Tag Archives: New year’s resolutions

Resolved

As we near the end first week of January, I’m proud to report that I’ve kept all of my New Year’s resolutions. Or I would have if I had made any. Perhaps I’ve kept yours.

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. Or perhaps I should say, I don’t make typical New Year’s resolutions.

Let it be noted that this week, I took a Zumba class, attended a Weight Watchers meeting, started a new book (reading, not writing), cleaned out and reorganized my refrigerator and tried to donate a pint of blood. Tried, because I apparently didn’t have enough iron for the Red Cross. I then went out and bought a gargantuan head of kale.

If I had resolved to exercise, lose weight, read more, get organized, do for humanity and buy healthful foods, I’d have aced it this week. One down, fifty-one to go.

Notice I said, “healthful,” not “healthy.” Things are healthful. People are healthy. Kale, anyone?

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Food, Health, Holidays, Sports and Recreation

To niggle or not to niggle?

A recent glance at a language blog stopped me in my tracks as I contemplated where I’d like my own language blog to go in the New Year.

In his December 30 post, The Baltimore Sun’s John E. McIntyre, a language blogger, resolved to not nitpick when it comes to the grammatical missteps of others. In essence, he vowed to stop doing many of the things I and those who comment on Word Nymph do on a regular basis. This made me feel a little sheepish.

McIntyre said he’d no longer “whinge” about how young people speak and write these days or lament the decline of the English language. Further, he resolved to stop making or contributing to lists of grammatical pet peeves. Alas, he appears to be a bigger person than I. I just recently engaged my readers in contributing to piles of peeves.

There was one resolution that got my attention “I will not assume that everything Miss Thistlebottom or Sister Scholastica told me about grammar and usage when I was a mere tot is permanently and universally valid.”

I confess that, in my own writing, I often draw on rules I learned in grade school, lessons I seldom questioned and have forever heeded to the letter. I do consult other sources as needed, to verify my understanding of the rules, especially when I am discussing them here.

On one hand, McIntyre appears to be suggesting that we honor the English language as it continues to evolve and not revere ancient laws as ultimate truth. I’m not sure I’m ready to do this. I’m not ready to welcome into accepted practice those errors—many intentional—that have crept into our language so invasively that to oppose them is just too much of a burden. The path of least resistance, in a sense.

On the other hand, he appears to hold dear the virtues of proper speech and writing. I like his New Year’s toast: “Lift a brimming glass at midnight and drink to the hope that in the coming months we will all speak and write with more accuracy, clarity, force, and grace.”

Perhaps what he is saying is that, as writers and speakers, we should continue to uphold our personal standards, while exploring new and clever ways of expressing ourselves, but not judge those who do not.

I agree with this in theory. However, if I follow McIntyre’s worthy example, I am afraid I will have little left about which to write in the New Year.

I never intended to be the grammar police or a word Nazi; I prefer to have fun with language, pointing out interesting rules I am still learning and coming up with interesting ways of remembering them. At the same time, it’s also nice to have an outlet.

This is as much your blog as it is mine. Where do you think we should take it?

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Filed under All Things Wordish, News, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Three-quarters of a year in review

As another year draws to a close, we see psychology and behavior experts appearing in great numbers on the news and talk shows to advise us on our New Year’s resolutions.

On the last day of 2009, one example seemed a little odd amongst the goals of losing weight, finding a job, getting out of debt and repairing relationships. One particular expert said, “for example, if your New Year’s resolution is starting a blog, . . .” I recall thinking, that’s odd. Who would start a blog as a New Year’s resolution?

I suppose the idea percolated within my mind for a month or two, because around the end of February, I started thinking more about it. I launched this one on March 30th and today marks my 233rd blog post of 2010.

After I first had the idea, it took me a while to settle on subject matter. I envisioned a quirky blend of Erma Bombeck and William Safire, who probably were never in the same room together, nor had much in common while they were alive. I tried to define themes within the About Word Nymph page, which still lacks proper cohesion. When people ask me what my blog is about, I tell them it is about language and life. I should probably squeeze that into a tagline somewhere.

If you are new here and are trying to figure out what this place is about, try going to that sidebar over on the right, and searching Topics. Perhaps you like the posts having to do with language but have no use for stories of the blogger’s life stories, or vice versa. If you’re a wordie, look under “All Things Wordish” and read my spin on pleonasms, mondegreens, portmanteaus, bdelygmias, oronyms, toponyms and absolute adjectives, or my gripes about malapropisms, mispronounced words and misunderstood song lyrics. If you want to read about my clumsiness and stupidity, “Foibles and Faux Pas” is for you.

If you are just now stumbling on to Word Nymph, might I suggest starting with a few of my favorites:

On Language:

Not very nice
Not a mute point
Let’s talk for a moment about momentarily
Did you want to ask me that again?
The ants are my friends
Repeat redundancy

 On Life:

Blink and you’ll miss it
Golden Girls
Woof it down
Joined at the unbelted waist
The other woman
Not the end of the world

Crossovers:

Fashion nonsense
Little old lady who?
Justice I am, without one plea
Character study

My personal jury (composed of 12 of my personalities) is still out as to whether Word Nymph was the wisest project for 2010. I will say, however, that the best part by far has been the interaction I enjoy with readers. So, please, everyone, keep your comments, compliments and criticisms coming.

May you wake up tomorrow feeling well and inspired to take on something worthwhile in the New Year.

Cheers.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Foibles and Faux Pas, Holidays, Technology and Social Media