Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This here is the Cat's Particulars

The sewing project I wanted to show is not ready so I'll share some Flapper Fun for today.  The link above is from a book peddler in York, PA.  He found a Flapper's dictionary and was kind enough to post it.  I love things like this.  I love looking at how words were created or evolved over time, how even some of the definitions I don't understand since they are referencing some bit of pop culture that never made it through the ages.  I love hearing older people, heck even people my age, complain about "kids these days" and their lack of respect for the English language. 
I am a great lover of grammar and punctuation and think that there is no excuse for not knowing when to use their, there and they're and I think that a fear or hatred of "big words" is kind of ridiculous and causes you to miss out on words that will make your point come across much clearer.  However, I never forget that language is fluid.   This is why we have some difficulty reading anything written by the Puritans or sometimes even the Victorians.   This is also why English is pretty hard to learn. We have so many words that have been adopted (and then anglicised) from the different groups of people that have arrived here and the rules of how to use all of these words is just as disjointed.  And I love that, I love that we as a culture will change words and phrasing or adopt words to fit our needs and even the region that we are living in. Think of all of the different accents or turns of phrases you can find just in the state of PA, not to mention conversing with someone from a different English-speaking country (the evolution of the phrase Berk is brilliant).  I love that different groups (particularly teens and younger people) create words that needed to be created to express something very specific to their lives. 
Some of these words will be forgotten even by them in a few years and others will live on.  Some will feel like you have never been without them, some may always have that feel of being old-timey (Chatty Cathy, Bees Knees), and others will evolve into such a different meaning or spelling that even linguists won't be able to figure out exactly where it came from (corduroy, nittany). 
I think it's so easy to forget that the young are not the only ones to create words that work in the environment, group or profession they are in.  I love to think back on lists such as this or watch the black and white teen exploitation flicks and read articles about how afraid the older generation was of people who are now in their 60's and beyond and how they were all doomed to become the dredges of society.  In college I worked with the generation that grew up in the 20's and 30's who then would be afraid of the young and parrot back the same fears their their grandparents used in writtings and movies.  Even before then you have quotes such as these so I think it's safe to say this is not a modern issue.  People just have very short memories.

Well, if you got through all of that I'll reward you with some fun time.  Here are my other favorites from the list above:

cancelled stamp
horse prancer
hush money
and of course, rock of ages (I am totally using that when I turn 30 because It Is Awesome)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.