If you were wondering

I know what you’re thinking… well actually you’re probably thinking who the fuck is this guy, and where does he get off claiming to know what I’m thinking… but I digress, umm yes… ummmm…. oh yea, that’s right, I know what you’re thinking, even though you’re not thinking it, for the sake of what was meant to be a smooth segway, we’re gonna say you’re thinking “what the hell happened to your hair Cameron?”.

Short answer I got drunk, and decided it would be a good idea if I spurned the barber with a good twenty years experience sculpting rags into respectable do’s and just give myself a haircut instead. What could go wrong? After a night of heavy drinking, at three o’clock in the morning, in low light, using a blunt pair of craft scissors.

But actually that wasn’t how my hair got like this. The danger of cutting your hair when you’re drunk is that you’re actually really careful, and to be honest I didn’t do too bad a job, and the mistakes made can be just laughed off. What’s dangerous is when you get sober, and you think… if I could do THAT drunk, imagine how good I’d be sober.

It does not end well. And what’s more, you’ve already played the drunk card to your friends over the first cut. The first time you make a mess of your hair after drinking too much, it’s a jovial story with mates. The second time, it’s an AA meeting. So you have the choice of either sounding like an alcoholic who has a certain panache for late night styling, or equally as bad, you’re stupid enough when you’re sober to do something that, even when you’re drunk, kind of seems like an idea that might lead to regret.

I’ll bet you’re sorry you ever asked.

I’m Down With the Old Time Lingo

A tribe of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory of Australia were known to refer to what we commonly call a Digeridoo as a “Bamboo”, which has been suggested to be directly linked to the fact that the Didge resembles, and perhaps was once made from, the hollow giant grass of the same name. If this is the case, we share a word today with people 40,000 years ago that has remained completely unchanged in meaning and pronunciation since that time. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that our species potentially arose only 10,000 years before that!

A world beyond (y)our shores.

It never ceases to peeve me that Wikipedia articles have a tendency to refer to US cities, states and landmarks without clarifying which country they are referring to. It’s even worse still when Australian publications do this. Sydney Morning Herald, I know referring to the British Monarch as “the Queen” has got us all into bad habits, but as far as I’m aware Australia hasn’t yet officially declared itself to be the 51st State of America, and as such Barack Obama is not “the President” unless, of course, that statement is directly followed up with “of the United States”.

Beware the Billion

Did you know the term “a billion” can actually refer to two different numbers? While common usage today generally accepts a billion to be 1,000,000,000; it is also known to refer to the number 1,000,000,000,000; most commonly in documents that were written pre-1970.

You have been warned.

Preface

As you may well have deduced from the name, one of the main focuses of this depository of overly wordy pseudo-intellectual diarrhea will be “the glorious and fascinating bastardisation of the English language” by us unruly plebs, the common1 people. Think of it as an undictionary. An atheosaurus. A guide book of how to do what not to do correctly.

I find the inherent innovation that bubbles away beneath the surface of our global language to be endlessly fascinating, both in the linguistic creativity that is conjured up seemingly from nowhere, and then also in the inevitable repression on evolution that occurs after these words break into the mainstream and for a short time fall into common usage2.

Despite being one of the few modern global languages to lack an overseeing regulatory body to dictate what is and isn’t good English5, the usage, structure and spelling of the language is almost impossibly uniform across the “English speaking world”, with steadfast variations largely limited to national hissyfits about where to place the “e” in metere (The argument being based around British and American variants, both of which still primarily use the Imperial system for measurement, go figure).

What fascinates me most is that there is a tendency for those that occupy the largest position of “influence” over the language (teachers, writers and dictionary folk) to try to enforce an order over the language, and ironically try to quell any evolutions taking place. The people that on one hand sing the praises of Shakespeare and his creative influence on our language are the same people who lament the “death” of our language as they encounter technological jargon, street slang or progressive evolutions such as “alot”.

Most ironically for a language that is so heavily self-regulated, English is not a language that can really be described as having rules. Despite it’s Germanic foundations, the language today has drawn so much influence from other languages that it is often mistaken for a derivative of Latin, from which French, Italian and Spanish all grew. Along with new words, from these languages came new sets of rules in both spelling and grammar, their influences over the language growing exponentially, until what we originally would have called rules in some cases became far outweighed by their exceptions.

Anyway…

Effectively incorrections could be a blog that gives the finger to anyone who tries to put English in a box, and embraces the magic that is a language that can accommodate the words taikonaut (a Chinese-Greek hybrid word) in the same sentence as television (German-Latin), alongside “galore” (Gaelic), “verandah” (Indian), “tycoon” (Japanese), gobsmacked (Gaelic-Dutch), and a never ending plethora of other loanwords, hybridisations and tac-on-isations.6

This being the internet, having now far surpassed even the most steadfast online reader’s attention span by at least three paragraphs, I can fairly safely assume that no one is reading. As such, wank.

BLAST!

It’s a little bare isn’t it? Which is odd, because it’s not for want of writing. I assure you on my end there are pages upon pages of musings, tidbits, witty anecdotes and the like that would no doubt keep you entertained for minutes on end. It’s just that none of it’s any good. That’s not to say it’s bad… it’s just that I seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of editing and re-editing until I’m convinced you all will be as bored as I am with them the hundredth time round.

A deadline would be nice. Then at least I could feel compelled to feel guilty for missing them if nothing else.

I am so very sorry about all this.