Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nothing left to name

When I was a kid I thought the line -

"There is nothing you can name that is anything like a Dame" from the South Pacific song was actually
"There is nothing you can aim that is anything like a Dame"

- I thought alright that the song writer had a point - alot of things that can be aimed - ie darts, basketballs, squirting guns etc - are indeed very unlike Ladies of all kinds...

This leads me neatly to my next point - that being that there is nothing, and I mean nothing in the whole world left to name. For example - this thing,


the fleshy useless lump towards the front of your ear is called a Tragus.

And the sound you make when you say the word "skip" is called a "voiceless velar plosive" sound - which comes from the Velum - ie your soft bit at the back of the soft palate.

I ask you - is there anything yet to be named? If there is I want to call it a "Niavarcush" - let me know if you have a candidate worthy of such a title.

11 comments:

Totalfeckineejit said...

That picture is clearly an amalgam of lovely La-de-dah Lady Di And Priceless Princess Charlie.It needs naming. Perhaps 'Charles and Diana' or 'CAD' for short.Maybe 'Di and Charles' or 'DIC 'for short.Or Maybe call it 'The House of Windsor is an anachronistic often racist Royal pain in the arse and should be abolished, but Lady Di, as weird as she was ,prosibly had redeeming features and died young which is sad and pity the fool that ever got mixed up with Charlie Farley and father , Piggy Malone, in the first place.'
But that might be a bit long winded.

Niamh B said...

Hmmmmmmm - most of the above of which would be most prosibly upsetting to my mother who "loved" lady Di - even though she never met her. Well spotted all the same TFE... and I like that new word prosibly too!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Glad you like it N, I coined it a while back and it has been accepted by The Oxford English Dictionary and Websters among others. It's a cross between possibly and probably ,neither of which cover the actual degree of certainty required in some cases.

Elisabeth said...

I'm all for the prosibilities of things and events that come together.

One of my favorite underused words is that of micturition, a morbid desire to pass water. Could we change that to a morbid desire to find words or become like Charles Dickens who had a morbid desire to look upon dead bodies - " I am dragged by invisible force to the morgue.'

For Dickens language was arbitrary and prone to dislocation. I love nothing more than a made up word as long as I can get some sense of it from its context.

Does it come from childhood?

When I was little I had trouble with the words from the Hail Mary prayer: 'Blessed is the fruit of thy womb...'

With no idea of what the word 'womb' meant and no one who would fill in the gaps, I imagined bunches of grapes and bananas hanging from Mary's arms. The fruit felt misplaced.

Thanks for a wonderful and thought provoking post, Niamh.

swiss said...

i rather like all these words you come across and don't know. obviously i like all the nanatomical stuff because much of it is si historical, malphigi, oddi all those sorts of things.

i must relieve elisabeth of the notion that micturition is somehow morbid. it's just peeing and we use it no differently than the likes of expectoration.

it is interesting to look at these types of words in the context of when they were first noted and then relating it to what was going on, in this case medicine, at the time.

i did manage to drop borborygmi into the conversation the other day

Titus said...

"Niavarcush" sound to me like using one of James Cameron's avatars as a chaise-longue. But then I haven't seen the film.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like obscure words and names for odd little things. Talking of something that hasn't been named, dark matter is still looking for a real name as no-one knows what it really is .

Niamh B said...

TFE - what if you wanted to express the certainty level between prosibly and probably - there's a whole load of prosibilities there.
Elisabeth - tis true - and yes I think we all struggled with the womb line - especially when the wombles were out. Didn't know that about Dickens and dead bodies. You learn something new every day.
Swiss - I like them too - micturition actually gave rise to a phrase very popular in Cork where we ask "Are you taking the Mick?" Borborygmi - having read your post - did you drop it into conversation or did it drop in on a conversation? and yes I was always nervous taking expectorant cough syrup - unsure of what to expect.
Titus - having seen the film, I think you might be right - but knowing James (and I don't) he might already have thought of a name for it, no doubt there'll be big handbooks out there for it... Like the old Star Trek manuals you could get years ago.
Crafty Green Poet - yes obscure words are food for poets, equally they can be the product of poetry... Dark matter - there's a challenging one to name alright. And that brings us to the next question - do you have to actually experience/ see/ know a thing - in order to name it?!?

Totalfeckineejit said...

'do you have to actually experience/ see/ know a thing - in order to name it?!?'

No. I think we should name 'Dark matter', Eric.

Niamh B said...

Ooh Eric's a good one - dark and brooding, and slightly mysterious - like Cantona perhaps...
Good call

the watercats said...

lol.. titus!.. I think you're right there!..

I think the fella who wrote hitchhikers guide to the galaxy did a book of these things, I've forgotten the name of it now and I could have got it completely arseways, probable in fact.

:-) great post, my brains about to start hurting...