Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

How does a word become a word?

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

How does a word become a word?

Postby Ladyquill » Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:03 pm

I had a Brazilian student with an amazing talent for learning English. I was constantly in stitches with this kid because he also had an amazing ability to make up words. I think my favorite was: impotential - having the potential to render someone impotent. "That girl is so ugly she has impotential." I absolutely can not think of this word and not laugh.

I wonder, how does a word become a word?


LQ
Ladyquill
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:38 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Postby Apoclima » Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:19 pm

Very cute! I've known girls like that!

I think that something becomes a word when at least two people agree on its meaning and use it (with each other) to "name" something.

It may spread from there or not, but it will never become a non-word as long as one person remembers its meaning.

Apo
'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck
User avatar
Apoclima
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:00 pm

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:02 pm

I had a Brazilian student with an amazing talent for learning English.

We Brazilians are all very talented. :P

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Ladyquill » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:10 pm

Apoclima wrote:I think that something becomes a word when at least two people agree on its meaning and use it (with each other) to "name" something.
Apo


Cool! Then I am the creator of a Brazilian word. :o I call all of my students "dorks" - a sort of term of endearment. Well, I added "inha" on the end one day when I called one little girl my little "dorkinha"! The other Brazilian students loved it! It caught on quickly that year and they took it back with them to Brazil. Apparently, they're using it quite regularly. :D Unfortunatly, I became their big "dorkona"...not sure if I like that. :? [/i]
Ladyquill
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:38 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: How does a word become a word?

Postby Stargzer » Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:08 am

Ladyquill wrote: . . . I was constantly in stitches with this kid because he also had an amazing ability to make up words. I think my favorite was: impotential - having the potential to render someone impotent. "That girl is so ugly she has impotential." I absolutely can not think of this word and not laugh. . . . LQ


There's a yearly contest, I think by the Washington Post, to come up with new words such as "impotential." I can't find the link at the moment, but I sure someone can find it. (We're talking about you, Tim. :lol: )
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby Vandalism » Sun Jan 08, 2006 9:56 am

Do you mean 'sniglets'? I was sent this link in a topic I brought up a while back;

http://www.alphadictionary.com/fun/sniglets.html

If a word is a word when one other person understands it then most families and groups of friends have developed some language that has meaning only within their particular circle. Some words catch on, however, and become mainstream.

I've been reading up on 'memes' recently and it has been suggested that language itself is meme; a virus if you will, that transmits itself from one brain to another not by DNA but verbally (among other ways) as an idea. Those words which are catchiest catch on and through some Darwinian style survival of the fittest it is those words that are the most likely to go on 'infecting' one person after another until the idea and the word attached to it are an integral part of the collective mindscape.

hmm.
Vandalism
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:53 am

Postby JJ » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:35 am

Cool.

Sure glad I serendipped into this site! (...onto?...)

Whaddaya mean it's not a word. It could be...

JJ
JJ
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:58 pm
Location: Central Texas, USA


Return to Languages of the World

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests