Category Archives: grammar

Introducing: the Word of the Day

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Yes I know I’ve been promising to write about serious stuff for a while. But cut me some slack. I feel like being timid and frivolous these days.

In that light, and in light of the discontinuation of the Daily Perv Link (TM), I now introduce Deonandia‘s new recurring service: the Word of the Day.

Today’s Word of the Day is gunsel (courtesy of this source).

Gunsel (GUN-zel –noun), from the German “ganslein” meaning “little goose”, is defined as “the orally passive participant in a male homosexual encounter.”

Today’s word was chosen for its relevance to a bit of cinematic history. Remember the Bogart film, The Maltese Falcon? Remember how Bogie would taunt the young gun-toting thug by calling him, “gunsel”? In the novel, the fellow was supposed to be gay. But the author, Dashiell Hamett, was confident that a contemporary American film audience would not pick up on the nuance, and decided to throw in this arcane reference for the literati, showing that Bogie’s character was in fact taunting gunsel’s sexuality more than his youthful thuggishness. (As a result of the film, the word “gunsel” became conflated with”gunman”, since the thug carried a gun, after all.)

You’re welcome.

Fuckwits and Fuckables (Excuse My French)

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(Note: for a variety of reasons, I feel it necessary to direct my readers to the very serious disclaimer -4/16/06)

It’s the end of the fiscal year at my office, and we’re all running about trying to get our “deliverables” done. Clumsy mutations of otherwise elegant English words have always bothered me. Use of the nouns “party”, “impact” and “network” as verbs irks me, as does anyone’s chronic inability to spell “definitely” without an “a”. Similarly, North American society’s glaring ignorance of the difference between “less” and “fewer” is maddening. (Hint: in the grocery store check-out lane, the sign should say, “Eight items or fewer“.)

Continue reading Fuckwits and Fuckables (Excuse My French)

Professional Language

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Greetings from a conference on social medical research, held at the Hellenic Banquet Hall in Ottawa. Sitting here listening to stuffed suit after stuffed suit give presentations, I am struck with a singular observation: professional language has once more devolved.

I remember back in the late 80s, when I was working part-time in the offices of a global head hunting company, noticing for the first time the banality and anti-intellectualism of business speak. As was pointed out in The Simpsons, words like “paradigm” and “inputs” are used by dumb corporate types to make themselves look smarter. Add to that list terms like “touch base” and the evolution of nouns into verbs (eg “party” and “network”).

Lately, I’ve noticed a new entrant: the word “piece”. I keep hearing mention of “the economics piece”, “your piece”, “my piece”, “the political piece”, “the budgetary piece”, yadda yadda.

Cripes, people, find a new word already!