Lingua Brava

March 30, 2009

Intro / Friggin’ Stove / I Just Want You to Know

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodorthought @ 12:56 am


Hello, welcome to Lingua Brava! A quick introduction before we get underway (you can read more About me here).


I’m a wordsmith by trade – writer, editor, communications specialist – and a language geek.


Words, the different things they can convey, how we string them together to express thoughts, how each of us has our own style of saying (or trying to say) what we mean through the language we choose. I’m not talking about nouns and antecedents, or subject-verb agreement; that’s the day job. What gets me giddy is words in active play and the people behind the language. The wonderful and crazy things we do with it, what we say in the moment, the phrases we put together, how we express ourselves, and sometimes, what it might reveal about us.


Admittedly, I’ve been known to dwell a moment too long on something I’ve heard or read, but I’m not complaining. It may be geeky – it surely is – but it’s fun to be tuned in when, say, I’m driving down a country road in rural Ohio and pass a big cardboard sign, handlettered that says, “Frig ‘n Stove: $50.” “Hey,” I say to my companion, “There’s a friggin’ stove for 50 bucks.” “That means a refrigerator – fridge – and a stove,” he says. Well I know it means that, but I get a kick thinking about the unlikely alternative, like something out of a sitcom, where Papa Podunk says, “Ma, we just got to get rid of this friggin’ old stove.” Ma says, “Then put a sign out on the road,” and so he does.


More recently – yesterday – I’m driving in the car, listening to a new CD by Traffic (new for me anyway), and there’s a song coming up, “I Just Want You To Know.” This implies – right? – a personal, maybe important message? Some kind of message is coming, so I’m listening. And Steve Winwood’s singing, “I just want you to know,” then again, “I just want you to know,” eight times in a row, and then some guitar, some “doodoo-DOO, doodoo-DOO,” some more guitar … then the song’s over, fades out. Waitwhat?? I want to know! But it’s over and I’m not going to find out, am I? And what about the person back in 1970 to whom his “message” was intended? Did they* ever find out? Can you imagine saying to someone, “Hey, listen here, there’s something I just want you to know,” then following that up with “doodoo-DOO, doodoo-DOO”? How anticlimactic is that?? 🙂


I make no apologies for amusing myself this way. It gives me a chuckle, a diversion, something to think about later. It’s not always humorous; sometimes serious stuff sticks, too. Either way, it makes a day a little bit more interesting, and who can’t get juiced from a bit more of that?


Anyway, I just want you to know, this blog is devoted to language in play, its context on the stage of life. The quirky, the awkward, the thought provoking. Sometimes what we say hits the spot, the right word or right message at the right time. Sometimes it’s inadvertently silly or misses the mark, causes a chuckle or a pause. Sometimes, something we read or hear is so poignant, or so right-on, or so different, it sticks with us. On the fly, off the cuff, crafted, credible, inedible, or indelible. Stay tuned.



*Note to purists: Don’t ding me for a singular/plural/”he/she/they” infraction. We’re having fun :).



  1. I love your post! You and I are on the same wavelength with looking at signs and laughing. You’ve given me an idea for something to write. Hope I get to it someday!

    Comment by Sandy Young — April 1, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  2. Michelle,

    Another kindred spirit chiming in — I loved your entry. I react the same way to language oddities as you, and you’re FUNNY! I can’t wait to read more. I love your tone.

    Comment by Dee — April 3, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  3. Hi, Michelle — Apart from the cheeriness of your post about how language used in real life affects you, I also liked the cool way your website’s homepage is shown in a “Snapshot.” Better than that sign for a Fridge ‘n Stove, I’d say! Good luck with this brave or bravura foray into commenting on public language.

    Comment by Laurel Marshfield — April 4, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

  4. Funny post from a funny (and cute) gal! Blog away Shelly, hope you have some more thoughts coming.

    Comment by Karl — April 5, 2009 @ 10:43 am

  5. Michelle, I really like the first entry of your blog. You’ve got a clear voice and aren’t afraid to use it! I also liked your observations (fridge and –> frig’n) because I grew up in a family of punsters, so I’m curious to see what a kindred spirit will write about 🙂

    In terms of suggestions… As with a few of the blogs (including mine–probably because they’re our first attempts) I kept wondering what the blog would be about. Your last graph spells it out. What if you somehow worked it into a tag line: “Lingua Brava, Language in Play” or something like that? Actually “Lingua Brava. Language on the fly, off the cuff, crafted, credible, inedible, or indelible. Stay tuned.” sounds just awesome.

    The post was long for a blog, but because it was so conversational, it didn’t feel long. That’s a skill!

    Visually, I’m a fan of less is more, so overall the design appeals to me. I like the serif font for the header and the dash of color that matches the pen nib.

    I think your what-you-see-is-what-you-get voice will inspire me a bit! I look forward to reading more.

    Comment by Beth — April 5, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  6. As a copy editor I really appreciate your love of language and your tongue-in-cheek
    descriptions. You are a keen and funny observer of life and all its hilarity. Looking forward
    to more of your fine work in class and beyond.

    Comment by Marie — April 5, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

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