Monday, December 07, 2009

The Word Factory



According to the Oxford English Dictionary there are between 2,500 and 3,000 new words added to the English language each year. Have you ever stopped to wonder where on earth they come from? Who designs and manufactures them: where is the word factory? Whilst heavily engaged in the activity of shopping this weekend I had plenty of opportunity to let my mind wander, and I think I may have come up with the answer to this important question. The mine from which most of these new words are hewed is none other than our old friend the Blogger Word Verification system.

Just think about it. You decide to leave comments on a fellow-bloggers' page, carefully compose a paragraph of almost Shakespearian quality and then it is lost to posterity because you type in "brutlok" instead of "brutlik". How many of those verification words have you ever seen before? Precisely. None. They are fresh off the production line. Google has reached an agreement whereby it gets these new words for word verification purposes before the are allocated meanings and sent out into general circulation.

Armed with this insight, I have invented a new game - indeed a new meme (and if ever a word graduating from the Google Word Verification factory it is "meme"). The next three times you visit a blog which uses word verification, make a note of the word. Then invent a meaning for the word and show its use in a sample sentence. Here is my entry based on word verifications I have encountered this morning.


1. slyma : a small dribble of saliva (often secreted from tthe corner of the mouth)
"Robinson Thickpenny threw off his heavy coat and wiped the slyma from his grizzled chin"


2. kersim : a minute part of a larger object (mainly used in relation to food)
"Whilst in the past Margery would settle down for the evening with a large pie she now contents herself with just a kersim of pastry"


3. deriesse : the final statement in a long and contracted argument
"With a look of fury Bernard spit out a perfect deriesse as he walked out of the door"


Play along if you want but I am afraid you will not find any word verifications on my blog. You will need to go somewhere else. With that deriesse I will leave you for today.


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20 comments:

  1. Alan

    Great idea! Yesterday I was presented with 'dissing'. I didn't know whether to proceed or take the hint!

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  2. I think you could be right, Alan. Have you ever read The Meaning of Liff? Very, very funny - gives meanings to obscure place names e.g. Ely: The fraction of a split second where you realise that something, somewhere has gone horribly wrong...

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  3. Alan - a fantastic game (we are so alike; perhaps kersims off the same old block)

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  4. These days after writing a comment (remembering the pain and heartache of losing comments) I do CTRL-A (select all), CTRL-C (copy), and then address the word verification. Just in case.

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  5. Found this Alan, but can't think of a definition...

    Tedlatid:
    In the stuffy compartment his eyes slowly closed to the rhythm of the train … tedlatid, tedlatid, tedlatid

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  6. Terrific idea!
    Thanks for the giggles.

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  7. lol. i love looking at word verifications and sometimes they line up with a post, at least by my definition...smiles. fun game. perhaps to try...

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  8. You had me laughing on a Monday, Alan, a rare thing. Have a great day.

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  9. Alan this is hilarious! I always think that when I see some of the word verification words- some of them can sound quite exotic...

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  10. Heh... I just might play this one.

    On another note... worst young word in the English language: "bling."

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  11. mmmmm = someone who likes sweet chewy confections.Originates from the expression 'He ByGummmmmmmmm'

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  12. Great fun--your definitions would be hard to top!

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  13. Haha . . you're very inventive. It's funny too how sometimes word verification reflects the post or the comment!

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  14. Blogging has actually improved my spelling. It reminds me though of a joke about a traffic cop that found a dead body in the thoroughfare, and he kept trying to spell it on the report and couldn't get it right, finally, he just gave the body a hard kick and put it in the ditch. D I T C H.

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  15. Ha! Love this idea - must try it. And regarding LD's comments above - that in turn reminds me of the cable-laying gang who sent in their daily timesheet - 'inclement weather' misspelt three times, crossed out and replaced by 'rained off'.

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  16. You would be amazed to see how many new words teachers of ten year olds come across each day!
    Evelyn in Montreal

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  17. LMBO - you have me cracking up. Totally what I needed to tonight after a rough day at work. :)

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  18. as I'm fond of saying 'language is an open system'

    now if the scrabble dictionary could just keep up!!

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  19. I loved envisioning Marjory with a whole pie. It just gave me such a sense of satisfaction.

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