FaceLivre, the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful has suggested in its collective wisdom that I ought to write something engaging – whatever that’s supposed to mean – in order to hoodwink all my freinds into leaving comments on my blog. Thank you, all of you, who were kind enough to illuminate the little blue Smurf to indicate that you ‘liked’ my page. If indeed you did, or even if you didn’t, do drop a comment in the comments box WordPress so helpfully provides. I’ll italicise to make copying and pasting easier for you; “what a load of narcissistic twaddle”. I have a feeling I know at least half a dozen people who might actually puncture my self-esteem by doing it.
I make up words sometimes, often out of sheer laziness, the inertia of not going to a thesaurus to look for something better, unlike the incomparable Stanley Unwin, whose entire comedic career was built around imaginary words. The master was Lewis Carroll, writer, mathematician and polymath whose ‘Jabberwocky’ is brillig and one can almost hear the mome raths outgribing. But, he went to my old school and can thus be forgiven for having made up a whole language.
Jane Austen, poor child, was probably dyslexic and muddled up her letters. I myself tend not to make too many spelling errors because I have the rather rare gift of, having seen a word written down, I can usually recall how to spell it, unlike the teenaged JA who tended to forget that ‘i’ usually precedes ‘e’, except after ‘c’, hence the title of this meaningless attack of logorrhoea and her book of the same name. In her defence, she started it when she was eleven and it took her quite a few years to complete. And she can spell ‘prejudice’ correctly. I know adults who still can’t.
Making words up is like making up mathematical symbols. James Joyce created the word ‘quark’ long before Murray Gell-Mann adopted it to describe the inner structure of hadrons such as protons and neutrons. Isaac Newton, who was incorrectly credited with asserting that ‘he could see further because he stood on the shoulders of giants’, made up a whole symbology to describe the calculus, over which he and Gottfried Leibniz fought like a couple of cats in a sack for most of the rest of their lives. Integration is only a fancy method of adding up, after all. For the purists, in Latin: nanos gigantum humeris insidentes or “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries” was attributable, it is supposed, to Bernard of Chartres four hundred years earlier.
Enough, already. I am off to the People’s Republic of Nod where all God-fearin’ folk should be at this time in the morning. Like it or not – leave a ‘comment’.