Monday, April 14, 2014


I love words.  I love to find new words to add to my repertoire of new ways to say things. I don't much like words that reek with pomposity, but I truly enjoy finding one that makes my brain respond "AH HA!  The latest, which I wrote about in an earlier blog is Mumpsimus.  Haven't used it yet, but the time will come, I'm sure.

I enjoy sitting on the couch early in the morning (like 5 a.m. when Jerry and I get up) having a good cup of coffee and listening to the local early-bird TV commentators struggle through the news.  Apparently they are reading scripts so the errors they make may not all be theirs.  But they do say some funny things:

Last week one of the female anchors, well educated and one would like to think well read, had to talk about a Medical Center with a unique (but not bizarre) name.  It as called the Apogee Medical Center.  That name gives you confidence that they provide the highest level of service.  But she referred to it as the A-PODGE-ie. (you know, of course, that the pronunciation is really AP-o-gee.  I nearly fell on the floor laughing.  I hope someone got her on the right track and that her face won't stay red very much longer.

Another day she got all tangled up in a "when" situation.  She was talking that day at 9 o'clock about something that had happened at 8 o'clock the previous day.  Her description, with much sputtering, came out "Less than an hour ago yesterday." HAHAHHAHAH!

A more recent goof was in a late afternoon broadcast, where the talking head said that traffic would move again "when they "uprighted the jacknife that overturned."   I swiveled my head to look at the TV and said to her "UPRIGHT THE JACKNIFE??????"   She, of course didn't answer!  HAHHAHAH!

Yesterday "the truck was carrying fuel and diesel." And later I must say I don't think the writer of the news was the one who put down what came out of her mouth: "A WHOLE NOTHER BOOK"  This "WHOLE NOTHER" instead of "Another whole" is so commonly said I suppose soon we'll be seeing "Nother" arrive in the OED.

As much as I hate to say it, it does seem like the women make a lot more "off the cuff" goofs than men do.  It may be women dither more, or that they have so much more in the brain to futz with than the men.  Perhaps men are a bit more controlled.

It doesn't bother me; in fact, I get some good laughs out of it and it often softens the irritation at hearing the same events reported over and over and over....and over......and still more over.  You know what I mean.

Learning a new language can give some laughs too.  Back in one of my early blogs I wrote about a friend in Turkey who admitted to using a wrong Turkish word when she went into the little bakkal (a mom-and-pop kind of store in Istanbul).  She wanted bread some and made a big try of informing the bakkal owner (a man) and all his buddies who were talking with him, but she used the wrong Turkish word.  She asked for a large ERKEK instead of a large EKMEK.  When the men all threw themselves on the floor hooting and hollering she realized that she had asked for a big man!

I have a friend who was meeting her Hungarian father-in-law and family for the first time.  She worked hard to learn some basic things about Hungary and a few phrases that she could say that would cause them to be delighted over the new daughter-in-law in the family.  She said she will never live down the fact that the Hungarian word for Strawberries, which her husband had told her were very good there, is very similar to the word for Hemorrhoids - and of course she used the wrong word.

Now I didn't have that kind of problem when we moved to Turkey.  I tried my best to learn Turkish - and got far enough into it to learn that bread (ekmek) can be turned into "breadmaker or baker" by the addition of a little "cu" on the end of ekmek - baker becomes ekmekcu.  Tutun is tobacco; the tobacco seller or maker is handled the same way:  tutuncu.  It's pretty slick.  Which bring me to the picture above.

The fellow in the picture is our driver, Ahmet. He was assigned to us when we arrived in Turkey for a consulting agreement.  He spoke some English, a lot more than we spoke Turkish.  He was quite helpful to me in learning how I should say things.  Now before I go any further, I must say that the beautiful limo you see was NOT the car that was assigned to us.  That was the boss's car and Ahmet had called me to come over to the garage to take a picture of him standing by the car.  Prestige, he wanted.  Ahmet was a nice fellow, and I had no problem with accommodating him.  The car he ultimately drove us around in was just about the size of a little Ford Pinto.  HAHAHHAH  (Joke's on us!)

Anyway, one day he was taking me somewhere  and I was thinking about Turkish words.  I said to him, "Ahmet Bey, the Turkish word for car is araba, is that correct?"  "Yes, Mrs. Title" he replied.  Then thinking that I should be able to add the little suffix on the end of the araba to come up with the the correct name for the driver of a car, I said, "Then, is it correct to say that you are an arabaca?"   He nearly flew through the windshield from putting the brake on so fast, and he pulled over to the side of the road.   In his most authentic and important voice, he said, "Mrs. Title, that is not correct."  He looked totally crestfallen.

YIKES!  "I'm sorry, Ahmet, what is the correct word then?  He swiveled around in the car, looked at me and said, "I am a SHOFER".

Let me tell you that what I most wanted to do was to throw myself down on the floor of the car where he couldn't see me and laugh my head off.  I wouldn't have been laughing at him; I would have been laughing at myself for the whole episode.  It was not his fault that we couldn't think of him as a chauffeur.  He was the age of our kids and had knocked himself out helping us get settled in Turkey.  He was such a lovely fellow and we were SO lucky to have had the experience of him being with us for that time.  He didn't feel like a "servant" to us; he felt like one of our kids. But our error was in not taking his position seriously enough.  Nevertheless, I found it an exceptionally funny happening, but I somehow managed to get myself pulled together and we went on our way.

Words bring all kinds of fun into our lives, often when we are least expecting it.

1 comment:

Olga Hebert said...

Words are constantly changing. My son was reading a want ad that promised a stimulating work environment--"you will always be mentally challenged." Now challenged is the word for disabled but someone did not get the memo.