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Mix bar 16/09 - No one is you-er than you.

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The teachers among us have settled down with their new classes, although there are complaints about staff shortages which make it tough for everyone. Times are hard.

Today we started discussing the 90's film "Groundhog Day" which one of our number has recently seen, and we ended up talking about neologisms . . . . . go on, pronounce that word, it's phonetically ogismic.

New words that have relatively recently been coined and have become established in the language . . . . . "Nerd" is a good example. It was originally a small animal from the land of Ka-Troo in a book written in 1950 by Dr Seuss.

We had great trouble translating "nerd" into Spanish, I thought it was "friki", but apparently friki means "geek", which isn't quite the same. Then we disagreed with most of the online dictionaries because they translated it as someone stupid and simple; whereas I think a nerd is usually quite intelligent. We settled on "empollón" or "ratita de biblioteca" neither of which were very satisfactory.

Anyway, a few quotes from the great Dr Suess popped up; like

- "Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"  . . . . Which apart from rhyming and being true, demonstrates his deft way with language, inventing  . . . the comparative pronoun. And

- "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."  . . . . You just have to love him.

So back to neologisms . . . one of my favourites is "catch 22". The book with this title was written about World War II and became popular with the anti-war movements during the Vietnam war. It was one of the important novels of the twentieth century and it was  published in 1961 . . . I bought my first big dictionary in 1979 and it was in it. . . . . . From book title to dictionary entry in only 18 years is some going, especially pre-internet. It has now left the book behind and become part of the language, regularly used not just by people who haven't read the book, but by those who don't even know it was a book. (recommended reading by the way).

So I would say that "Groundhog Day" is well on the way to becoming such a neologism in the English language. Universally used . . .  and quite different to the expression "déjà vu".

I say "in the English language" as it was somewhat hampered in Spanish by being titled "Atrapado en el Tiempo" on its release . . . So nobody went to see it.

Next week we will be discussing whether young people today are generally more intelligent than their grandparents were . . . amongst other things.




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