ENGL 292 Lecture 2 Sept. 16/10
We’re talking about language because we take it for granted
•We treat it like the air we breath
•As students of rhetoric it is important that we start off with a really good base and
understanding of our language
•Language shapes our reality. It is our source of knowledge on many things.
•We are going to start off by “playing” with language
oNews paper headlines
oWords refuse to hold still. How can “wicked” mean good?
oWe drive on a parkway and walk on a driveway
•Lets look at some words with double meanings
oThe soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
oShe picked up her fiddle and bow and took a bow; as she did so, the bow
fell out of her hair and fell over the bow of the ship as the dog said, “Bow,
oDeath: Passed away, gone to heaven, not with us any more, in a better
•Dysphemisms (treat a taboo subject lightly and with no respect)
oDeath: kicked the bucket, crocked, 6 feet under
•Sometimes there isn’t a word for what we’re talking about
o“hybrid words” urban dictionary/word spy
Qwerty tummy illness spread through public keyboards
oInoculatte: to take coffee intravenously when you are running late
•Jabberwocky, from alice through the looking glass
oThe understanding we are able to gian from this poem is due to our
understanding of grammar. We can make assumptions about what words
must mean due to this.
•Descriptivism vs. prescriptivism
o Prescriptive think grammar naiz
oDescriptive, looks at how language is actually used
oRecently a linguist studied how young people used the word like and the
means created by it. Some examples of it’s consistent means are:
To give yourself a pause (rather then using um)
oThe TV show friends changed the way we used the word so.
I’m so hungry vs I’m so going to fail this course
•Characteristics of language
oIt is not created, it evolves with us as we need it
oOld English had “case endings” on the subjects rather then changes in
verbs (think German and how you could say Germany loves me or I love
Germany and it meant the same thing)
It is our source of knowledge on many things: we are going to start off by playing with language, lets look at some words with double meanings, news paper headlines, riddles, words refuse to hold still. Qwerty tummy illness spread through public keyboards. Jabberwocky, from alice through the looking glass understanding of grammar. To give yourself a pause (rather then using um: the tv show friends changed the way we used the word so. Germany and it meant the same thing: characteristics of language. Sept. 16/10: no one said hey, lets drop the case endings. it just happened, and we started to have a specific word order and conjugated verbs, here are some examples of words we"ve lost over the years. Fishfag (women who worked with and marketed fish) Bowfarts (on one"s back and unable to rise) Fribbler (someone who loved a women but wouldn"t commit) Prickmedainty (ridiculously exact in dress or carriage)