Monday, June 15, 2009

1904

ONE

According to
Thomas R. Lounsbury,
a professor at Yale University
the English language has been
steadily infilterated by both
barbarisms and vulgarisms.

And even though 1904
was a long time ago,
I agree. One thing that
makes me sad, for instance,

Is that we no longer use
the word ‘vulgarism’

Nor do we use ‘barbarism’

much.

TWO

But there’s a lot more
to it, really. For example,

Did you know that the third
person neuter, once upon
a time, was not ‘It’ but ‘Hit’?

So if you are going to place
a ‘hit’ on someone now, that
means you are going to off them,
Corleone-style, but then it
could mean that you were going
to put some kind of object on
him, like a raisin on his shoulder–
or the anvils you see drawn so
majestically in old cartoons–on
his face–and that he would live
to love another day,

with a raisin on his shoulder or his
face smooshed, via of course the anvil.

THREE

I shouldn’t admit that I didn’t
know this about it, but of course
you and I have known each other
for a long time, and I do not
get easily embarrassed in front
of you, in fact, I love you. Not
like I am in love with you, but
I really do love you at least a
little bit. I am really in love
with Alexander Pope and
John Gielgud. I like the way
they talk.

FOUR

‘You’ hasn’t changed like ‘It’
has. It still says ‘you’ and that’s
that. When I say ‘you’ I mean
everybody, but not me.

Or it.

FIVE

Here’s another interesting deal
about English:

‘Sprung’ ‘Sung’ & ‘Drunk’
were once

‘Sprungen’ ‘Sungen’ & ‘Drunken’
which I bet you didn’t know.

I found out last night reading Mr.
Lounsbury while you were probably
at a bar, drunken.

SIX

‘Held’ for ‘Holden’ ‘Sat’ for ‘Sitten’
& ‘Stoode’ for ‘Stonden.’

“We are fickle common people
mobile vulgus and we like to change things.”

SEVEN

Why stop now? Worried about a heart attack
of the English language? Not really. In fact,
they say if you laugh aloud every day, the
chances are you will have a healthier heart,
and die instead of something like cancer
or a train accident.

‘Hide’ and ‘Chide’ are verbs of the weak
conjugation. But it gets worse. In the 16th

Century, they gussied up the look this way:

‘Hidden’ and ‘Chidden.’ I know. I feel
the exact same way. You needn’t say a
thing. I can read your mind. Our brains
are melding and it’s really awesome.

EIGHT

And that’s not all. In fact, we are only up
to like, page 2 of Thomas R. Lounsbury
interesting article.

There’s still ‘Alonges’ “Amiddes’ and
‘Amonges.’ And God if I don’t dig
‘Drownded.’ But that’s quite enough
for me.

For if I continue, I will be rich with sorrow,
for Grammarians scarcely laugh at all,
and tend to die of broken hearts, not
train wrecks.

Meanwhile, in my comfortable house,
The limpid pools of change make me clutch
the air to the bosom of my heart and I hold
it as tight as can be gasping for air and nobody
sees me laughing and nobody sees it laughing
neither but me.

1 comment:

mistivelvet said...

my new favorite word is "intelligentsia"
(was watchin' the special features of "Pollock" last night)

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