Category Archives: words

huh?

Standard

The word “huh” packs a lot of meaning into just one syllable. When we use it, we might be expressing confusion, asking for clarification, or requesting that a statement be repeated. We’re also communicating so concisely there’s hardly a break in the conversation, making “huh” the politest kind of interruption.

No wonder, then, that the word “huh” appears in multiple languages. In fact, according to a recent study in the journal PLOS ONE, linguists have found that the word is used to express confusion not only in related language families, but across multiple, independently developed languages. The researchers, who recently won an Ig Nobel Prize honoring their study, argued that “huh?” is so common it may actually be universal.

According to New York Magazine,  the researchers studied conversational use of the word “huh” in 10 different languages, including English, Icelandic, Murrinh-Patha (from Australia), and Cha’palaa (from Ecuador). Though these languages don’t share an origin, they still employ “huh” in much the same way.

The researchers believe that the widespread use of the word “huh” is an example of convergent evolution. In each language, “huh” developed independently, but was shaped by similar environmental or linguistic pressures—for example, the need for a relatively polite way to signal confusion. According to the study, the word “fulfills a crucial need shared by all languages –the efficient signaling of problems of hearing and understanding.”

“Huh” is not an innate human sound, like a grunt or emotional cry, the researchers say. Rather, it’s learned, taught to children, and passed down linguistically from generation to generation. According to researchers, its universality is a result of its important conversational function. Most of us probably take the word “huh” for granted—or don’t even think of it as a word at all—but according to researchers, that’s exactly why it’s so important: It doesn’t draw attention to itself.

 

“before I came here I was confused about this subject.

having listened to your lecture I am still confused. but on a higher level.”

-enrico fermi

 

 

 

Source Credit: New York Magazine, Photo credit: Animal Channel

 

 

 

animal planet

wobbly.

Standard

when i stopped by my favorite coney island restaurant to pick up a giant greek salad

(in detroit, coney dogs and greek food under one roof are a restaurant tradition)

something on their monday special sign stuck out

while the words ‘coney island’ were displayed on 3 signs all around it

and coney island is a part of the restaurant’s name

the special somehow became ‘cony‘ dog monday.

i know how hard it is to be your own editor

and i am easily amused

but it just struck me as really funny

that no one noticed

 it’s the most popular item they sell.

“my spelling is wobbly. it’s good spelling but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

-A. A. Milne

the history of how you felt.

Standard

 loving my new journals and so looking forward to filling them

 

“language allows us to reach out to people, to touch them with our innermost fears, hopes, disappointments, victories.

to reach out to people we’ll never meet.

it’s the greatest legacy you could ever leave your children or your loved ones:

the history of how you felt.”

-simon van booy

 

nursery rhymes.

Standard

“read to your children all of the time

novels and nursery rhymes

autobiographies, even the newspaper

it doesn’t matter; it’s quality time

because once upon a time

we grew up on stories in the voices in which they were told

we need words to hold us and the world to behold us

for us to truly know our souls.”

-taylor mali

in honor of world nursery rhyme week

 

 

 

 

image credit: 1930s vintage etsy art

twitterpated.

Standard

word of the day:  twitterpated

part of speech: adjective

origin: American English, 1940s

  1. infatuated or obsessed
  2. in a state of nervous excitement

 

Examples of twitterpated in a sentence:

“‘Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.’ — Bambi (1942)”

“The family is all twitterpated as they pace around the waiting room for the announcement of the new baby.”

 

When was the last time you were twitterpated?

 

 

“words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.”

-william shakespeare

grandiloquent.

Standard

we all know that person

who uses pretentious words as a means to impress

which generally results in the opposite effect

like when someone uses the word ‘grandiloquent’ in a sentence.

GRANDILOQUENT

part of speech: adjective

origin: latin, late 16th century

definition:

speaking or expressed in a lofty style, often to the point of being pompous or bombastic.

related words:

sentence examples:

Even though Rick did not understand the grandiloquent words, he still used them to impress his wealthy friends. 

When I heard the salesman’s grandiloquent speech, I knew he was trying to make the car deal sound better than it actually was.

 

“i am trying to impress myself. i have yet to do it.”

-shia labeouf

%d bloggers like this: