Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Drive on, you DINK!

I suspect that we all do it-making up words as we speak. Sometimes, our words come from other words, sometimes, we do it as a manner of convenience, and sometimes, we just trip up and say the wrong thing, only to find it stuck and voila! we now have a new one.

I don't know what it is that compels us to make up language-to keep the language ever growing and evolving, but it always seems to do just that. We formulate new grammar by morphing the old into the new, all along playing with the language. It doesn't really bother me; I'm not one of those "fuddy duddy" old-timers who thinks that language is not a play toy. It's a tool that, when we see fit, we choose to follow the rules but, every once in a while, we break them just because we can.

Language is, in a lot of ways, like a metaphor for life. We learn it quickly when we're young and religiously try to follow the rules. Just when we master the rules, we recognize the value in breaking them. As we grow older, we wish we had more time to play with our language, just because it's there, as we did when we were a child.

My friend Mohinder speaks about 4 or 5 languages, including Punjabi and English. Interesting thing about his English, he's always tellings us that he speaks, "English-English, not American English." He uses this as a defense when he makes up words. I find it kind of amusing, and chastise him for speaking "Mohinglish" when he does it, but I'm actually convinced this is his mastery of the language showing through. I suppose, if I spoke more than 1 or 2 languages, and there wasn't a convenient word for what I was trying to get out of my piehole at a given point in the time space continuum, I would just sort of make one up on the spot. Imagination is so under-rated these days. Wonder, Think, Dream, Drive, Become-it's my new motto.

Speaking of driving, I have a made-up word for drivers who travel too slowly in the left lane. DINKs I call them. It's actually short for Drivers In Need of a Kick. Fortunately, for me, I've been avoiding the DINKs almost all week long, since I've been working from home. I do miss the office, but not having to contend with the DINKs, well, that's like a prize in itself. There's a prize I didn't even have to make up, I can imagine it floating over the horizon, trapped in traffic, stuck behind all the DINKs in the world, lined up in the left lane, just waiting to pass.

Until next time...

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