Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A word game

Earlier this evening, on another blog, I poked a bit of fun at beaureaucratic language that pretties up language while obscuring the meaning. These particular pieces of rhetoric go beyond mere euphemism -- for instance, saying an airplane "made unintentional high-deceleration contact with the terrain" rather than simply saying the plane crashed. The state of New Mexico has decided that signs warning of "Dangerous Crosswinds" might scare away tourists, so the Highway Department has replaced those signs with "Gusty Winds May Exist." One of my favorites of my own invention is when I say I have spent time "in pursuit of undomesticated waterfowl."

Here's your challenge: come up with pre-existing examples, or better yet, invent your own ways of using far fancier words to say something pretty darn ordinary. For best effectiveness, avoid verbs, and concentrate on chains of prepositional phrases. If you must use a verb, try to make it a weak one, like forms of "to be." Use the most polysyllabic words you can find, preferably of Latin rather than Anglo-Saxon origin.

Here's an extended example, from King Friday on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood:

Propel, propel, propel your craft,
Gently down liquid solution,
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically;
Existence is but an illusion.


Now, we no longer have a merry peasant rowing a boat, although when I come to think about it, he really did have an underlying existential philosophy. So, what can you all do with ordinary phrases and sentences?

2 Comments:

Anonymous pL said...

Well, I used to be an Information Distribution Technician.

Tue Jul 19, 10:33:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Ah, yes, with the most scenic paper route in the country.

Wed Jul 20, 12:11:00 AM MDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home