Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grammatical terms that 'sound dirty'? Don't get me started.

Via HuffPo, here's this piece on "11 Grammatical Words And Terms That Sound Dirty". But PLEASE. 'Diphthong' sounds like it should mean underwear? And compound and hyphenate? Can you really get those to 'sound dirty' if you're not 12 years old?

Talk to a linguistics student … here's the stuff that occurs to me immediately:
  • clitic (forms that 'lean on' other words, like the negative part of 'shouldn't'. And yes, there's a whole lit on cliticization, clitic, climbing, clitic positioning and clitic stacking.)
  • expletive insertion (often called 'fucking insertion', using for infixation, also euphemistically called 'bloody insertion' something, which is worse here.)
  • copula (verbs basically like 'to be'.)
  • Wackernagel's Law (in German, 'lively nail' and yes it MEANT what you think as a name.)
  • Government & Binding (old syntactic model; I knew a guy who said he wouldn't read Lectures on Government and Binding in coffee shops after somebody asked him if it was about politics or S&M.)
  • exhaustive domination (from syntax, which sound worse than binding to me.)
  • grinding (from semantics.)
But that's just from my instant reaction. What are we missing? 

And if you want graphic images (in two senses), watch video of the vocal folds vibrating, like here. (But I have warned you.)


Anonymous said...

I've known folks to be a bit confused and concerned at "uvula."

Anonymous said...

When they find out that men have them?

Jonathon Owen said...

And of course labial consonants.