Seven Word Limit?

Posted to CG2 – Jan 13, 2023

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is LIMIT

Here’s an interesting question WordPress posed on this subject back on Oct 22, 2015. I’ll just tweak my response and you can share your opinion in the comments. Did you answer this question back when it was posed?

“Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?”

My first thought: Poets need words! How could a writer like Gibran subject himself to a seven-word limit? This idea would have put him out of business in an hour.

They say we use our few most common words for the greater part of our speech, but I doubt that me, you, he, she, they, is, am, are, yes and no, this and that, wouldn’t go far in communicating. It would help if the whole world understood the same nods, head shakes, and gestures. But I’ve learned from international hockey games that where we North Americans yell “Booo,” Russians whistle. Unhappy fans all stamp their feet, I believe.

And which language? We English believe we have the international language, so of course they should be our words. The folks in China may well dispute this and want to give us their seven words. Then we’d have an argument which would defeat the purpose of international harmony.

I’m a bit cynical in my old age. Writers may rhapsodize about universal love and harmony, but reality is a whole ‘nother ball game. I think of John Lennon singing “All we need is love,” while carrying on an extra-marital affair, divorcing his wife, abandoning his family. Love has to be directed or it can be destructive. The breakup of the Beatles, to quote Sir Paul, “was like a bitter divorce.” No “Love, love, love.”

Re: those seven words. Maybe we could skip nouns and verbs and go for adjectives? Awesome! Wonderful! Yuck! Cool! Gross! Sweet! Terrible! Weird! Teens come close to that already.

Thinking we earthlings could understand each other better if limited to seven words – even if we all spoke the same seven – is a whimsical dream, methinks. I wonder if Gibran could have stood this restriction himself for even a day? Could you?

Image: Pexels — Pixabay

More of Montréal

I’m having fun recalling things about Montréal. Hope you these linguistic trials give you a smile.

French 1 newbie
Je suis née…
not je suis nue!

La rivière march?
Well my dictionary says
marcher means to run

Centre d’achats
sounds like sang de chat.
My tutor shrieks

Sound bites…
“Did you hate your supper?”
“No, I liked it!”

Notes for non-francophones:
Né (M) née (F) means born; nu (M) and nue (F) means nude.

Marcher means to walk like a person walks, or to run like a machine/car would run. La rivière coule, meaning flows. (Better as la rivière s’écoule.) Le camion (truck) s’écoule would get you a chuckle, too, I think.

Centre d’achats is a shopping center; sang de chat means cat’s blood. Yes, my tutor did shriek a bit over that one. 🙂

Francophones have trouble getting the right vowels, too, at times, plus they tend to tack on an “h” now and then. The hair is cool this evening. I hate pizza for supper. Did you hate some, too? Or leave it off, like Cockneys. ‘ave you seen ‘im today?

Dictionaries can bring such chaos. I corrected a French-to-English translator who used remove the apple heart, meaning core, because in the dictionary celery had a heart, so the apple must, too. Our word “fit” can mean like a garment fits, but also someone had a seizure. That has brought some intriguing translation woes.

Some Days You Feel Like…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is RESIDUE, a word which means that which remains.

Image by adege — Pixabay

Residue comes to us, along with many cousins, from the Middle French sedentaire and ultimately from the Latin verb sedere, meaning to settle. Through the years we’ve made much of this verb, stretching it out into words like dissident, sedition, preside, reside, sedentary, sediment, session, and even subsidy.

Reservoir, coming from reserve, refers to an extra supply held back, kept in store for future use. Sometimes when we feel fatigued, we are still able to draw from a reservoir of energy to give that last boost that helps us complete the task.

I’d like to have a full reservoir of energy, the oomph to accomplish tasks, especially now that it it’s spring, but with my CLL, my energy level feels more like the last bit left than an extra supply.

Image by Couleur — Pixabay

No Encroaching Here!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is ENCROACH

To me this is such an old-fashioned sounding word, like something Chaucer or Shakespeare might have used. Like the branches of Burnham wood slowly encroaching on Macbeth’s castle. Anyone remember that scene?

According to my book of word meanings, encroach and crochet have a common root. To encroach on something is to try snagging the thing, or attempt to catch it with a hook, coming from the French word, encrochier : “to seize with a hook.” Even more interesting, the French borrowed the root word “croc” from the Norwegian krokr, meaning hook – the word that has streamed off into the English crook, someone who snatches things wrongfully.

We got a little demonstration of encroachment yesterday afternoon. I’ve been feeding a stray cat that somehow landed on this property at some point in spring and likely found a safe place to stay in one of the farm buildings next door. He’s very timid – in fact that’s what I’ve named him. Since he doesn’t belong to the neighbours, they don’t include him when they put out food for their several tame farm cats. So, since I have a soft heart for cats, I’ve been feeding him all fall.

Yesterday one of the neighbour’s cats, a pretty calico, wandered over to our yard and happened to be near the garage when I set out a bowl of food for Timid. The calico took a notion that she could encroach on his food dish. He didn’t attack her, but expressed his displeasure quite sternly. No encroaching of any kind tolerated here!

Image by ArtTower — Pixabay

Had she reached out a claw and snagged some of his food, the calico would have been encroaching in the true sense of the word. Doesn’t work very well with dry cat food, though.

We’ve enjoyed a long mild fall with almost no snow, in fact last week was delightfully mild for this time of year. It has worked so far to feed the stray. But a cold wind is blowing from the northwest today and the temp is dropping steadily, so I suppose we won’t see so much of Timid once winter really settles in. Hopefully the mice around wherever he shelters are well fattened.

But We’re Canadians

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Merriam-Webster listing all the new words they’re adding to the dictionary this month. I see Heather at Ragtag Daily Prompt has decided to use one of these for today’s prompt. AMIRITE isn’t a word as much as a slurring together of several –something that’s been going on for quite awhile, as you will see in my little dialogue.

Mom squeezed Lanny’s shoulder. “You know our rules, Lanny. None of your friends stay here overnight without us knowing. When we’re away we want to know what’s going on here.”

“So I’m grounded,” Lanny mumbled. “Amirite?”

“Yes, you’re grounded. And can you please pronounce your words properly. It’s Am. I. Right.”

His sister Bella spoke up. “Don’t you know, Mom, that amirite is now a proper word? You can even look it up; it’s one of the newest words is Webster’s dictionary.”

“What next! People just can’t jumble a bunch of words together and call it a new word. The English language will degenerate into a series of mumbles that no one understands.”

“Too late, Mom,” Lanny replied. “People have been jamming words into each other for centuries. Like however. That’s in the dictionary.”

“And henceforth,” Dad put in. Mom glared at him.

“And moreover,” Bella added.

Mom sighed. “Nevertheless…”

“See! How many eons ago did someone run that one together?”

Bella grinned. “Yeah. Whensoever did that happen?”

Lanny waved his hand dramatically. “And furthermore, old Daniel added it to his dictionary.”

Mom shook her head. “I give up.”

“BUT,” Dad said sternly, there’ll be no amirites here. We’re Canadians and ‘EH’ will do nicely.”

“So I’m grounded, eh?”

“You got it.”

“Come on, Lanny,” said Bella. “Lets make ourselves some fluffernutters.”

Dad’s eyebrows went up. “What in the world…”

Lanny smirked. “You’ll have to look it up in the dictionary.”

Mom looked helplessly at Dad. “Will we ever understand them?”

Up, Off, and Back Again

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is the simple word OFF.

My first thought was of the way we English speakers use prepositions to add new meaning to verbs. So this little sort-of-tale will be my response to this prompt.

Blow up
Tell off
Tear up
Stomp off
Sober up
Cool down
Think through
Grieve for
‘Fess up
Make up
Work out
Carry on

My dear hubby told me yesterday that he’s having trouble adding an image to his post, so I’ll give it a try. (No problems here.) We’re finding that Word Press has been throwing some wrenches in our gears lately. How about you?

This photo comes from Pixabay, submitted by Steve Buissinne. The words are my adaptation of an old quote.