Monday, January 02, 2012

January 2

It's Monday but we're sort of half in and out of the holiday still. Tomorrow will start with the 6:30 am alarm and life might seem 'normal' again. I didn't get to read as much over the holidays as I'd hoped, so I'm feeling a little out of that loop too. But I'm always conscious of words. Our English language is ever changing. It should be. It's a living thing, after all. New words are invented with, well, inventions. Old ones become dusty and forgotten. I have my own pet peeves about words. I'm not sure I like how texting abbreviations are infiltrating other forms of communication, including everyday speech. It also seems to me that standards for usage and punctuation are largely ignored. They're there, already.

Possibly 'hear' and 'here' will become interchangeable? But I'm not thinking about that.

This morning I'm thinking of everyday speaking. What is your favorite affirmative? For instance, my number one is, "excellent." (Thank you, Montgomery Burns.) It came about because after nearly a decade of living in California I decided to train myself not to answer with "cool." It was harder than you might think.

What's your word? What it was before? Before that? Do you know when/why it changed?

It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme. But it's a good exercise to think about these little evolutions in communication. I'd like to know about yours. We might learn something.

That said, I'd like to pose an exercise. Substitute other words for your fallback. Yes indeed, this is the nerdiest thing I've asked you to do so far. Maybe.

So what? Your brain is fat and needs the exercise. Mine too. It got lazy over the holidays and might need a little poke in the Broca's.

So substitute another word for your usual fallback. Each time I'm inclined to say "excellent," I'll choose "splendid" or "transcendent" or "exemplary." Or something else that pops up. Which probably won't happen without a little practice, because I'm not quick in that way.

But even thinking of a synonym after the fact is exercise. More like a secret isometric under your desk sort of thing, but some exercise is better than none, even if you've had a candy bar.

I'll try it. Will you? I know. It's a little thing. But then, most of our days are made of little things. Why not this one?

Have an ex...quisite day.


Syd said...

I generally use "nice" or "nicely done", the benefit being that with a slight change in tone, either can turn from an affirmative to a "You did NOT just do that" sort of thing. No idea what I might substitute, but I'll give it some thought...

lisa said...

Happy New Year Syd! I hear you. "Excellent" can be turned in just that way, especially with the right eyebrows. Think on, sister.

Cody Stanford said...

This is a splendiferous idea. I will use that word this week.


lisa said...

Cody: Inspiring! Like your new pic!

J.W.B. said...

I usually go for things involving 'awesome' or 'amazing' such as "Holy awesome!" and "Amazingly amazing" lol.
I've been reading the Steve Jobs biography lately and his go to phrase was "insanely great" which I like...this will be interesting.

Melissa P said...

Being a native Southern Californian, I find it almost impossible to keep words like "awesome", "cool" and even "Dude!" out of my vocabulary. Thank you for reminding be to more mindful.

"Splendid" and "Excellent" are going to the top of my list.

lisa said...

J.W.B. Insanely interesting?

lisa said...

Melissa P.: Heh, "excellent" is going to the bottom of mine. It's sort of like trading clothes. What's old to you is new to me. I like that.

Stacy Hurt said...

I have a confession. My word used to be something else I can't even remember, and it changed. The word I have been using is 'perfect'. And I hate it. I hate it because it's the word my boss uses all the time. I feel like she's molded me with it. And NOTHING is perfect. It's wrong to keep saying it when at the height of it's hypocrisy is when she wants the work schedule to be 'perfect' and in so doing has trimmed my hours so she can have her 'beginning of the year absolutely perfect' meaning instead of having flexible schedules she'd just rather have us (all two of us employees)be on the same schedule. So I lose income so she can have it neat and 'perfect' on the outside. I'm afraid of what all this says about me. Was I using the word in an effort to better communicate with her? Since it's basically her, myself & one other person in our office the dynamic is rather small, but it's powerful. So instead of using the hypocritical 'perfect' I will find a new word. No inspiration on what it will be yet. But it's a great idea to think about.

lisa said...

Stacy: try some on. Try some on that feel strange and unwieldy. Something might stick. Maybe you'll find something here. Eventually, the things that got stuck to 'perfect' may drop away.