Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why Use Made-up Adverbs for a site about the Best Longboards and Skateboards?

I came across a website called It's a made-up word and used as an adverb. Why do people do this? It's silly and makes no sense.

An adverb is suppose to modify an adjective, verb, adverb, etc. But don't get me wrong. The site has some good info about longboards but the name leaves much to be desired. I guess I'm a hypocrite. What exactly does Lingamish mean? Yeah. I probably should rest my point and go on about the difference between longboards and skateboards, which was my original intent behind this article.

Skateboards were made to do tricks on the street, park, or skate-park -- whereas longboards were made for cruising on the street, to class, or for going fast, such as downhill.

There's a lot of discussion about how longboards were started. Some say it occurred when Tom Sims put skateboard wheels and trucks on a water ski. Others say it occurred when a group of surfers could not surf in the winter or when there was no waves, and the result: They put trucks and wheels on a surfboard.

Despite the linguistic differences, they are very similar. The deck on a longboard is about XX inches long. The deck on a skateboard is about XX inches long.

Both use trucks, wheels, bearings, and other hardware.

I've been thinking about buying one of these boards to ride to school. It's less than 1 mile and should get me to class pretty quick.

I also like that the longboard is more stable and I'll be able to carry my messenger bag without getting off balance. And longboards are faster.

The longer deck makes it more stable and less able to do tricks. The plank can have camber, be concave, have a kick, cutout, drop, or drop through.

The wheels are bigger too and that helps. I've found more good info on silverfishlongboarding, too.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A little Noam Chomsky

A little something about sentences

In the corner of the room, I search through the mess, mining, impatient and perceptive, through the masses of books and papers that litter the floor like autumn’s vibrant leaves litter the ground, searching the floor for my computer disk; consequently, since this scene seems--not to a visual/spatial person--disastrous and unorganized, I must mention that the disk is in a protective case.  This narrative exhibits many of the characteristics that Francis Christensen writes in the essay “A Generative Rhetoric of the Sentence.” 

This essay explores the idea of creating sentences to add a certain flavor to them.  It is assumed from English textbooks that “we think naturally in primer sentences, progress naturally to compound sentences, and must be taught to combine the primer sentences into complex sentences” (Christensen, 86).

Christensen has four basic principles to add: addition, direction of modification, levels of generality, and texture.

The principle of addition is simple: one just has to start with a basic sentence and add to the foundation--the sentence, that is.  The second principle is the direction of the modification.  It does not do much good to create a sentence loaded with modifiers, because a sentence loaded down is boring--lackluster.  The third principle is levels of generality which is the main clause, stated in abstract terms.  This is what is left of the sentence after one takes out all the additions, leaving only the simplest form of the sentence. The fourth principle is texture: “texture provides a descriptive or evaluative term” (Christensen, 88). 

Christensen describes the texture as how much layer there is in sentence and paragraph structure.  It is how the sentences look physically, because this changes the pace of how the text is read. 

Something that surprised me--not too much though--was the use of pronouns.  Instead of using he or she, Christensen only makes use of he.  Another thing that interested me was the discontentment the author made about composition classes: “we do not teach them how to write better because we do not know how to teach them to write better.  And so we go through the motions” (Christensen, 85).  The motions are reviewing the rules of grammar and reading selections out of anthologies.  This seems true, too; however, I have found that reading these selections--any books for that matter--helps me write better.  Since the grammar exercises are pick and choose the part of speech or add the correct punctuation, I do not get that much out of them.  The only way I can get anything out of them is to remember the rule, subjective as it may be, and apply it to some sort of reading that interests me, not the hokey sentence selections in a textbook. 

This selection, no different from the last selection I did, is not from the Language Awareness Textbook.  Who would have guessed?  This essay seemed interesting when I read the first paragraph, because of the statement about the instructor not knowing precisely how to teach pupils to write effectively.  This, perhaps, is the reason that I picked this particular essay; it is worth checking out.  It has a different perspective and the examples point out an excessive amount of information--individually marked out--that can’t be perceived by doing exercises.  They can only be perceived by understanding how a contemporary writer wrote and then experimenting.         

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meaningless words and language

Right or Wrong
There is a storm brewing in my soul.

My Achilles’ heel is my constant rambling around a subject.
Not a soul can actually have a storm inside his or her soul. Nor can anyone be dipped into the River Styx and have one fragile spot that leads him or her to destruction. 

The first metaphor is--and always will be--needed for splendid visualizations.  The second metaphor, however, is old and worn out and refers to the Greek Mythological figure Achilles. 

Through overuse it became this way, and this is one of the ideas that George Orwell’s essay on “Politics and the English Language” explores.  Other topics that are included in his essay are meaningless words, operators, and flashy diction. 

His essay’s original premise bluntly states “that the English Language is in a bad way” (Orwell 225).  What an interesting way to start off the first sentence of an essay.  Is not that true?

I do not fully agree with him on meaningless words. What he views as meaningless words--dead, romantic, and  living, for example--are words that express a certain type of feeling in art criticism. 

If I did not mention yet, Orwell seems to find these words in art criticism and literary criticism.  The reason, I think, that he believes that English is being used improperly is because of a word’s denotative--dictionary--meaning. 

This meaning is concrete; and sometimes when art is described, it takes on the connotation of the word--the emotional side. This is why a word cannot  be considered meaningless. 

Operators are something that I agree with him on, because it is easier to read a single verb, such as serve, than it is to read a verb phrase, such as to serve the purpose of.  Wording that is phrased that strangely can be difficult to understand.

A large vocabulary is gained  when an individual reads many books.  Many words that sound scientific are difficult to read, and these words distance the reader from the written material--not all readers come equipped with the same vocabulary.   

This is something that I can agree with; I can relate to being distanced by a large vocabulary.  The first time, quite some time ago, that I ever read anything by  H. P. Lovecraft, I became distanced from what he tried to communicate through his frequent usage of a large vocabulary.  

Lovecraft, however, did have a tendency to make his characters scientists or scholars.  His characters are highly educated individuals, and this required me to frequently use the dictionary to understand their dialect. 

Orwell also suggests that we should eliminate the use of all foreign, Latin, and Greek words to reduce the vagueness in language. 

I do not think anyone should limit himself or herself to any language, because the alternative word or words may convey the meaning better than the English one.

I do not think that the English language is in bad shape because of these items.  The writing examples that Orwell uses are outrageous, and I have never read anything modern that is like them.  They are written much like philosophical texts because of the cryptic phrases. 

Before this essay comes to an end, I must say something more about metaphors.  But what?  They offer a vivid sense of imagery, providing they are not stale, and they offer the reader something to think about.  Orwell, however, does not necessarily agree with using metaphors in print.  I think that  metaphors should be used, but they need to be original, fresh, and evoke a good image.

Finally, the reason I picked this particular essay: I am not quite sure.  The original essay that I read and started a response to, I did not like.  The author of it made a reference--this unknown author thought that stale metaphors should live on-- to Orwell’s essay, so I decided to read his essay and respond to it.

Works Cited

Orwell, George.  “Politics and the English Language.”  The Blair Reader.  3rd ed.  Laurie G.     Kirszner et al.  Upper  Saddler River:  Prentice-Hall Inc., 1999.  225-236.