Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday Words ~ tock-tick

I've never heard of this before, so I want to post it for myself as well as tell you about it.  In case the picture ever disappears, I want the words to remain on my blog.  So I'll type out the whole short article below.
Why 'tock-tick' does not sound right to your ears

Ever wonder why we say tick-tock, not tock-tick; or ding-dong, not dong, ding; King Kong, not Kong King?  Turns out it is one of the unwritten rules of English that native speakers know without knowing.

The rule, explains a BBC article, is:  "If there are three words, then the order has to go I, A, O.  If there are two words, then the first is I and the second is either A or O.  Mish-mash, chit-chat, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, tip top, hip-hop, flip-flop, tic tac, sing song, ding dong, King Kong, ping pong."

There's another unwritten rule at work in the name Little Red Riding Hood, says the article.

"Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order:  opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose noun.  So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife.  But if you mess with that word order in the slightest, you'll sound like a maniac."

That explains why we say "little green men" not "green little men," but "Big Bad Wolf" sounds like a gross violation of the "opinion (bad)-size (big)-noun (wolf)" order.  It won't though, if you recall the first rule about the I-A-O order.

That rule seems inviolable:  "All four of a horse's feet make exactly the same sound.  But we always, always say clip-clop, never clop-clip."

This rule even has a technical name, if you care to know it ― the rule of ablaut reduplication ― but then life is simpler knowing that we know the rule without knowing it.

If a word sequence sounds wrong, it is probably wrong.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Do you know me?

I'm about to post this on Facebook, to see how many people REALLY know me.  Before I tell you my answer, what do you think I love?  How much do you know me, especially those of you who know me only through my online sharing?  So often we imply that you can't possibly know much about me if you don't know me in person, but I think I know a few of you quite well.

My answer takes us to the TWO of TWOsday:
First, I love words.  As a child I loved words and wanted to know more words.  It started on the day I looked up at my uncle as he asked my cousin Nancy, "What grade are you in?"  She understood the question, I guess, because she said, "First grade."  I was puzzled and confused because I could plainly see that she was in a ROOM.  And what in the world is a "firstgrade," anyway?  I determined to learn all the words in the world.  Nancy, by the way, is four years older than I am.  As an adult, I figured that day would have been early May 1943, the day of my grandmother's funeral about a week after my third birthday; Nancy would be at the end of her first grade year in school.  My uncle was wearing a suit, and we were standing in my grandmother's living room.  I know, because I can still see my grandmother's chandelier behind his head.  Wanting to know WORDS is my earliest full memory.

Second, I love books.  Anyone paying attention can easily see that loving books is simply an extension of loving words.  My parents read to me and promised that I, too, would learn to read when I went to school.  (Notice that we could add "like Nancy.")  Though I don't remember the first day of school specifically, there were two family stories of my first day of school.  (1)  While our mothers stood around the first grade room watching, Mrs. Curry called each child up to her desk and asked, "And what are YOU called?"  Knowing I was a wordy person (see?), my mother expected me to explain that I was called "Bitsy" at home, a nickname given to me by my other grandmother because I (her first grandchild) was such a tiny baby.  But no, I simply said, "Bonnie."  And I've been Bonnie ever since.  I was never called "Bonnie" because that was the name of my mother's only sister, and we lived with her.  (2)  I came home very upset that my parents had lied to me.  I went to school, but they did NOT teach me to read that first day.  Very disappointing.  Very!
UPDATE from Facebook comments:
  • Sandy R. ~ Books
  • Jeannie C. ~ your cat.
  • Helen M. ~ reading
  • Toni H. ~ To read ....................................amor
  • Carol H. ~ Your books and cat
  • Jae Tea ~ Friends (and books and cats).
  • Donna C. ~ ("liked" books and your cat, then said)
    I'd add dinner out and study of other religions.
  • Sylvia J. ~ ("liked" books and your cat and reading)
    I could add, your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  If I have lost track and you have great-greats by now, add them.
  • Meg T. ~ Books and book clubs!
  • Stephanie T. ~ Books!!
  • Fartema F. ~ Books!!
Kiki 1-19-12
I've known and met all of these people face-to-face except Jeannie and Helen, and I've "known" both of them online for several years.  There seems to be a consensus that I like books and reading and my cat.  Carol gave me Kiki, who died in 2012.  Kiki's and Clawdia's photos are on the sidebar, but here are a couple of other pictures I like of them.
Clawdia 5-26-17

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ high winds, books, and idioms

Discarded Book

Little Stories for Big People ~ by Sol Gonshack, 1976, vocabulary (65 stories good for ESL students), 7/10
This book was falling apart, with pages brittle and loose.  Rather than throw it in the garbage, I gave it to a Crown Center resident who is from Iran.  He's always studying dictionaries and listening to tapes, trying to learn more about the English language.  One of the hardest things, in my opinion, is grasping the idioms.  This little book has many of them, and he knows he can ask me questions.

The next day, he was trying to understand "green thumb," so I held up my thumb and tried to explain how some of us are good at growing green plants.  He then held up his thumb, with fingers curled below as I'd done, and shook his thumb at me.  "Does this mean 'green thumb' when someone does this toward me?"  Oops!  No, that means "okay" or "well done.

English is so confusing!  Other parts of this book include "Keeping Up with the Joneses" (he may not even know anyone named Jones), "The Lemon" (about a car), "The Eager Beaver" (no, it isn't an animal), "The Worrywart" (a wart?), and "The Absentminded Professor."  But those lessons will have to come later as he gets to those parts of his reading of this little book that sounds childish, but isn't.

Friday night, a windstorm blew through, threatening us with tornadoes.  I saw, the next day when I opened my blinds, that one of the big green umbrellas on the patio below my windows had been blown over, table and all.  Chairs were lying askew around it.  The other umbrella had been closed and was standing intact nearby.  I took this photo later in the day, when I went downstairs to the big rummage sale held by the residents council.

I tried to send the photo to my email FOUR times, and it never arrived.  I'm back to post it on Monday evening.  In the meantime, I'd left this photo of Clawdia looking down at the patio from our sixth floor window in 2015.

Library Loot

Donna, the library lady, has been culling older books from our limited shelves in the Crown Center's small library, making room for donations we'll be getting in early May.  I brought three of the books home with me to read before they are donated to the JCC for their next book fair.

Alaska's Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glaciers ~ by Nick Jans, photos by Mark Kelley, 2005, travel (Alaska)
I picked up this one for the photos of glaciers.  It's small and full of pictures, so I'll read it in a very short time.
When Madeline Was Young ~ by Jane Hamilton, 2006, fiction (Wisconsin)
I've read and enjoyed at least two of Jane Hamilton's novels:  The Book of Ruth (1988) and A Map of the World (1994).
Tallgrass ~ by Sandra Dallas, 2007, fiction (Colorado)
I read and enjoyed her novel Prayers for Sale (2009), and this one is about Japanese internment in the United States during World War Two.
More Sunday Salon posts are on Facebook

Friday, April 13, 2018

Beginning ~ with a positive pregnancy test

"Wow!" I can remember saying as soon as Vivian stepped out of the bathroom and showed me the positive result of the pregnancy test.  "That's great!"  In truth, my feelings were closer to ... Really?  Already?
Two by Two ~ by Nicholas Sparks, 2016, fiction (North Carolina)
At 32, Russell Green has it all:  a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte.  He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that.  But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear ... and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down.  In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality.  Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding ― one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

My novel I'm not (yet?) writing

Four years ago, according to Facebook, I posted this illustration and wrote:
"Now I know why I suddenly forget what I was about to say."
So now I need to figure out how to get this idea into the plot of that novel I'm not (yet?) writing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday Words ~ nexus

Nexus = a connected group or series; 
a connection or series of connections
linking two or more things.

Someone on Facebook suggested we should stop talking about a school to prison pipeline and talk about "a school and prison nexus."  Students wear uniforms, are often treated like criminals or thugs, and don't receive the resources they need, she says.  Teachers in Oklahoma have been documenting the need for books and supplies.  Above is my "favorite" photo of crumbling textbooks.

In this eighth grade history book, which is being used in 2018, George W. Bush is still president of the United States.  Even with uninviting books like this one, there are not enough to go around to all the students.

But back to "nexus" as used to link two or more things.  Someone pointed out that the news reports use prison language when they say schools are on "lockdown."  School resource officers (SROs) have not stopped a single mass shooting that I'm aware of, but they have sometimes been shown to treat the children like thugs or criminals.  And the SROs make more money than the teachers, according to Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Two eggs on TWOsday

I drove a neighbor to her doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon.  Beside the sign-in sheet was this basket of eggs (yes, I know Easter is past).  The sign says:  "Please take one Egg-Blessing especially for you."  Words with the two pictures say:
Left ~ "Each day is a blessing from God."
Right ~ "It is better to give than to receive."
I chose a green plastic egg for myself while Marilyn answered the receptionist's questions.  Inside my green egg (makes me thing of Sam-I-am from the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss) was a folded slip of paper with these words:

Egg-Specially for you

"God is with you no
matter what life brings."
Joshua 1:9

After she had signed in, I showed my egg to Marilyn.  She was wearing purple, so one of those purple eggs went home with her.  I don't have her insert, which was long and started with "The Lord bless you and keep you."  But there you have it:  two eggs on TWOsday.