Experimenting with Auto-antonyms and Generonyms

monstrosity_by_vihola-d38sq66Excuse me while I dust the cobwebs off my blog and straighten the furniture.

I know it’s been a while since I posted, and I have to confess that I’ve been so busy that all the creativity seeped out of my brain to take a nap on the floor under my desk. Continue reading

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Spoils of War

black_eye_by_culpeo_fox-d3fwtl1

Spoils of War

Time slowed
Congealing like molasses in winter

Inside my head cotton balls gathered
Like moths to a dying flame

From the corner he watched
Black eyes piercing my soul
So it would match my heart

We waited there
As time coagulated around us

Me, listening to the beat of my heart
Him, watching my chest rise and fall

And I wondered if I’d miss my heart

Time lurched
Reanimated, like the black-eyed beast in the corner
It quickened its pace

My heart struggled to keep up in a race it could not win
Desperate, it fluttered for a moment,
Magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still

As time slipped into obscurity
The slayer of hearts laid claim to my soul.

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This is my submission for this week’s speakeasy challenge. This week, we had to use the following sentence anywhere in our post: It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.

We also had to make some sort of reference to the following painting by John James Audubon:

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 Image credit: Culpeo-Fox @ deviantART

 

M is for…

letter-m

It’s been a while, dear readers, but I’d like to welcome you back to my Vocabulary Series! This week, we’re going to look at some magnificently marvellous words beginning with the letter M.

The first M word this week is brought to you by one of my favourite bloggers, Michael of Hypothetically Writing. This is one of his favourite words and it’s a great one.

Marina (noun)

Etymology:  First appears in 1805, meaning “a promenade by the sea.” Comes from the Spanish and Italian marina, meaning shore or coast, which comes from the Latin marinus meaning “of the sea.” Its modern meaning as a dock or place with moorings for yachts and small boats come from 1930s American English.

Definition:  A specially designed dock or harbour with moorings for pleasure boats, etc.

Example:  The miniature monsters moored their motorboat at Marvin the Mega-monster’s marina.

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This next word is a fantastically fancy way of calling someone a liar. I love it and encourage you to use it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Mendacious (adjective)

Etymology:  First appears in the early 1600s. Comes from the Middle French mendacieux, which comes from the Latin mendacium, meaning a lie, falsehood, or untruth. Mendacium comes from the Latin word mendax, meaning lying or deceitful, which in turn comes from Proto-Indo-European root mend-, meaning physical defect or fault.

Definition:  Not telling the truth; lying; being false

Example:  That mendacious puppet is at it again—no, Pinocchio never staked a vampire with his nose.

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Not only is this week’s bonus word a gorgeous word to say, but it also happens to be the name of a truly fantastic movie.

Memento (noun)

Etymology:  First appears around 1400 in Psalm cxxxi of the Canon of the Mass, which begins with the word Memento and commemorates the dead. Comes directly from the Latin memento, meaning remember, which is the imperative form of meminisse, meaning to remember, recollect, or think of. Related to the Latin word mens, meaning mind, understanding, or reason. Its modern usage to refer to a keepsake was first seen in 1768.

Definition:  An object kept as a reminder or souvenir of a person or event.

Example:  Millicent stroked her memento of Marcus, wondering if she should have kept an ear instead.

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As always, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.

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Image credit: Google Images

Trifextra: Pumpernickel Monster

Breadbox

Pumpernickel Monster

The monster in my breadbox leaves imprints on my loaves
Eight furry legs, sixteen eyes, and twenty little toes
Despite the dents, he’s welcome here
His mousing skills, they commandeer
My polyphonic prose.

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This is my submission for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge, in which we had to write 33 words about a monster that lives in an unusual place.

Speaking of monsters, you should come and check out the Speakeasy creative writing challenge. We’re heading into our Halloween crescendo this week. Not only will it be lots of scary fun, but there will be prizes too!

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Image credit: Paddler / PhotoXpress.com

Diction vs. Syntax

cemetery

Today, dear readers, I’d like to talk about two language-related terms that I often hear people use incorrectly. It’s another one of those language/grammar things that is not taught in school—or not taught well, so students never actually end up with an understanding of the terminology.

Diction

Diction refers to the words we choose to use. For most people, this can vary depending on the context and the audience. For example:

  • To your friend: There’s a freaking zombie behind you!
  • To a small child: There is a scary monster behind you!
  • To a teenager: Dude, zombie!
  • To your boss: Sir, there appears to be a zombie behind you!
  • To a paranormal research scientist: There is an undead Homo sapiens moving at a moderate pace behind you!
  • To your grandmother: Nanna, granddad is behind you!

Diction can be concrete (The spider was five feet wide and black with yellow spots.) or abstract (The ginormous spider was horrific to behold.).

In addition, diction is generally divided into the following three levels:

High or formal: tends to be fancy, avoids the use of slang, and prefers complex words.

  • Mr. Edwards slew the undead monstrosity with the sabre of his forefather.

Middle: uses correct language, but avoids overly complex words.

  • Mr. Edwards killed the zombie with his grandfather’s sword.

Low or informal: the language used in everyday conversation, tends to be relaxed, and includes slang and colloquialisms.

  • Dave totally smoked that zombie with an old sword.

Syntax

Syntax refers to the order in which we place words. This is an integral part of English grammar as syntax forms the basis for sentence structure.

We all learn language long before we learn about language. Syntax is the result of studying the way language develops, so it includes all the rules that govern the way we talk to each other. Without syntax, we would all be babbling idiots. And we would also be really confused all the time. Compare the following example:

  • Frankenstein’s monster crashed through the gates, knocking townspeople out of his way.
  • Monster through the townspeople, Frankenstein’s knocking gates out of his way crashed.

 So now you know. Spread the word. And please use your syntax wisely.

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Image credit: Einar Bog / PhotoXpress.com