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Just Jot it January, 2019: January 5

“Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sap/sep/sip/sop/sup.” Use one or all of these words or find a word that contains them, but most of all, have fun! Wondering what to do with “sep”? This is interesting: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=SEP Enjoy!” (https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/04/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-5th/)  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).

I will also reiterate that, according to the prompt link from Linda, that this is also a Stream of Consciousness Friday post.  Which will work out well, since my Just Jots are pretty much all SoCs too!

Ok.  Does anyone here know that my Masters degree is in Linguistics?  Yes, it is.  I even taught for 10 years in post-secondary Linguistics programs.  No, my current job (and the main “career” I have had for 25 years now) has absolutely nothing to do with linguistics, but it was my degree.  My first university degree was Music Performance (double bass), but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Anyway, I digress.  As a linguist, and yes, I still call myself a linguist although I am a bit rusty, I was this list of words like this and wanted to tell you that they are called minimal pairs (here are some more examples:  http://www.tedpower.co.uk/minimal0108.html).  Because they are almost the same, beginning with an “s”, ending with a “p”, but having different vowels in between these consonants.  There are, however, a few missing.  That is, if I assume “sap” is pronounced like the sap of a tree, “sep” is pronounced like “unacSEPtable”,   “sip” is pronounced like what I am doing with my coffee right now, “sop” as in what I had to do when I spilled my coffee because I wasn’t sipping it, and “sup” is pronounced like “what’SUP?!?”  What about “soup”?  Or “seep”?  Or “soap”?  Or “sAp”, as in “homo SAPiens”?  Ok, yes, there are a few other English vowel and diphthongs I could add, but I can’t think of some good “s-p” examples for you (not enough coffee yet…still sipping…)

I could also go into the whole English spelling thing, and talk about the Great Vowel Shift and how this had a large impact on the English spelling we are stuck with today, and why it doesn’t always seem to match with how we pronounce things.  And it gets a lot more complicated when we examine all the many dialects of English that exist today.  Suffice it to say, it’s complicated.  I do, however, get a bit snippy when people tell me how crazy “English” is – it’s not the language, it’s the spelling system!  And when some people complain about how English is “going downhill” or being “bastardized” by the way people speak it.  It’s a language, and languages evolve and change.  People in England don’t speak English the way they did 200 years ago, nor do people in France speak French they way they did 200 years ago.   Maybe instead of complaining, we should embrace it – wonder why people are saying words they way they do, or using words in different ways.  It’s actually kind of interesting when you learn more.

Ok.  That took me someplace I was not expecting.  I should probably stop now because I am sure I have pissed somebody off – people take their English very seriously!  Time to get back to my coffee…

Just Jot it January: January 20

“Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “oc.” Find a word that starts with “oc” and use it in your post. Bonus points if you start and end with your post with an “oc” word. Have fun!” (https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/19/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-19th-2018/)  These Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (http://ultimateblogchallenge.com).

So, today, being Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I’m supposed to write a post using a word that starts with “oc”, and use it in my post.  But, of course, since I am still working through the 500 words a day challenge, I will need to somehow make this post 500 words.

The first challenge is to pick a word that begins with “oc”.  I think I have a lot of choices.  Some of the ones I’ve seen today are occasion, ocelot, and, what else?  I’ve forgotten.  But there are lots of words.  Bigly words.  Some of the best words, you might say.

How about occupy?  I think that’s a good one for some of the stuff going on today.  How some people choose to occupy their time given government shutdowns and how certain presidents occupy their time blaming everyone by themselves, even though they were quite clear a few years back that shutdowns are the president’s fault.  Maybe occupy isn’t the best choice today.

I rather like the word occult.  Since I was born on Hallowe’en, there has always been a bit of occultishness in my life.  Black kitties, Friday the 13th, witches, vampires – I love them all!  And nothing like a good ghost story to go to bed with…

Ocean.  Now there is an interesting one.  Occupy and occult sound like ok at the beginning, but ocean sounds like osh.  But I do love the ocean.  It’s one of the things I love about living here, and one of the things I need in a house here.  I mean, if we are going to live here, we should live near the ocean, and by that I mean within walking distance…reasonable walking distance.  I mean, everything here is “near” the ocean, but right now, we are 3 blocks from it, and that works for me!

Oh, oh, oh… Octopus!  I love this word.  Why?  Well, not because I like the creature (I don’t dislike it, but I wouldn’t want one for a pet), and not because I like eating it (although I do, but only when it’s been cooked right – our favourite restaurant, Olo, does a great octopus appetizer!).  So, why do I like this word?  It’s because of the plural.  Some people would say the plural of octopus is octopuses.  And then some know-it-all would say no, it’s octopi.  But all those people are what I like to call wrong.  Believe it or not (and I don’t really care if you don’t, ‘cause I’m right), the plural of octopus is octopodes.  Why?  Because it’s a Greek word, NOT a Latin word.  You were fooled by the “us” at the end, which usually has the plural “i”, you know, as in cactus – cacti, and fungus – fungi, and nucleus – nuclei.  But NOT octopus.

So, now you can amaze all your family and friends by telling them what the real plural of octopus is.

Disclaimer:  If you do a search for octopodes online, you will find conflicting reports of its accuracy as the plural of octopus. Those people are all crazy, and probably say octopi.

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