Posts Tagged ‘language’

Last week I promised Allan at Ohm Sweet Ohm that this week I’d be featuring a few of the language home runs Yogi Berra hit over the years. Not to be confused with Yogi Bear, although his AP obituary initially stated that Yogi Bear had died, he was an outstanding baseball player for the New York Yankees.  But he is just as famous for his humorous use, or some might say, misuse, of the English language.  Perhaps his best known is “It isn’t over till it’s over.”  But there are many more.  Here are just a few to interject a smile or even a laugh into your day.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

 Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

Half the lies they tell me aren’t true.

Can we believe that Yogi actually said all these things?  I think so, but then again he did say, “I never said most of the things I said.”   So you decide.  🙂

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Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

 

 

I’m a history buff, so this mash-up of student bloopers makes me laugh until I cry.  I don’t know if you’ll cry, but I’m quite sure you’ll laugh, possibly out loud.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD

‘The World According to Student Bloopers’

by Richard Lederer

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following “history” of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers through the U.S., from eighth grade through college. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation.

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This week we’ll take a break from Anguished English because my sister-in-law sent me the results of the Washington Post’s annual neologism contest.  These are just too much fun not to pass on.

(Just did a bit more research and found that these are from 2013.  That means more to come, I’d guess.)

Once again The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Pulled from the headlines:

Mitch McConnell: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Accuses Majority Leader of Lying on Senate Floor Friday

Why lie on the Senate (or any other) floor?  Doesn’t he have a home to go to where he can lie down?  Floors in public places tend to be rather dirty, so I refuse to lie on any of them.

Sometimes that’s just how my mind works.  May you see many sillys this Saturday and enjoy every one of them.

(And please, no serious political comments!)

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.

~George Orwell,  English writer 1903 -1950

The death of meaning

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Words
Tags: , ,

“Politicians made no discernible sense when they spoke, few doctors used the word ‘cancer’ with patients who had it and the word ‘immigrant’ could no longer be prefaced by ‘illegal’. Detach language from meaning and the world was yours.”

The Golden Egg, Donna Leon

I’ve been sitting for a good five minutes trying to decide where to start writing. Thoughts and examples are tumbling through my head and I seem unable to put them in order. Perhaps I’ll just grab onto one at a time as they fly past and throw them onto…not paper…into the ether of the blog? OK, that’s a plan.

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