Friday, February 05, 2010

Three Homos Walked into a Bar

More S'quick art.

(I'll stop soon, I promise.)

My friend also sends me selected samples of viral internet jokes (which circle the world endlessly, I imagine) like the one about the question why -- when brain transplants become available -- will women's brains be cheaper than men's brains?

Have found myself tsk-tsking a lot lately over the abuse of homonyms like reigns and reins, altar and alter, pour and pore, pair, pear and pare.

And I've wondered if our more aural society -- cell phones, channel TV availability, audio books, iPods and stuff -- if these are responsible for what strikes me as a looser grasp of language. If our vocabulary is influenced more by what we hear than by what we see. After all, there is no audible difference between it's and its, until one translates the sound into writing.

Purists discriminate between homonyms, homophones and homographs. I'm not grammatically finicky -- in spite of my stay at Miss Bustlewhistle's Academy for Proper Young Ladies -- so I don't. I'm just irritated to see homonyms abused in general.

And the Brain Transplant question? Market economy -- women's brains are cheaper because they are used.


laughingwolf said...

lol@the 'used' brains ;)

methinks there be much truth therein!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

haha. good one.

Language is a living thing, always changing. Many people (not you, but Others) don't realize this. When they lament the loss of "good grammar" or something, they're failing to realize that it's just language, growing. It's what it does.

I think language has stopped evolving so quickly with the proliferation of readily available standards via the media.

Not that I don't lament the good ole days too, I just try to remind myself of that from time to time. I have a whole print out of what they expect American English might look like in 50 years. Very interesting stuff.

Natasha Fondren said...


What's funny is that the more I write, the more I make mistakes I never would have made in my early years, not even in first drafts with my eyes closed, like "their" and "there." I know the difference; I guess I get more careless when the more I pound out the words. (But I always catch them, later! I hope!)

Peter Dudley said...

Wait, I don't get it. That's a joke? Seems too close to the truth to hold real humor.

I share your consternation.

It's those darn kids and their "rock and roll" if you ask me!

Bernita said...

A counter to "blonde" jokes, anyway, LW!

Betsy, when people rave about "misplaced modifiers" and such, I always think about "to boldly go where no man has gone before."
Would have half the force if Kirk had primly said "to go boldly..." now, would it?

Same here, Natasha. Maybe the internets are zombie, they've eaten my brains.

Bernita said...

Hee, Peter!

writtenwyrdd said...

I cannot spell nearly as well any more both because of spell check with auto correct on, and because I'm getting stupid as I get older, lol.

But there is a sad lack of spelling skills in the kids today because it's not so stressed. They aren't even being taught times tables any more (what I deem a critical useful skill for any adult) because these kids rely on calculators. Eeek.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd try to figure out that joke but then I'd have to use my brain and that would cut down on the resale value!

Bernita said...

Written, I have to sadly confess that I never could spell all that well.

Sorry, Charles... Afraid your brain is so used that its re-sale value is even below that of the average female.

raine said...

Love the joke, lol. :)

When I'm hurrying, or not paying attention, I occasionally find such little mistakes in my work (latest--principle, principal), leading to much gritting of teeth on revising.
I was schooled to savor language in all its (yes, its) variety, but appreciate it most when it's (ha) used well.

And I think I mentioned it before, but I am SO going to steal Miss Bustlewhistle's name for a manuscript one day!

BernardL said...

When I sea them in altared form, I have to reign in the impulse to brake something. :))

Bernita said...

Don't you hate it, Raine?
Like Natasha said, we KNOW the difference...yet somehow...
I fear I was a sad trial to Miss Bustlewhistle. I slouched. My handwriting was "execrable." And I read novels...

That's a good set, Bernard! (I don't know how you bare it.)

Whirlochre said...

Homonyms? Ha — know what you mien.

Bernita said...

Wood expect you to no, Whirl

jason evans said...

There's no market for my brain. Model discontinued.

On another note, I was horrified once when a law school graduate wrote a sentence about "strick" compliance. Um, that's strict. It took her a while to believe me.

Lana Gramlich said...

*ROFL @ the womens' brains joke!* Awesome!
Having learned much of English grammar & spelling by the age of 8, I've done my best to stick to traditional usage. Sometimes I wonder why I worked so hard at it as a child, though. I thought it would be WORTH something someday, I thought it would be USEFUL. Now everything's chatspeak & mangled English & my command of the language earns me the label "grammar Nazi" (or is that "grammer natzi?)

Suzanne Perazzini said...

As an ex-English teacher, I despair of the lack of grammar and spelling from the real estate agents I work with. It physically hurts me to see the language so abused.

Bernita said...

"It took her a while to believe me."
In some ways, Jason, her disbelief is the more shocking aspect of the incident.

It's truly disconcerting, Lana, to have a prim 'n proper label attached to oneself.
I wonder if one could identify "chatspeak" as a new dialect.

"It physically hurts me..."
Like a flat note hurts someone with a perfect ear, Suzanne.

laughingwolf said...

it does, indeedy ;) lol

and what's with all the 'i use to', instead of 'i used to'? :(

word verif: neupense

Bernita said...

The Phonic Effect, LW!

Peter Newland said...

Making fun of the Homonymphonic lifestyle of generation "Z" are we?

(wait... are we up to Z yet? Another thought: what the heck are they going to call the generation after that?)

Well... someone ought to. :)

Some of the speelings I see our rilly afull these days.

Especially in social networking. My Facebook/Twitter feeds drive me nuts sometimes.

Awesome post, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Peter.
I see you've met Nim, Fone and Graf.

Steve Malley said...

One odd fact a lot of us forget is that standardized (or, if you prefer, standardised) English spelling only dates back to the 1800's. If then-- as my choice of adjectives pointed out.

A new generation, raised on 144 characters per thought, may well undo this brief experiment in orthographic rectitude and usher in an age of wild phonetics to give the Elizabethans a run for their money...

Bernita said...

Steve, well said and entirely possible!
And such simplification by hetronym would probably cause much confusion and even marginalization in communication.

sylvia said...

I am very very behind on my reading but I wanted to say that I've loving the fly-art.

I think there is a difference between language changing and making a mistake - when the mistake snowballs, then the language grows to encompass it. But that doesn't justify the initial mistake.

Otherwise we would all talk like toddlers, rather than reinforcing better language usage. :)

Bernita said...

"Otherwise we would all talk like toddlers,"

Sylvia that's a great observation!