Friday, August 23, 2013
Some words and phrases are colloquial—'y'all' in the South and 'you-uns' in the North. Some are distinctive to certain families. My sisters and I often say, “I'm a gonna” for various procrastinations. Me: “Cathy, did you get the curry powder when you went to the store?” Cathy: “I didn't have time to stop, but I'm a gonna run out later and pick it up.” A Morris-ism (our maiden name,) if you will. In fact, Katie, our daughter, says 'if you will' a lot. Funny how we pick up a language pattern when we're around someone, kind of like when we pick up their laughter and copy it. I guess it's contagious.
A similar phrase is “I'm on getta.” This means you are contemplating something, but haven't quite made up your mind. “I'm on getta truck when I trade in my car.” You're not 100 percent ready, but you're getting close. At least you're mulling it over. My husband, Russell, actually says this from time to time.
One more: “Ida wanna.” Nancy, my retired school-teacher sister, “Do you want to get a cheeseburger?” Me: “Ida wanna eat that again! I had one yesterday.” I guess I just love the letter I. Heck, look at my last name, Ipock. Lucky for me I've got a capital I in my last name, as opposed to that lowly lower case 'i.' Or maybe it's the other way around. I started loving the letter 'I' once I got married and my last name changed. I sort of married into an 'I'. Some people marry for love. Others marry for money. Some might even marry for an 'I,' like me. Plus it puts me further up in alphabetizing, as opposed to the letter, 'M.'
But, boy does it stink that I couldn't capitalize (no pun intended) on the brand names, iPod and iPad, which have the same first three letters as Ipock. I'd be richer than J. K. Rowling if I'd pulled that one off. But there's one plus in this for me. Now, when people ask me how to spell my last name, I just say, “It's similar to i-Pod, but drop the d, and add ck.” Or, if they look at me like I have three heads, I change it to, “It's similar to i-Pod, but has ck at the end instead.”
Then they look at me like I have two heads. Sometimes you can't win for trying. Oh well.
One of my favorite expressions is one that my sister, Cathy (the sister with the master's degree in English AND German – yeah, she's soooo smart,) pointed out. She said I often say, “Unless if,” like, if she asks me if I'm going to get this column in by the deadline, I might say, “I hope so. Unless if I keep talking to you about our crazy language.”
Another over-use of the word 'if' for me would be, “If you don't mind.” This one drives my family crazy. Along with, “Are you sure?” Here's how these work: Steve, my brother, might call and say, “Do you want to use my laptop since you forgot to bring yours?”
I might answer, “If you don't mind.” This is similar to, “I don't mind if I will.” I just realized this.
The other expression is saved for when I think I've heard someone wrong, I'm being persistent, or I'm just giving them a second chance. I might ask my husband, Russell, if he wants a cup of coffee and he shakes his head no. I'll say, “Are you sure?” It's a habit, I guess.
The English language is such a strange way to communicate. Maybe that's why I love to read and learn about body gestures. You can learn a lot about a person. Sometimes it's good. I love the way the Japanese bow as a sign of respect. Sometimes it's bad. I don't like it when someone has road rage and gives another driver the Hawaiian good luck sign. Rude. I want to pull up beside them, roll down my window and say, “If you don't mind, apologize. Unless if you do, I'm writing down your license plate.” Like I really would.
Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” email@example.com www.annipock.com.
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