October 9th, 2011



Martin and I were talking, while taking turns mowing the lawn (though, to be fair, he did the lion's share) about how the other day in school one of his classmates complained that he was always using fancy words, and why couldn't he just use regular words like the rest of us? I asked him what fancy word he used that caused the complaint and he said, "Ecological".

Which, to be fair, has 5 syllables, which I pointed out to him, (during one of my numerous pauses to rest on the handlebars of the evil push-mower). So I asked him, did he mean fancy in the sense of unusual? Or did he mean fancy just because it had a lot of syllables. And he said, it wasn't fancy. Fancy words would be things like traverse or divert.

"True," I said, "but I'm not sure what word you could have used in place of ecological. GREEN, maybe, but that's a bit boring."

Then I said, "Why don't you tell your classmates that it's hardly your fault that you have an English major for a mother."

"I've already used that excuse," he said dryly. He's even told them that I used to read the dictionary for fun, which in his opinion, is just weird. (but! there is so much to be fascinated by in the dictionary! No, really!)

Later, still mowing, we talked about how crazy languages are, and how they don't make sense sometimes, spelling-wise, and I told him about Esperanto, and then he wondered why there was no word for lagom in English. The only way I've ever found to define lagom is by using the phrase "just right" but that does not really do it justice.

Martin said that someday he was going to win a Nobel Prize (for literature, I assume) by inventing an English word that means lagom. I said, why don't we just steal it? English steals borrows words all the time.

"Yes, but then we would have to figure out a better way to spell it so that English-speakers pronounced it correctly," said Martin.

I responded with "L-A-G-U-M."

"No," he said, "they would say that like LAGGUM."

"Okay, how about L-A-H-G-U-M. LAHGUM."

"Hmmm...," said Martin. "Close. How about L-A-W-G-U-M?"


"Perfect!" I exclaimed. "Except it sounds like something you would eat while on trial."

Then we both giggled madly.

The end.