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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.
mood: amused
music: la la la



I like your leaf icon!

Thanks :) Didn't make it myself unfortunately but did "steal" it all by myself from one of the umtpy icon communities here on LJ :) I saw it and just had to have it - very fitting for this time of year. I like your icon as well -- purty fall colors!

you could sell it at the pharmacy. because, you know, there are already gum that make you smart, beautiful and athletic there! honestly, i sent an email to their customer service complaining about that. but i would buy your lawgum! :)

I thought the only gum the pharmacy sold helped you stop smoking...though I suppose that WOULD make you smarter, beautiful and more athletic! :D

From Megsie

Do you know how much I love this?? I can't even put it into words...but I bet Martin could. It must be LAGOM! See, English speaker already using it...(Was that the right context?) This is just perfect because I have been researching best practice for teaching vocabulary all morning. I finally found it! Get adopted by an English Major! That is going to take some work I think.

Sending love your way...xoxo

Re: From Megsie

I'm open for adopting you! :D


Dictionaries are fun reading indeed!

They are!


Oops, that last post was from Julia@kolo :-)

BLAHGUM and LAWGUM...should make the dictionary interesting reading;)

It just adds to the fun! :D

People who have never read a dictionary are missing out on all the *really* cool words.

(I'd pull some as examples, but my dictionary is still packed -- final office move is now scheduled for Friday. Argh! Another four days without my dictionary!)

You and Martin always have such excellent discussions... ;-)

Shouldn't you have announced "Lawgum!" rather than "Perfect!"? I think the Dutch equivalent might be "Juist!" (pronounced: youst).

But lagom doesn't mean perfect...that's the thing. It's something in between....not too one way, not too the other :)

your animated alphabet!

ooohhh!! you must tell me where your awesome animated alphabet comes from. i am in LOVE.

roxanne reynolds

Re: your animated alphabet!

I honestly don't remember. I found it on an animated GIF site somewhere...I know I've seen the illustrator before, too, but I can't for the life of me remember the name :(

From Willow

Hahahaha I LOVED reading this! I read the dictionary too as a kid, and then read a Spanish-English one when I was learning Spanish. My husband is a word junkie too, and I have a feeling our little guy is going to end up using lots of big words, in Spanish and English. I love the thought of playing with words the way you and Martin did this day :-)

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Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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