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 :).