Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Puns and Other Linguistic Shenanigans

I have a cold. This is cold number three of Cold-Season, which doesn't seem to be taking a break in spite of the fact that Winter is apparently vacationing in Aspen this year. It's not a bad cold this time--as in, it's an actual cold, limited to sniffling, sneezing, and not being able to breathe properly, as opposed to a multitasking cold which takes on the responsibilities of the flu and bronchitis, too.

This morning, after a violent sneeze (which I issued into my shoulder and not, since you were probably wondering, into anyone's drinks), I announced to Starbucks Erika and the morning customers who were present, that today we would not be calling our staple beverage "coffee," but "sneezy." (You might have to say that out loud to yourself to get the joke.) Please somebody laugh at that. At least a chuckle? Or a derisive snort? (Be careful with that last one, though, if you have a cold, too.)

Here is another word-game I was playing with myself this afternoon while driving home:

Why do we say, "infinity" and "finiteness"? Is "finiteness" even right? Did some late-twentieth century North American make that up and, like "orientated," it stuck? On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the word has never been "finity," though it seems like it should be (in spite of the fact that it looks sort of like "finicky."). "Finitude" would be okay. It sounds smarter than "finiteness." Who decided on the endings for all these latinate words anyway? And why did they decide what they did? We could talk about finitude and infinitude and it would be a lot more consistent. And attitude, for the matter of that.

4 comments:

GreekGeek said...

I LOVE your description of your cold(s). I'm sorry, that's probably not fair at all, considering that you're currently suffering from said entity.
Umm, I had a reason for starting to post on here. It's gone. Vanished. hmm....

i hope you feel better soon...? =}

(btw, I like musing about words like that. good luck getting people to start talking about infiniteness...)

Dave Grosser said...

Hee. I like the winter vacationing in Aspen one the best.

Jenn said...

Yeah--I kind of liked that one, too. :)

revjas said...

I did get the "coffee"/"sneezy" joke on the first reading. But I chuckled all the way through the first paragraph -- and chortled on the winter-in-Aspen bit! Brilliant writing! What a comic!

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