a sad that's been to finishing school. Or maybe you've spent the last year telling everyone why they need to make sure their vocabulary includes ignominious, only to become slightly embarrassed by it.

Of course, these crushes can wax and wan. Or you can just smile wistfully when you hear a word that you were enamored with and had forgotten. Like when you suddenly find yourself in the perfect situation to use quidnunc. Even still, these are former flickers of the intensity of your passion. Fond memories, nothing more. Which is sad, as it reminds me how fleeting everything really is.

But, one of the things I learn about studying languages is that you get to have all sorts of crushes. For some reason, these ones stick around longer. I still love normalerweise just as much as I did at first. Then, there's אבדוק (evdoke)† in Hebrew which will not be moved from my attentions. And, today, I hit upon my first crush in Greek. Well, my first real crush. I had a bit of a flirtation with ἐπειδή (epayday)‡, but it's not lasting. The word that's stolen my heart is ἁρπαζόμεθα (harpazohmaytha). It means “we snatch for ourselves” or “we are being snatched”. I've been saying it over and over again to myself. Fortunately, not aloud. Sadly, I doubt I'll get nearly as much use for this once and I will for either normalerweise or אבדוק, both of which are in my everyday speech. But here's the fair warning: I may start making up situations in which first person plural passive snatching is required. After all, love is a verb, isn't it? I've got to let this word know just how keen on it I am.

*What's that you say, you don't have crushes on words? What, are you some sort of normal human being that doesn't think about these things? Whatever. Words are important.
†"I'll check"
‡Since, because, when


Jon said...

I just caught a word crush on the Coptic word ⲡⲡⲉⲧⲛⲁⲛⲟⲩϥ (ppetnanouf). It means "the good," but it's so much fun to say.

Also, what about word frenemies? The word (or rather expression) itse asiassa—Finnish for "actually"—still makes me cringe because of its overuse, but that doesn't stop me from using it right along with the best of them.

alea said...

You're learning Coptic? I'm sooooo jealous. Is that part of your program or something you're doing just for personal reasons?

And, there are definitely frenemies or outright antagonists of the word world. For istance, I cannot stand the word "chick" in reference to generic human female.

Jon said...

Coptic's not part of the program, but saying that I'm taking it for "personal reasons" makes it seem like I have some personal relationship with coptic literature or that gertting the credit fulfills some sort of blood oath. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'd call my reasons professional: I'm taking it in hopes that it will make me more competitive in PhD applications.

Oneup said...

Der Auspuff. I don't have much of a use for it because I don't discuss the exhaust on a vehicle very often in any language, but I love it with all my heart and always will. I was just reflecting on that this afternoon as I was walking home, actually. Uncanny timing you have...

alea said...

Jon: Right, "personal" was a bit dodgy. But, what I meant was "non-required", I guess. I'm intending to connect next semester with a prof here that does private tutorials in Coptic. Then, if all goes according to plan, I'll have that and Ugaritic under my belt before I apply for grad programs.

Oneup: You should just use Auspuff whenever you can even when not appropriate. And that reminds me, I have a serious crush on the gloss "exit". I have yet to find a language that I don't like it in (Ausgang, sortie, salida, exida, uscita, [yuhtsiah]). Maybe I just want to get out?

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