PDA

View Full Version : I "Refudiate" Sarah Palin


test

jobeterob
08-06-2010, 06:08 PM
In defense of Sarah Palin's EnglishBy Roy Peter Clark, Special to CNN
July 23, 2010 8:55 a.m. EDT
Former Gov. Sarah Palin waves to a crowd gathered to hear her speak on May 14 in Washington, DC.STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Roy Peter Clark: Sarah Palin's creation of a new work, "refudiate," was inspired
He says blending words has a long history in English
The words "web" and "log" gave birth to "blog," Clark says
Clark: "I'm for more fun and more color in political speech"
Editor's note: Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar of the Poynter Institute and founding director of the National Writer's Workshops. He has taught writing for more than 30 years and has spoken about the writer's craft widely. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "The Glamor of Grammar."

(CNN) -- I don't care much for Sarah Palin's politics, but I do like her word "refudiate." As I just typed the word, a squiggly red line appeared under it with a suggestion that I change the word to repudiate. Well, for the record, I repudiate that suggestion and refudiate it.

People who don't like political figures often make fun of their language.

H.L. Mencken said of a Warren G. Harding speech: "It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash." Jimmy Carter's enemies portrayed him as a hick from the sticks, not just because of his brother Billy, but for his Southern speech, including his pronunciation of nuclear.

It doesn't seem to matter whether you have a reputation as brainy and articulate.

John Kennedy's Harvard dialect created a cottage industry of comic impressionists. At the other end of the spectrum was George W. Bush, whose Bushisms were legion. Opponents of President Obama attack his use of language as elitist, professorial or passionless.

In other words, Palin stands in good company. And I stand with her.

What was her crime? She made up a new word --unintentionally perhaps, but it doesn't matter.

I once referred to a highly paid athlete as a godzillionaire. I meant to say gazillionaire, but when I caught myself, I realized my "mistake" was better: the athlete's wealth was ginormous, as big and monstrous as the Japanese icon Godzilla.

I'm all for coining neologisms, the technical name for a new word minted into the English language.

One type of neologism is called a blend, as when two words are joined to form a third.



Video: Sarah Palin invents a 'new' word
RELATED TOPICS
Sarah Palin
English Language
Culture and Lifestyle
Language and Linguistics
The words web and log gave birth to blog. The merger of gigantic and enormous gave us the increasingly popular ginormous, which I thought was a kid's malapropism until I read it on a billboard.

There's a chance that Palin, who compared her language creativity to Shakespeare's, may in fact be more in tune with Mrs. Malaprop, a famous theatrical character who appeared in Richard Sheridan's 1775 play "The Rivals."

The great lady would lend her name to the confusion of language, as when she meant to say pinnacle but referred to another character as "the very pineapple of politeness."

I knew a burned-out teacher who would collect and publish his student's mistakes, such as a passage in which a young woman was said to "tilt her head with a delicate air of expectoration." Ptooey!

Children's mistakes are often among the most creative. My niece Mary Hope electrified her family by referring to something as an obstacle illusion.

This seemed amusing but useless until the recent day when I thought I saw an orange cone blocking my exit from a casino parking garage. Well guess what? Turned out to be an obstacle illusion.

Lewis Carroll made great use of blends in poems such as "Jabberwocky," in which slimy and lithe collide to form slithy. A Canadian radio word contest invited listeners to coin a word for that straining sound a Canadian car makes on a frigid morning? The winner was a blend: cranksinatra.

The most popular guess is that refudiate was an unintended blend of refute and repudiate.

I like the fact that the sound "feud" rests in the middle because that seems to define Palin's form of maverickism: feudish.

And let's not forget the verb refuse, meaning to reject. There may even be a historical allusion here (perhaps an obstacle allusion) to Refuseniks, those disgruntled Soviet citizens not permitted to emigrate.

Perhaps another influence is radiate. Maybe if you radiate refusal, perhaps can be said to refudiate. It's all good.

I'm for more fun and more color in political speech, including the occasional swing and miss that turns into a home run. The alternative is all script and spin, all euphemism and disclaimer, all flap and doodle, signifying nothing.

marv2
08-07-2010, 10:16 PM
This is all bullshit because as soon as someone uses "Ebonics" they are in trouble!

ladyvanaye
08-08-2010, 10:59 AM
This is all bullshit because as soon as someone uses "Ebonics" they are in trouble!

Dont you know it Marv! It is obvious when it becomes socially acceptable, it came from 'a more acceptable source'. Ill leave it at that.

midnight johnny
08-08-2010, 12:12 PM
Palin's foolishness and ignorance of the English language is a hell of a lot different than Lewis Carroll's intentional and clever
word creations. Palin's lack of knowledge of the English language is just an addition to the long list of things of which she is a
marvelous ignoramus.

robb_k
08-08-2010, 01:27 PM
Palin's foolishness and ignorance of the English language is a hell of a lot different than Lewis Carroll's intentional and clever
word creations. Palin's lack of knowledge of the English language is just an addition to the long list of things of which she is a
marvelous ignoramus.

I find it humourous that you would use "Different THAN" in making that particular statement, when "Different from" is the correct usage. Or perhaps "different than" is now "correct" in USA or The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? As far as I know, "different from" is still the correct usage, at least in Canada.

And I suppose that "I could care less", which means the exact opposite of what the speaker intends to say, is also now correct "English"?

jobeterob
08-08-2010, 01:39 PM
What is a concern here is that Sarah Palin (at least for a while) was widely regarded as a credible Presidential Candidate and perhaps still is although it seems to me "talk show host" is most credible.

If she made a new word, she did so because she probably meant to use repudiate and didn't know the difference. And while the USA is losing ground to China and some of the rest of world, the USA should not have Presidents who can't even speak English ~ we saw where that got us all last time; millions of Iraqi's died needlessly because of him.

Robb & John know English so much better than Sarah.............

soulster
08-08-2010, 02:31 PM
Was? Around here, in republikkkan-tea-bagger country, she is the best presidential candidate!

robb_k
08-08-2010, 02:39 PM
Could it be that given that Sarah Palin has trouble remembering and recognising the words in her own language, that she might not be good at understanding all the words in that language. That, in turn, would point to the potential for her to misunderstand quotations in her English Bible. Then, it is also very possible that she doesn't understand the passages in that Bible that she uses to form her ideas of how American citizens should live and conduct themselves, and the laws that should govern them. The people who vote for her should consider that.

jobeterob
08-09-2010, 01:48 AM
Sarah can't possibly win the Republican nomination; they just aren't stupid enough to allow that. She'll just drive all the independants back to the Democrats. Obama needs Palin to be the nominee. I'd love it.

144man
08-10-2010, 05:44 AM
Robb K, most people in the UK incorrectly say "different to".

As the "IT Crowd" might say, Sarah Palin should not be placed on a pedal-stool.

marxthespot
08-11-2010, 02:06 PM
....As the "IT Crowd" might say, Sarah Palin should not be placed on a pedal-stool.

Actually in Sarah Palin's case, I think "stool" is appropriate!!.....;)

soulster
08-11-2010, 04:15 PM
Sarah can't possibly win the Republican nomination; they just aren't stupid enough to allow that. Don't underestimate them. Never underestimate the opposition!