Archive for the ‘Language/linguistics’ Category
Hugh Paxton’s Blog has no idea whether this is true or not. But it’s short and funny and I thought what the hell , Blog correspondent Leonie sent it to me, and I’ll pass it along!
So that’s what I’m doing!
Cheers from Bangkok
The difference between the words COMPLETE and FINISHED.
No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED.
However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner.
His final challenge was to explain the difference between the words COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand.
Here is his astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE.
But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED.
And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!"
His answer was received with a standing ovation.
Hugh Paxton’s Blog is really comfortable with my name. I’ve had it all my life. I feel like a Hugh Paxton. I AM a Hugh Paxton.
The problem that constantly crops up, however, is the spelling of ‘Hugh’. And ‘Paxton’. And the fact that as soon as I have tried to spell it out over a telephone the conversation rapidly deteriorates into the tower of Babel. It usually doesn’t even start with Hugh. it starts with Paxton.
This phone call was concluded just before I started writing this blog post.
Me: “Sawadee Khrap.” (Hello in Thai)
Her: “Sawadee Khaaaa” (Hello back in Thai)
Me: “My name is Hugh Paxton.”
Her: “What is your last name?”
Me: “Paxton. P-A-X-T-O-N.”
Her: “P for P?”
Me: “Perfect! A perfect “P” and an “A’ as in ‘And’ and an “X” as in “Sex” and a “T” like tea or Thailand.”
TEN MINUTES LATER:
Me: Hugh Paxton. H-U-G-H
Me: No. “H”-“U”-…
Her: “I transfer you. Sank you.”
Me: ” No please! Don’t do that! We are almost there! ‘H’ as in ‘Hello'” Hello? Hello? Hello? Utter bastards on wheels! She’s transferred me!”
A new her: “Sawadee Khaaaaaa!”
Me: “Sawadee Krap. My name is Hugh Paxton…”
Her: “Wat? Can you spell your last name?”
Me: “P. P. P! Hello?”
Her: “I transfer you.”
Me: “Please! I beg you! We haven’t even started wasting time! Hello? Sawadee krap?”
A new her: “Sawadee kaaaa.”
20 minutes later and somebody called Hug Bacon made an appointment to see a doctor. The interesting thing about this exchange is that Hug Bacon will be visiting a doctor called Dr Phattaroyoungphanbumfuk or something like that. My pen ran out of ink at a crucial moment. And I’ve no idea what time my appointment is.
I guess that the point of this story is that some names only cross linguistic boundaries with persistence. And some names will never make it over the borders at all. Lady Gaga? There’s no way that one can go wrong. A six month old baby could say it (without meaning it). Simplicity itself! This might make her popularity understandable. But if she had decided to call herself Mademoiselle Prozxkovky I suspect that her career would have taken a different direction.
As it is, Hugh Paxton, sooner, or usually later, makes it on to paper work and hotel reservations and I’m sure that Hug Bacon will receive the very same high standards of medical attention that would otherwise be directed at some weirdly named freak called Hugh Paxton.
BLOG POST SCRIPT: Come to think of it my name Paxton has not just caused trouble but has saved a fat prostitute from Tahiti from being busted. I was sleeping in a crummy hotel room in Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansion when there was a police raid to nab illegal immigrants. 3 AM the coppers kicked my door in and I was swarmed by small aggressive Chinese yelling “Nam! Nam! Nam!” It took me a while but I then realised they wanted to know my name. “Hugh Paxton,” I said. This drove them into a frenzy. “Pakistan!” they shouted and hauled me out of what passed for a bed. “H-U-G-H” I explained. About twenty minutes later the police let me go and I could not help but notice that everybody in my budget hotel had been arrested and removed. Guests, illegal Pakistani immigrants even the chef. The cooking fires were still on. The hotel caught fire. i decided that enough was enough and spent the next few hours waiting for dawn with a very pleasant, if physically hideous prostitute from Tahiti. She had made good her escape while the Hong Kong coppers were arguing about whether I was a Paxton or a Pakistani.
Hugh Paxton’s blog probably shouldn’t be sharing this but I can’t resist.
This one just for you Hugh,
The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido : All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect : The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.
The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.
And the winners are:
1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.
6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon , n. A Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men .
Hugh Paxton’s blog has bad news. You can’t enter women even if you are a foreigner and are dressed as a man in a Bangkok temple. What is the world coming to?
Yup Brigitte’s back!
Over to the B!
Something for you Hugh!
Wonderful English from Around the World
In a Bangkok Temple:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN, EVEN A FOREIGNER, IF DRESSED AS A MAN.
Cocktail lounge, Norway:
LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.
Doctor’s office, Rome:
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.
Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.
In a Nairobi restaurant:
CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE, OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.
On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi:
TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.
On a poster at Kencom:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO WE CAN HELP.
In a City restaurant:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.
In a Cemetery:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS, FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.
Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE, OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.
On the menu of a Swiss Restaurant:
OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.
In a Tokyo Bar:
SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.
THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE, IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.
In the lobby of a Moscow Hotel, across from a Russian Orthodox Monastery:
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY, WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY, EXCEPT THURSDAY.
A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE, THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT, UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.
Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS. (Just Like British Airways!!!)
A Laundry in Rome:
LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND THEN SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.
It’s a wonder that anyone is able to learn English!
We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing,
Grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing……….
If Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?
Brigitte’s Pick: The Origins of Idioms, Elbow Licking Excercise, and a Lesson About the Workings of the brainNovember 19, 2011
Hugh Paxtons Blog was clearing out an over-stuffed inbox and stumbled on this Brig Pick. I remember reading it, but don’t remember posting it. If I did it’s probably hiding somewhere in my over-stuffed blog history. Posted or not, it’s well worth airing it!
Funny Things You Didn’t Know (Maybe).pdf
Oh Gawd, it’s Brigitte again! This time an English language lesson. Sort of.
Over to Brigitte!
Paraprosdokians A paraprosdokian (from Greek words meaning “beyond” and “expectation”) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.
We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops.
On my desk, I have a work station.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
Hugh Paxton’s Blog thanks Brigitte for her inevitably unpredicatable contributions!
THIS IS GREAT!!! Read all the way to the end……………. This took a lot of work to put together!!!
You think English is easy???
Read to the end . . . A new twist
1) The bandage was woundaround the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce .
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck doesfunny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow tosow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP..
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP…
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so……..it is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.