Just Jot it January, 2019: January 11

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 11th is brought to you by M! Click here to find her last SoCS post and say hi while you’re there! M’s word for our prompt today is in SoCS style: “flew/flu/flue.” Use one, use them all, use them anywhere in your post or make one or all the theme of your post. Have fun!” (https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/11/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-11th/)  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (http://ultimateblogchallenge.com).

Another linguistics prompt!  Flew Flu Flue – words that sound the same, but are spelled differently.  What are these called you ask?  Well, they are called homophones – homo for “same” and phone for “sound”.  Not to be confused with homographs.

Ok, I’ll tell you what homographs are too. They are words that are spelled the same (but may or may not be pronounced the same).  Like present (I got a present for Christmas) and present (I will present the award tomorrow night).  Or bass and bass (I play the bass, I went bass fishing).

There are many examples of both in English, as well as of words that are spelled similarly but not pronounced the same.  Like tough, though, thought.  I mean, really.

Then there are homonyms.  Homonyms, depending on who you talk to, but you’re talking to me, are two words that are spelled the same, AND sound the same, but have completely different meanings.  Some people think a homonym can be a homophone OR a homograph.  I say, yeah, right…you’re dreaming.  An example of a homonym is pitcher and pitcher – a pitcher holding water, versus a pitcher throwing a ball.  Or band and band, as in a jazz band versus a band of gold.

Some days I think it’s amazing we can ever figure out what someone is trying to tell us!  But it’s not just English – most (if not all) languages have homophones and/or homonyms and/or homographs.  I believe you even have homophones of sorts in American Sign Language (where one sign could have different meanings).

In the case of homophones, homographs, and homonyms, context is key.  We can usually (not always) tell which word or meaning is meant in the context of the entire sentence, paragraph, etc.  The difference between “bass” and “bass” should usually be pretty obvious (generally speaking, you don’t cast your fishing line in hopes of catching a large wooden string instrument).  If, however, I just yell “Duck!”, you might be confused as to whether you need to get down out of the way of something coming at your head, or get out of the way because you are about to be attacked by a member of the waterfowl family Anatidae.  Just saying.

I’ll finish whining now and get back to …

Posted on January 11, 2019, in Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Haha! Excellent! Who says grammar is hard….?!

  2. Round these parts, one can often here pitcher in lieu of “picture” 😛

  3. I truly enjoyed this post, being somewhat of a word nerd, myself.

  4. Thanks for straightening me out on homophones, homographs, and homonyms. I never knew which one to use.

  5. So fun, and I’m glad we grew up learning this language. I’d have a hard tome learning it now, I think. Reminds me of an old I Love Lucy episode where Ricky is reading a story to the baby, and getting all the words messed up. 🙂

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