Spark Plugs and Synonyms

Suppose you had to explain to someone how a car works, but your explanation could only include the parts of the car. That is what writing about language is like.

 

Comments 8

 
Rosy Cole on Thursday, 07 December 2017 13:29

The conundrum is that language has no life of itself. To communicate it relies on imagery, metaphor, simile and the inspiration of a common human (or, indeed, Divine) spirit. That's the only way it can hope to cut to the chase.

The conundrum is that language has no life of itself. To communicate it relies on imagery, metaphor, simile and the inspiration of a common human (or, indeed, Divine) spirit. That's the only way it can hope to cut to the chase.
Stephen Evans on Thursday, 07 December 2017 21:59

Poetry seems our only hope.

Poetry seems our only hope.
Rosy Cole on Friday, 08 December 2017 23:38

John Betjeman likened poetry to journalism more than to poetic prose. It's a helpful comparison to bear in mind and reminds us of the power of compression. When Arlene Foster of the DUP, fearful of what Brexit might mean for the Northern Irish Border, warned about a 'red line down the Irish Sea', she did not, of course, mean it literally, but the point was powerfully conveyed.

I think your challenge would even have stumped Strunk and White! :-)

John Betjeman likened poetry to journalism more than to poetic prose. It's a helpful comparison to bear in mind and reminds us of the power of compression. When Arlene Foster of the DUP, fearful of what Brexit might mean for the Northern Irish Border, warned about a 'red line down the Irish Sea', she did not, of course, mean it literally, but the point was powerfully conveyed. I think your challenge would even have stumped Strunk and White! :-)
Stephen Evans on Saturday, 09 December 2017 17:52

I have just started reading Umberto Eco's Kant and the Platypus (great title ) and this basic problem occurred to me.

You know my theory that a poem is a single word containing letters and spaces. And if you combine all the poems ever written, you still have only one word. But eventually maybe THE word.

I have just started reading Umberto Eco's Kant and the Platypus (great title ) and this basic problem occurred to me. You know my theory that a poem is a single word containing letters and spaces. And if you combine all the poems ever written, you still have only one word. But eventually maybe THE word.
Rosy Cole on Sunday, 10 December 2017 15:23

Steve, in your inimitable way :-) you have come an unconventional route to the all-time, universal Truth... Big Bang to Whimper and beyond...

'In the beginning was The Word...'

Steve, in your inimitable way :-) you have come an unconventional route to the all-time, universal Truth... Big Bang to Whimper and beyond... [i]'In the beginning was The Word...'[/i]
Stephen Evans on Sunday, 10 December 2017 17:17

The book of John was certainly the most poetic of the gospels. :-)

The book of John was certainly the most poetic of the gospels. :-)
Ken Hartke on Thursday, 07 December 2017 16:20

It's a moving target. Language changes constantly. We borrow words or reinvent the meaning and purpose. Living in a bi-lingual region has been an eye-opener on how much borrowing there is. I'm sure I've probably invented words or resurrected old words. I've tried to bring back the word "Huzzlecoo ", invented by Gelett Burgess who also invented "Blurb", but with reduced emphasis on sexual/flirtation and more on friendly banter and good-natured teasing. Our dictionaries are obsolete by the time they hit the store shelves. And then people tell me there's something called "grammar", or used to be.

It's a moving target. Language changes constantly. We borrow words or reinvent the meaning and purpose. Living in a bi-lingual region has been an eye-opener on how much borrowing there is. I'm sure I've probably invented words or resurrected old words. I've tried to bring back the word "Huzzlecoo ", invented by Gelett Burgess who also invented "Blurb", but with reduced emphasis on sexual/flirtation and more on friendly banter and good-natured teasing. Our dictionaries are obsolete by the time they hit the store shelves. And then people tell me there's something called "grammar", or used to be.
Stephen Evans on Thursday, 07 December 2017 22:02

Neology is an under-rated science.

Neology is an under-rated science.
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