Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lewis Carroll, words and Sarah Palin



"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

- Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Chapter 6


Sarah Palin coined a word recently. At least, she claims that she coined the word "refudiate." The truth is she confused the word "refute" with "repudiate" and ended up with "refudiate." The former Alaska governor asserts that the English language is always evolving and changing. She certainly won’t get any argument from me on that. Language is fluid and it does constantly change. I fully agree that neologisms are a necessary and inevitable part of the evolution of language. However, "refudiate" is one non-word I can do without. It will never enjoy popular usage. I don’t anticipate anyone other than Sarah Palin using that word.

While we are on the subject of neologisms, allow me to mention a delightful word that was coined by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll was a master of linguistic wit and he coined the word "chortle," a combination of "chuckle" and "snort." The word "chortle" appears in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It has entered the English language and can be found in dictionaries. Sarah Palin, you’re no Lewis Carroll.


Last night was a great night for Toronto sports fans. The Blue Jays defeated Tampa Bay at the dome by a score of 2-1. Brett Cecil pitched seven innings and only allowed four hits.

The Argos defeated Edmonton by a score of 29-28 for their fourth victory of the season. Given that they only had three wins last season, that's progress.

- Joanne

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