Thursday, December 13, 2018

New Speak


"What?"
As cats will, ours decided to wake us at five o’clock this morning for a feed. My husband grumbled something and I said, “The natives are restless.”

After that, all I could think was how language evolves. That phrase, an outdated colloquialism now, would strike fear in past generations. And that led my ever curious mind to this strange moral panic, as social commentator Styxhexenhammer666 puts it, in which some folks can find the most minor slip of the tongue offensive.

How, my sleepy brain wondered, would today’s terminology and linguistic acrobatics force a colonist to word such a warning? Perhaps, I thought, one might be expected to say, “The aboriginal peoples suffer insomnia.”

Did you know the phrase ‘letting the cat out of the bag’ came from a time when a pig might be sold in a poke (an ancient term for bag) and a dishonest vendor might switch out the valuable livestock for a feral feline?

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14 comments:

  1. I wonder about these things too. There are so many phrases we use and some we have no idea how they originated. It's fun to read about them.

    Have a fabulous day, my friend. ♥

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    1. Agreed! Having a great one and hope you are, too!

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  2. I didn't know that about letting the cat out of the bag. Sandee is right - there are so many phrases we use and have no idea about how they came about.

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    1. Agreed. And so many fall out of fashion. It's rather sad. Be well and Happy Writing!

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  3. It's amazing how many phrases outlive the circumstances that created it.

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    1. Yes! And I'm amazed at how many are sports related, too.

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  4. Replies
    1. Awesome! Thank you for sharing that information about stonefish as a delicacy. What a surprise.

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  5. Coincidentally I came across this newspaper article the other day. I find the origin of phrases fascinating! www.telegraph.co.uk/only-in-britain/strange-british-sayings/

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  6. Oh, thank you for sharing! I'll have to check it out.

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  7. strange left over language from times gone way past.

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