My Royal Court

27 June 2011

The Ludicrousness of Linguistics (part 1)

It’s quite well known that I am referred to as a bit of a word nerd.  Yes, I do devote myself to all things related to language.  Yes, I've made peace with that moniker.  On an everyday basis I try to comprehend how it is that certain phrases, words, et al. become ingrained in our culture.  That said, this is the first in a series (understand this may be a considerably vast amount of posts) of questions for you to ponder.  I know I do. 

First up, and I’m certain you’ve heard this one.  Why is that we drive on something called a parkway, but we park in a driveway?  Does this make sense?  Not in the least.  

I posed my lack of understanding for this cliche to many of you during the spring semester.  How did the verb phrase boils down to come into existence?  The word boil is a verb and when something boils, such as water, don’t the bubbles rise as does the temperature? 

Do retail establishments really believe you’ll stop in and buy something if you‘re given a free gift?  Isn’t this a bit redundant?!  A gift is always free.  

Here’s a word I use often during the course of a semester – discombobulated.    Discombobulate is a transitive verb that means to confuse.  Dis is typically used as a prefix and, while it has various uses, one meaning it has is as the opposite of something.  So, if I’m not confused in any way, does this mean I’m combobulated?!

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