Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Secret of HeteroNYMH

I was just sitting here and the word "predicated" popped into my head. Then I started thinking and realized that I don't remember ever actually saying or writing that word in my entire life. I've obviously heard it before, and probably even thought it a few times, but it's never escaped my head until just now. That's a long time for a word to be trapped in someone's brain. I wonder if his escape was like the Shawshank Redemption.

Stranger still is that while I've never used the word predicate--that's the verb predi-KATE, as in "To carry the connotation of; imply" or "To base or establish"--in school I used predicate--as in predi-KIT, "one of the two main constituents of a sentence or clause, modifying the subject and including the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb"--in English class several times.

See, they're heteronyms; words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings. Wikipedia decided to give and example using animal porn:

Do you know what a buck does to does?

The verb predicate is a good, solid word. I should start using it. But...I feel like if I start now, it's going to sound forced. That's no good. I've got to let the words flow naturally. In the meantime, take a look at this word:


If you are of a certain age, you'll probably pronounce it as super-marion-ation, the puppetry technique used in the 1960s by British producer Gerry Anderson, and more recently by the South Park guys in Team America: World Police.

They used to air reruns of Supermarionation shows like Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet on the...ugh...SyFy Channel. They also ran another Anderson show from the 80s using Supermacronation called Terrahawks which featured a terrifying witch lady and a puppet that looked like Roy Scheider in SeaQuest.

But there's another, ever-growing segment of the population unaware of creepy old puppets which will read the word as Super Mario Nation, possibly thinking it's the url for a Nintendo fansite. (It's not. I checked. Talk about missed opportunities.)

It's a generational thing. I guess your age predicates how you pronounce supermarionation. Hey, look at that! Did I use it correctly, or should it be the other way around?


LL said...

I must be old...

Jim Donahue said...

Wow, you weren't kidding--you really are back. (I feel kind of happy/sad about ending TVB.)

I have a "Best of Thunderbirds" DVD collection.

At its best, it holds up well. (Can get a bit draggy.)

Post a Comment