Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing Shakespeare: Making Up Words

I think by now that many people understand or know the tremendous effect Shakespeare has had on the English language. He created many of the common phrases and words we use now. In composition, we say that beginning writers should follow models of strong writing, so why not follow Shakespeare’s example and create new phrases and words? (Just make sure you use them in the appropriate context, e.g. not in a formal cover letter, etc.)

In speech, we can get away with a lot of sayings that aren’t necessarily acceptable in formal writing. So I take the opportunity in my informal speech to introduce words that people probably don’t hear frequently, or ever for that matter. Admittedly, these words aren’t as sophisticated as Shakespeare’s, but I have to start somewhere. For your ease, I have provided definitions, the International Phonetic Alphabet pronunciations (I think my word font changed some of them so bear with me on them), other words I commonly use in place of said made-up words, and usage examples of my most common or my recent favorite made up phrases and words. Take that Shakespeare!

Doink (/dɔink/): n. a person who demonstrates a lack of common sense, See also ding-a-ling or ding-dong; v. to do something incorrectly or mess it up; to lose control of a ball or sports object, see also shank; adj. to be out of place or contorted. "That driver crossed five lanes in one motion. What a doink!" (My mom created this word, and we use it in almost any part of speech in my family frequently, but people outside our family give me funny looks when I do use it. I can’t imagine why . . .)

-esque and -ish. Obviously these suffixes are already in common usage, but I apply it to almost any noun or adjective. For example, officialesque or officialish (I know that these don’t make sense at first glance--how can something have qualities of being official and not be--but if you have ever played church sports, they start to make perfect sense). 

Loquidiot (/lokwIdiǝt/): n. a person who talks incessantly about nonsensical rubbish, a combination of loquacious and idiot. “The loquidiot’s complaining prevented his co-workers from explaining that the door opens by pushing, not pulling it.” (Tracy invented this one with a former roommate.)

Whomp (/wamp/): v. to create an unfortunate or undesirable effect or situation, see also suck. “I have five loads of laundry to do by myself. This whomps!” (I actually remember hearing this on a cartoon called Recess when I was a child. So although I did not create it, I have kept using it and therefore claim it.)

Yoink (/jɔink/): v. to grab; to steal, although not maliciously, see also commonly used pilfer or filch; to borrow. “Mind if I yoink your pen for a second?”

I know I have more, but these are the ones I can think of at the moment. If we talk soon, I’m sure you’ll hear others. 

Have you made up words? I’d love for you to share them!!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! The only words I make up are my swear words: "stinkermonkers," crab/p nuggets," and other such nonsense that spills out of my mouth. The only other word I can think of is the noun "buttstink" as in "You're being a buttstink." That one came around after Caden was born.