Monday, August 22, 2011

Frank The Wittol Probes His Woolfell

I am always a bit of a soft touch for endangered species. Point me to where a Great Crested Newt is under threat and I will sign a petition. Explain to me about the cruel fate of the rhino and its horn and I will abandon my search for virility. There is not a seed I wont plant nor a slug I wont nurture in pursuit of diversity. It was therefore with regret that I read of the announcement by experts at Collins English Dictionary that another tranche of words are about to become extinct from the English language. In the sincere hope that I am not too late, I would like to offer you the following (very) short story. You can do your bit for the cause of a diverse vocabulary by adopting any of the featured words and perhaps incorporating some of them into your posts this week.

Frank looked out of the window of the charabanc as it drove passed the aerodrome and once again saw the funny little man trying to get airborne in his cyclogiro. "He's mad", he thought to himself, a prime candidate for alienism if ever there was one. But soon the ghost of a smile vanished from Frank's face : laughing at mad aviators was no succedaneum for facing up to his own role as a pathetic wittol. His self-respect was only skin-deep and like a woolfell it disguised the death and decay that lay beneath. If he examined his real feelings, examined them with the scientific intensity of a stauroscope searching for the hidden emotional crystal structure of his soul, he knew that he was nothing more than a broken-hearted drysalter looking for an explanation of Marion's infidelity. As tears fell from his tired eyes, he realised that, at that task, he was no supererogate.

19 comments:

  1. i am surprised to see succedaneum go, as there are still such things on the market. that's if these are the same as in french...

    languages evolve, much like we do, and we do not remain always the same, so should they.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  2. Charabanc certainly ain't out of fashion up north, and the owners of White Waltham Aerodrome would be most upset to know it no longer exists.

    I always thought an aerodrome had morphed into becoming a landing place for light aircraft.

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  3. Geez cutting words now, that I never knew. I'm going to do something with this right now..haha...thanks for the idea.

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  4. Words should Never become extinct, never, never ,never, never, never. I shall mourn their passing. :(

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  5. I know that the dictionaries officially add words every year, but this is the first time I've ever heard about retiring words. Very interesting!

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  6. Well, I suppose with all those new words coming into fashion, something has to give. There’s something to be said for keeping very old dictionaries then. Does this mean I can’t use ‘charabanc’ in Scrabble any more?

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  7. that is a wicked cool statue...the cutting of words is concerning...and sounds rather painful and unfair to words...making them feel worthless...that is rather barbairic...

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  8. Words don't die, they merely duck out of sight to await someone who will appreciate them in their true meaning, rather than having their meanings changed by some dizening dodipoll

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  9. I'm lost for words. By the way, is Mike Burnett another blogging relative?

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  10. interesting and incredibly creative use of these dis-used words in your little tale of poor frank.

    i wonder if there is a female equivalent to wittol.


    but pray tell, where is that fascinating statue -- love it!

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  11. I knew there must be a good use for the tree-hugging man.. As for the words, I will only miss the first three as I didn't know the others. And me with a BSc too!

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  12. I think deleting words is like deciding Pluto's no longer a planet. They can take them out of the dictionary but loose canons like you will keep them alive. Does that mean that cuckold is now obsolete? Charabanc remains a Java script program . . not quite what it was but the word still exists. Awwwww.

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  13. Of course, my favorite is woolfell.

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  14. Succedaneum? Just my luck, to discover a word just as its declared obsolete. Now that I know what it means I'll have to find a succedaneum for it.

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  15. Alan: I deliciate in the jargogle you have corraded here, indeed I kenched aloud when I read it. Perhaps the compilers wish to prevent too much perissology taking place, although I suspect they are subject to a widdendream.

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  16. that's brilliant.

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  17. Can I use it in one of my A level English Language lessons? It would be great fun to get them doing the same thing.

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  18. Shakespeare made up new words all the time writing his plays. Did he delete any old ones?
    Charabanc will always be OK in Scrabble as the Scrabble dictionary doesn't have it in- it has nine letters!

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  19. Wonderful post and image! I'm trying to introduce the use of 'oxters' in my part of the world, as well as hanging on to great words like 'bumfuzzled' and 'sull' (He sulled up when he wouldn't go to the tractor pull with him and was flat out bumfuzzled when she told him she wanted to go to the opera.)

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