Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Speaking English

The morning papers and one blog have been refining my knowledge of English this morning.

Right off the bat - so to speak - we learned in Doug Kirkorian's column in the Long Beach PT that earning $465,000 a year is a "pittance". At least it is for a baseball player, so perhaps "pittance" is relative.

The WSJ gifts us with a new word: to Salahi. Vide:

To Salahi: v. U.S. [after 21st century reality-show aspirants Michaele and Tareq Salahi] 1. intrans. to gain entrance to an event or gathering to which one is not invited. "They Salahied into the Bar-Mitzvah even though they didn't know the Goldblatt boy, and ate most of the chopped-liver sculpture of Elvis." Shakespeare, Sonnet MMIX. 2. in a general sense to appear where one is not welcome. "Michael Moore Salahied into George and Laura Bush's second honeymoon to lecture the former president about justice for the undocumented immigrants held at Guantanamo." Chomsky, Profiles in Courage. 3. to forge, fake or pretend, especially in hope of achieving a contemptible or pathetic objective that is simultaneously a comment upon the corruption and distastefulness of a particular individual and society itself. trans. "To elevate his chances of becoming a Chippendales dancer, Arnold Toynbee Salahied a letter of recommendation from Rosa Luxemburg. Al Franken, An Intellectual History of the United States.

And Molly has dusted off a wonderful old word: stravage. It's found in Scotland, Ireland, and the north of England and means to wander aimlessly, to saunter, or to stroll. This is excellent. I do an enormous amount of that. Stravage should come in very handy. I would very much like to incorporate that into. . .well, anything. It should pop up any day now in The Inn. Unfortunately, use in conversation will have to wait until I get an authoritative ruling on pronunciation. There are two samples on the web. One says "STRAV-idge" and the other "struh-VAIG". There's always something.