Archive for Fun with Language


In preparation for my trip to Brazil, I’ve been studying Portuguese.

Last night, I was fascinated to realize that the verb in “to lose weight,” the verb in “to lose a game,” and the verb in “to be lost” are all the same (peder). Okay, sure, they’re all the same in English too, but there’s no inherent reason for a language to make the opposite of gain, the opposite of win, and the opposite of find the same word.



I ate lunch in a cafe, and when I cleared my tray, I saw a sign on the garbage bin: “Do not put trays in the garbage. They are not disposable.”

Okay, but technically they are. I mean, you can dispose of them. If you couldn’t, then you wouldn’t need a sign.

Free Spirit Gathering

I will be attending Free Spirit Gathering in Maryland June 15-20 as a “featured speaker” (whoo-hoo!). This is one of my favorite events. I’ve been asked to present four (many!) workshops.

So what should I do? I have a list of workshops that I offer, although it hasn’t been updated in about a year. I could choose from that list, come up with new stuff, or a combination.

What would you like to see me do? What Deborah Lipp worskshops/classes/facilitated discussions/guided experiences would excite you? I am wide open here.

The language of years

When the calendar turned to 2000, people self-consciously speculated as to what we’d call this decade. My feeling was that language would emerge, not be decided upon. As the decade closes, I have seen a lot of decade-end lists, best (movie/music/television) of the aughts. Yep, it seems to be settling into “aughts.” (My own best movie list is coming soon.)

More interestingly, I heard a guy on the radio hoping that there would be fewer tragic deaths “in twenty-ten than in two-thousand-nine.” It was a perfectly natural language shift I’m sure he wasn’t even aware of, and I think it’s pretty meaningful in terms of how we’ll be speaking.

Fun with language and animals

Two things I heard at Mom’s:

“My monkey is stuck.”

“If you want to turn the fan off, pull the fish.”

Experience the 18th Century

Advertisement on the radio for Colonial Williamsburg Resort:

Experience the 18th century, without ever leaving the 21st.

Wait. That was optional?

Department of Redundancy Department

Radio announcer said:

Tori Amos will perform live at Radio City Hall.

As opposed to?

Perhaps not so much fun with language

Some people take it kinda seriously.

Apparently, “Murder She Wrote” is a meme

…as in a language meme, not a survey on MySpace.

Because the other day, a friend referred to Castle as “Murder He Wrote.” HA!

And here’s an interview with Joss Whedon about Dollhouse:

The last few episodes we got to play “the man behind the curtain” a lot. We did less of, “And this week, she’s a neurosurgeon!” Which we’ll still do to an extent, it’s part of the fun. But we got into what makes the place tick, what makes it wrong. It was less, “Murder She Was Imprinted to Write.”

Priceless quote, pure Whedon. Except that’s twice in two weeks for me, and that’s weird.

Heard on the BBC news

The Palestinians want Secretary of State Clinton “to pressurize the Israelis…to rebuilding the West Bank.”

Seriously? Not “pressure” to “rebuild”? Is there some form of Tourette’s that causes the forced injection of extra syllables?

Just wondering.