Saturday, July 28, 2012

Too Much Negativity!

I don't mean the negativity in the political arena; we pretty well have to take that as a given in today's ungenteel and abusive way of doing things if goons have their sway.  Instead, I refer to the seeming creeping of this rampant negativity into our everyday language.  Amazingly, we have a state of 21st century English in which there are words that exist only in the negative.

Take uncouth.  I'm sure we all have met people who might be described as uncouth; but have you ever heard of someone as being couth?  Likewise we can encounter inept actions, words, or even suitors; but have you ever heard of any of those things being described as ept?

Mobs are unruly; but church-attendees are not usually described as ruly, especially if the sermon is too long.  And warlords tend to be ruthless; only those named Ruth can be said to be ruth.  Anyway, none of those who believe that the quality of mercy is not strained are ruthful.

Most college males tend to look unkempt on Sunday morning, whether they wake up alone or with company; but how often do they pass muster as looking kempt?  Okay, maybe that's a bad example in the case of straight male undergraduates?

In my case, I typically am dishevelled in mornings; at least until I have had my coffee and a session with the hairbrush I'm a blonde Medusa!  Afterwards, I'm still not shevelled, darn it!

That makes me disgruntled.  But after all, have you even encountered a gruntled Angel?  But don't be dismayed, even though you can't be mayed in the active sense.

On the other hand, maybe all is not bad.  After all, a Sir Galahad-like guy might be peerless.  While it's a shame that there are not more like him, maybe we should give thanks that he is not peerful; that would fit drunken frat boys!  Given that thought, I beg you to be consolate rather than disconsolate even though you have to linguistically fudge in order to do so!





12 comments:

Anemone said...

I have never been able to understand why some words exist only in the negative form either.

bakku-shan said...

I think that the positive forms were real words at one time, but they became archaic while the negatives did not.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I hope you will be both dishevelled and gruntled today, for it is Saturday!

John said...

If you are not disheveled, are sheveled or heveled?
And the blonde Medusa might be an interesting sight (even if only seen in a mirror)!

John said...

*are you sheveled

Grand Crapaud said...

For some, all it takes to be ruthless is to divorce Ruth. But how do we get feckless?

Somehow, I see a blonde Medusa looking like Lum with green snakes.

Mike said...

I didn't realize there were so many one sided words. And there are probably boat loads more, right?

Meredith said...

On the other hand, there might be others that exist only in the affirmative because of the negative being awkward, I guess.

Bilbo said...

There's a great scene in the movie "Private Benjamin," in which the crusty old sergeant is giving his troops instructions before going out on an exercise. He warns them about transiting a practice minefield, because "...most of these mines are inert, however some are ert." The looks traded by Goldie Hawn (the titular Private Benjamin) and her fellow soliders on hearing that are priceless.

Big Sky Heidi said...

This was a great spoof on language and the amusements from it.

John said...

A linguistics professor told his class that in English, a double negative is a positive. He said that in some languages, a double negative is still a negative, but in no language is a double positive a negative.

From the back of the class he hears, "Yeah, right!"

Bilbo said...

Also, there's a great song by The Statler Brothers titled "Ruthless" that talks about ... what else? ... being "Ruthless since Ruth walked out on me."