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BANAL

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BANAL

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:40 pm

• banal •

Pronunciation: bê-næl, bay-nêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Trite, commonplace, drearily pedestrian, boringly ordinary.

Notes: Today's word is one that many English-speaking folk avoid using because we are not sure how to pronounce it. In addition to the two pronunciations given above, the British tend to prefer [bah-nahl]. Do use this very Good Word with whichever pronunciation fits the flow of your sentence; they are all correct. The noun is banality and the verb, meaning "to make banal", is banalize [bay-nêl-aiz].

In Play: Banal combines the senses of commonplace and boring: "Reality television has helped those of us who think our lives are banal understand the banality of the lives of others, including the rich and famous." If it is boring, it is likely to be banal: "Francis, what could be more banal than dinner and a movie? Take Melanie bungee-jumping or white-water rafting, for heaven's sake!"

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Old French banal "related to compulsory feudal service", based on ban "summons to military service". The meaning of our word today then comes from the French sense related to the lives of serfs, which were very ordinary and uninteresting to the keepers of the language in those days. In Old English bannan meant "to proclaim, speak publicly", reflecting the original meaning of the root (bha- "to speak"). This root emerged in Latin as fari "to speak". The present participle of fari is fan(t)s "speaking", so "not speaking" would be infan(t)s—a word which also meant "infant", a non-speaking human being. (Today we thank Kathleen of Norway for suggesting a Good Word that is itself anything but banal.)
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Re: BANAL

Postby gailr » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:01 am

Word History: In Old English bannan meant "to proclaim, speak publicly", reflecting the original meaning of the root (bha- "to speak").

Bannan also gave us Banns of Marriage, announcements from the pulpit for the three Sundays prior to upcoming nuptials. Decent people were expected to raise their objections during the banns and not spring them as a dramatic surprise during the actual ceremony. That means you, Mr. Richard Mason... Requiring the banns also, it was hoped, reduced elopements among those crazy kids.

I've seen this written by the unaware as Bans of Marriage, one of those slips which may reveal the true opinion of the couple-to-be, and as Bands of Marriage. Not sure if that indicates a romantic streak in those writers or a pessimistic hint at the "dreary" and "compulsory feudal service" aspects...

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Are they still Banned in Boston?
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Postby Perry » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:48 pm

Your headdress needs a banned-ana this week. :roll:
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Re: BANAL

Postby skinem » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:57 pm

gailr wrote:
Requiring the banns also, it was hoped, reduced elopements among those crazy kids.


Given what I've seen as the average cost of a wedding these days, we're PRAYING for elopment...or at least trying to sell the kids on the romantic atmosphere of the courthouse. We tell them they'll be just as married. I don't think they're buying it. :cry:
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Re: BANAL

Postby sluggo » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:30 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:...bay-nêl • Hear it!


Here we go again, memories of kibosh and criminy rush the head like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist.)
.... I've always wondered if a speaker of the pronunciation #2 as quoted is not having us on a bit. Only one person have I ever known not to rhyme this with canal, and that one was rarely ever serious.

How say the audience? bê-næl (1), or bay-nêl (2)?

I smell a run of puns a-comin'...
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Postby Perry » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:54 pm

Gail, I am glad to see that you took my suggestion seriously. I suppose that if you told me how you managed to put the bandana on your avatar, you would have to kill me. :wink:
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Postby gailr » Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:44 pm

Perry wrote:Gail, I am glad to see that you took my suggestion seriously. I suppose that if you told me how you managed to put the bandana on your avatar, you would have to kill me. :wink:

I had to; it was a pretty good suggestion! But no worries, I only use my powers for good. All one needs is Illustrator + PhotoShop and a creativity exercise of generating variations on a theme.

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