josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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18 Jun '07 01:28:14 AM

'[...] the OED still testifies to Coleridge's talent for linguistic innovation. In several cases, Coleridge himself declares that he is inventing a new word, for example 'aloofness', 'aspheterize', 'athanasiophagous', 'clerisy', 'esemplastic', 'intensify', 'potenziate', 'psilanthropist', 'reliability', 'statuesque', 'Theo-mammonists', and 'vaccimulgence'. In other cases, Coleridge claims to be reviving an old and forgotten word, such as 'agglomerative', 'haemony', 'multeity', and 'sensuous'. Some of his word coinages are truly imaginative, others merely bizarre; while some have passed so effortlessly into common usage that we are surprised to find that they are so recently minted. In the bizarre category, we find dozens of words like 'anatopism' (a faulty arrangement), 'exforcipate' (to extract with foreceps), 'finific' (putting a limit to something), 'heautophany' (self-manifestation), 'linguipotence' (mastery of languages), 'misology' (hatred of reason), 'nasoductility' (capacity of being led by the nose), 'obitaneously' (by the way), 'parthenolatry' (virgin-worship), 'pinguinitescent' (having a greasy lustre), 'pleistodox' (holding the opinion of the majority), and 'somniloquent' (talking in sleep). In the truly imaginative category belong such words as 'neuro-pathology', 'subconsciousness', 'psycho-analytical', and 'psycho-somatic', which anticipate Freudian terminology by almost a century, and the astonishing word 'relativity', which looks forward to another key twentieth-century concept. Perhaps even more surprising is the discovery that a large number of familiar, everyday words were invented (or first recorded) by Colridge; a short list would include: actualize, adaptive, appraisal, artifact, associative, atomistic, bathetic, belletristic, bipolar, bisexual, chromatology, cosmological, cyclical, egoistic, factual, fatalistic, fore-grounded, greenery, heuristic, historicism, housemate, interdependence, marginalia, negativity, otherworldliness, phenomenal, productivity, protozoa, realism, resurgence, romanticise, sectarianism, Shakspeareanize, soulmate, Spenserian, statuesque, subjectivity, technique, totalize, uniqueness, and many more.'

11 Jun '07 06:39:53 AM

'This fantasy of surveying is a late version [...] of a quest myth, in which the goal of the quest is an understanding of the origin of the quest itself, of the dream that dispatches you. I assume that a piece of writing able to accept itself within a known genre would not have to contain or project such a myth of its own origin. It is a quest for authority in one's speech in the absence of the authority of genre, of a shared present, a grant of history. This quest for authority naturally tends toward the autobiographical, and since the self in question is not given, it presents itself as lost. Therefore the landscape through which the journey progresses will present itself as something distant, gone. The issue is one of inhabitation, placing yourself. But placing a lost self in a land that is gone is an exercise of mourning.'

9 Jun '07 06:29:44 AM

Today on the bus I overheard someone use 'wang dang doodle' in casual conversation.

(I am not sure if I should hyphenate that or not.)

7 Jun '07 08:18:04 AM

Tonight on the bus there was a caterpillar on my back. The couple in the seat behind me called it to my attention and I tossed it out the window (after dropping it a couple of times).

4 Jun '07 11:51:23 AM

'We have Goethe's warrant / for idling when no theme presents itself / or none that can be handled suitably: / I fall back on that high word.'

1 Jun '07 10:19:08 AM

'They are already afraid the floodgates are opening.'

1 Jun '07 10:07:27 AM

'And I want you to know something of what I think essential to what I do - for example, to spend the next two dozen hours it would take to go sensibly over the opening half-dozen pages of the Philosophical Investigations and come to an end somewhere.'

30 May '07 10:50:31 AM

I wish I could hear the sound of the trains passing all night long.

30 May '07 10:34:29 AM

'Commanding, questioning, storytelling, chatting, are as much a part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing.'