Hooray Language?

The other day I came dangerously close to starting another blog. Not a replacement for this one, just another one. I even went so far as to register the domain name and put up a few posts in draft form. The blog is called “Hooray Language!” and it’s about the little fascinating little language tidbits I pick up here and there.

For instance, the first post:


Oh Capitonym, My Capitonym

A capitonym is a word that changes meaning when you capitalize (or, conversely, decapitalize) its first letter. Polish and polish come to mind as a common example, as well as Turkey and turkey, and Cancer and cancer.

Wikipedia lists some fairly amusing further examples, like Tangier (the Moroccan city) and tangier (more tangy), and Herb (a dude named Herb) and herb (the herb). The page also gives us a stern warning:

In situations where both words should be capitalized (such as the beginning of a sentence), there will be nothing to distinguish between them except the context in which they are used.


The second post:

The Curious Case Of Case

UPPER CASE and lower case letters are so called because in the early days of moveable type – perhaps as many as 500 years ago – capital letters tended to be kept in the top drawer (the upper case) of printers’ drawers. The smaller letters were kept in the lower cases.


It’s something of a curiosity that I haven’t kept a language blog before. After all, I consider language to be the greatest thing humans have ever pulled off (something to that effect is the tagline for the Hooray Language! blog), I studied linguistics in college for some reason, and I have a deep and abiding love for the little minutiae of language.

Fortunately, only seconds away from clicking the “Publish” button, I forced myself to stop. I already have a blog, I reminded myself, and furthermore it’s one that’s been so needlessly ignored for some time now. In fact, the scrutinizing reader will note, I actually currently have two blogs in various states of neglect, if you include The Jokemakers, which has been on hiatus since November. The girlfriend of one of my Jokemaking brethren recently told me she hadn’t laughed since November 4th, the last time we posted a joke. She wouldn’t go so far as to say that the world at large hasn’t laughed since then, but I knew she was thinking it. I was certainly thinking it.

Heck, we’ve all thunk it.

So, here’s a couple of relatively new one-liners from the tangled comedic chambers of my mind:

“Some people say that amazement preps corn for dinner; I say, awe shucks.”

“I liked Minnesota for awhile until I switched over to two-liters.”

So, there. Like ’em or lump ’em.

Anyway: I’ve left this poor blog to collect e-cobwebs for a little while, and for that I apologize. If any of you readers remain, well, just know that you’re good people. Loyal. Friendly. Kind. Beautiful. Hott. No, that’s not a typo. I meant that second ‘t’ and I meant it hard.

It’s not that wedding planning hasn’t been happening, because it most certainly has. In the past couple weeks, we’ve made some major decisions about our invitations, about clothing for me and the groomsmen, and about food. I’ve started to record music for the recessional, started to research music for the wedding in general. We have a lot to do yet but I’m feeling pretty good about things in general. The knot of dread and stress that is sure to appear at some point along the line hasn’t yet made its way into our throats.

I’ve been busy, sure. Much of my time has been taken up doing two things I don’t want to write about for two completely different reasons, but suffice to say I will be posting about them in the fairly near future and they’re both exciting. Not as exciting as Oprah’s revelation that her half-sister is Lady Gaga or whatever it was that she discovered, but still. One of them has to do with writing, so there’s a clue. Another clue is that they both don’t relate to weddings at all.

We also have this dog, you see, and she’s a handful but holy hell is she cute:

We’ve made major, major strides with her training, especially within the last couple of weeks. I can’t recall if I blogged about this previously, but a little while after we adopted her we had the brilliant idea to look up general traits of American Foxhounds online. Wynette is most likely a foxhound mixed with some German Shepherd and even possibly a dash of beagle, and who knows what else. But her dominant breed does seem to be foxhound, and Wikipedia described her to a T:

The American Foxhound is sweet, kind, loyal, and very loving at a home. As with all hounds they need careful training, constant socialization, and owners who are willing to give them ample exercise: a bored foxhound will find ways to keep themselves entertained and can be very destructive, some examples of destruction include everything from scratching at doors to tearing apart objects including toilet paper, being very rambunctious and, being rather long, they have the ability to take things from counter-tops. […]

Intelligent creatures as they are, many foxhounds quickly learn to open gates or scale small fences to go wandering. While on the hunt the foxhound is a warrior, once a scent is picked up he or she will follow it neglecting any commands. Because their hunting instinct is strong they should never be trusted off-lead. Foxhounds are rarely street safe.

Foxhounds are easy to live with and thrive as members of a family; however, they are not ideal apartment dogs and shouldn’t be left alone indoors for extended periods of time.

That’s pretty much Wynette. But though we’ve read references to foxhounds being largely untrainable, she’s come a long, long way in the two months we’ve had her. She sits most of the time when we tell her to, she pulls less on walks, she’s almost entirely stopped her little nipping habit, and is generally much more responsive.

There’s much to work on yet, especially in the socialization department – she has no idea how to meet other dogs and, sometimes, people. But we have a lot of hope and are very optimistic. She is sweet, cuddly, loyal, and we’ve fallen completely in love with her.


In any case, it’s time to get back to the blog. Oh, it won’t be regular. It may be sporadic. But I’ve missed it, to tell you the truth, just as I’ver missed reading all the other blogs I’ve been neglecting. And for those of you who’ve stuck around, you’re princes among women and princesses among dudes.

Or something.

Love, Bret

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11 responses to “Hooray Language?

  1. Welcome back! And don’t go away for so long again, please. Language, Wynette, groomstuffs, bridestuffs, photos…more, MORE, M O R E !

  2. I would love your new language blog if you started it. I’m going to be telling everyone I see today about capitonyms.

    Incidentally, I started a new blog today: atdoublerdiner.com. I was originally planning to wait until after my wedding was over to start a non-wedding blog so that HitchDied didn’t go into disrepair, but I have too many things to say that aren’t about weddings. Let’s hope I can keep up two blogs at once.

  3. Okay…so much to say.
    First: Wynette is F#$*ING ADORABLE. She’s grown up so much! Jeez…she looks beautiful and charming.
    Second: Hooray language! sounds like an awesome project, maybe you could get a couple of people involved so that all of the burden of writing wouldn’t fall on you and what not? Just a thought because I think it’s brilliant…Language is fully fascinating.
    Third: Excited to hear your wedding plans are moving forward! Can’t wait to hear the recessional.
    Last: Har-de-har-har to your jokes, sir. I said har!

    • That’s a good idea – I should get another person or two for the language blog. Either that or I’ll just make it a feature on this one.

  4. Hi Bret, if you want to practice on another dog that’s also still learning how to meet other dogs and people in a way that doesn’t knock them over, Karlie and I would gladly help. That’s definitely the hardest thing about dog training, you have to keep on putting them in the situations they have difficulty with until they finally get it, often annoying other people along the way!

  5. Still here! I would read your blog about language because you are funny and smart and therefore a joy to read. Also complimentary, and I’m a sucker for compliments. 😀

    Once I finish my rush of wedding to-do projects that I’m determined to complete THIS MONTH so I don’t have to think about weddings for another four months or so, I am planning to focus on our new blog, which also has a domain name, a gravatar, a twitter account, and possibly even a non-wedding-related purpose.

    It’s about puttering through life and hobbies and kids and such. So, really, the same blog with less wedding talk.

  6. So glad that you’re still around. I thought maybe we broke up or something, and I was getting kind of sad about it.

    Please post more about language here, I love that stuff. Have you ever read Bill Bryson’s book “Mother Tongue”about American English and how it came to be? Facsinating.

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