Sarah Palin and Refudiategate
Palin was in the news last week for her use of a new word refudiate, an apparent conflation on her part of refute and repudiate. The ensuing to-do was, I thought, much ado about nothing. This sort of slip of the tongue, or to use a fancier term, verbal lapsus, is not uncommon. Haplologies are a type of verbal lapsus in which the speaker blends half one word and half of another. Wikipedia offers this example: “stummy” instead of “stomach” or “tummy.” I’m a fan of these spontaneous, uncontrolled creations. Whenever one is uttered in my presence, I jot it down. Favorites from my personal collection:
refreshions (refreshments + concession [stand])
illeligible (illegible + ineligible)
verocious (ferocious + voracious)
gidget (gadget + widget)
obliviated (oblivious + inebriated)
And then there are instances of a long-form haplology, utterances that create a weird new figure of speech by blending half of one common phrase with half of another (with bonus points for displaying metaphoric confusion). Here are words I’ve actually heard come out of people’s mouths:
“The plaintiff is gonna ring our clock!” (wring our neck + clean our clock)
“He’s green behind the ears” (green, meaning inexperienced + wet behind the ears)
“They handed us a fiat accompli” (by fiat + a fait accompli)
“That’s the point where me and Sam parted waters” (parted company, meaning disagreed + Mosaic parting of the waters)
Less Than an Existentialist
Is it just me or do you too want to barf when, two and a half minutes into this interview on “Morning Joe,” Bret Easton Ellis slips in the word ennui ?
What ever happened to . . . ?
Who knows from whence cometh the tunes that pop into our head and take over the day’s sonic background. The other day I started singing along to a song that appeared from nowhere and just would not let go: “You and Me Against the World“. And I asked myself, what ever happened to Helen Reddy? And the answer is she retired from live performance and returned to Australia, where she is a clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker. More here and at her website (naturally) here.