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Wiser’s Wramblings-Grammar and Grammer

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

Reading an article using the word Invalid the other day made me stop and think as the wording of the paragraph was such that my mind strayed to the wrong, of two possible meanings of the words. As regular readers know, or surmise, I love the language and, in particular, all of the quirks of grammar in our language. Some, like my “sidetracks” taken mentioning them. Some likely feel like I’m trying to captivate them in an English, perhaps their most hated high school subject, classroom. Out of deference to those not caring to go back to English class as I devote a significant portion of this article to “Wiser’s Wordplay Wramblings,” I will reserve that topic for the last “page” allowing you to take wing and fly away, or aweigh, as I grammaratize.

Call Blocking: Call Blocking is a convenient option to avoid unwanted calls but, at least on my phone, it doesn’t prevent the incoming call from intruding, albeit with only one ring. I’m already headed to the phone as it’s in the other room, only to discover that it was a blocked call. If you order any amount of anything online, you often can’t avoid giving out a phone number. Since my Cell phone isn’t a major part of my life it isn’t on me or near me for large parts of the day. Therefore, I use that number when I have to give out a phone number. Then, of course, that becomes the vehicle by which scam calls attempt to worm their way into my life.

LED Lights: LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are terrific. Until they aren’t that is. Vehicles coming at you with those high intensity LED headlights are irritating if not downright dangerous. Their brightness and intensity can momentarily affect your vision. Your vision is momentarily impaired and if a pedestrian or object is on or near the edge of the road, as often, all too often, is the case, then catastrophe is only a nanosecond away.

Cockeyed Parking: As long as I am on a driving related rant I might as well throw in my peeve about people, most likely in a rush, that park diagonally in a perpendicularly lined parking spot. This inconsideration occurs, I think, based on two sets of circumstances. First, and most common, is that of the driver in a hurry, or too lazy to back up and pull straight in, resulting in tying up two parking spots by overlapping into the adjacent spot. The second, and this one explained to me by a past perpetrator, results from someone with a new vehicle that is trying to prevent their adjacent “parking neighbor” from getting too close, and who might open their door too carelessly. This too, also happens with too much frequency. Over the last two weeks I have noticed a significant, new, “Paint scraping rub-off” and, a new paint chipping ding in my car door. (Too’s galore I guess)

Café’ a-Lappe’: Having observed fellow church choir members sipping on occasion from what was presumed to be a water travel mug, I commented to one of them that I wish I could bring my coffee cup in with me so as to be able to partake of that beverage over the nearly two hour’s from start of Choir practice leading into and through the Sunday sermon. My fellow choir partner responded that it was coffee in their cup. “Aha!” Said I, and now take my coffee in with me disguised in a water traveling mug ever since. That didn’t turn out so well last week while warming up with the choir prior to the service when my cup slipped out of my hand. I caught it, but not before it bounced off the pew seat and a substantial amount of liquid beverage landed in my lap.

Ordinarily that might be a slight discomfort that I could endure but, I was wearing light brown slacks, and the “Watermark” was in an obvious, non-strategic area and was very visible. Even untucked my shirt didn’t come close to covering it. The Praise band singing, and Choir anthem would be performed with me standing in at least partial full-frontal view of the congregation.

Since Choir warm-up occurs 45 minutes before the sermon I dashed out of the church in Wellsville, raced to Scio, changed my slacks and was back with time to spare. Full admission and disclosure…I may have exceeded the speed limit(s) on occasion. At least the guy I passed who was going 50 in a 45 zone may have already surmised that. It WAS a passing zone, however.

Bingo: Many of the folks at the Olean Times Herald (OTH) are on a first name basis with me, due to my familiarity with them gained through our interaction when the paper is running its periodic Bingo Game. Every few months, and I haven’t figured out their scheduling yet, the Paper will run a months long Bingo game. On the first day of the month a Bingo game sheet divided into four individual games is included in the home delivery of the paper. Each day’s issue of the paper will then list 2 or 3 Bingo Numbers. Subscribers can pick up a new sheet of Bingo games each day. Since I get my paper remotely via USPS, they allow me to stop in periodically throughout the month and they will give me several sheets at a time. Winning game sheet categories are: One Bingo on a “card,” Two or more Bingo’s on a “card,” or fully completed sheet with all of the sheet’s possible Bingo’s filled in. At month’s end at the conclusion of that contest any “contending” sheets are taken to OTH and put in the appropriate entry box by category. One winner is drawn for each category. A nominal monetary prize is awarded in each category. Over the course of the few year’s, they have conducted this feature I have had a fully completed sheet only once, and have won only once. I don’t have the patience to go and sit and play Bingo, so this is a welcome leisure time activity. It takes a little more leisure time to completely mark in the numbers when I get a new batch near the end of the contest, but it occupies the mind.

Blocked Call Update (Live): As I am writing this Wednesday morning, I have had three “one ring,” blocked calls from a caller with a Nebraska ID. If you’ve been calling me from Nebraska, I’m sorry, but I didn’t get a chance to answer.

I had hoped to feature the winners of the David Howe Library Poetry Slam contest held last week, but as of this writing I have not seen any results. Maybe they just notified the winners, and “I ain’t one.”

Tagging on that, once again I reach out to, and applaud, all of the area “Free” Library systems. I can access otherwise unavailable books via Amazon and my Kindle, but I much prefer hand held, hard print copy in a book. It is a minor inconvenience but some of the story “series” I am reading have not been kept current. Most likely change of staff, and their lack of familiarity with the books made popular by their long-time readers, or budgetary constraints lead to gaps or termination of “series books” available. One particular “shout out” goes to the Belmont Library as they put a sticker on the back binder cover indicating the number in order of each book in a series by a particular author.

At this point I will continue with my Grammar Groan thesis and so be forewarned.

I made myself laugh just now when I typed what I thought was the proper recollection of the word describing the term for this topic as “Entomology,” Which was meant to mean the “scientific study of word histories and meanings.” Upon double checking for the proper spelling, I discovered that my recall was flawed. The term I used is defined as “The scientific study of Insects.” That really “bugged” me. As I thought about it, a second version of the sound alike incorrect word was Etymology, which in fact is the intended word study as noted above.

The etymological information regarding Invalid vs Invalid identified it as being a “Heteronymn.” Duh! I shoulda known that. NOT!

There are three different categories of “sound alike”, “spelled alike” or in one case, both terms with similarities.  Those terms were perhaps mentioned in your long ago fondest English class, and likely as boring then as they are now. The terms are; Homonym (not to be confused with the white gritty vegetable Hominy), Homophone, and Homograph. These words are derived by combining the Greek root words “homo” (meaning one in the same or similar), and either: “phone”(to sound); “graph” (to write); or “onyma” (meaning named).

The word “Invalid” mentioned above is in the subgroup of homographs called Heteronymn because, as written, there  are two possible interpretations as each is spelled the same but have different meanings.

Homophones would include words that sound alike but have different spellings or meanings: Their-There-They’re, One-Won, Weather-Whether, Two-Too-To, Hear-Here, Weak-Week, and I can’t ignore one of the most frequently (after the To-Too’s and Their-They’re’s) Brake vs Break.

Homographs are spelled the same but have different meanings or pronunciations: such as our example of Invalid. Other common examples are:                                                                       Close, Attribute, Bow, Buffet, Digest, Conduct, Bass, Desert (not Dessert), Lead, Separate, Sewer, Refuse, Permit, Object, Sewer, Tear, Axes (think about that one), Buffet, Incense

Homonyms can be either homophones or homographs, or both. A stricter specification for this category, held by some, is that they be limited to only those that are spelled alike but have both different meaning and pronunciation like “Bow” which can be the arrow shooting device or the front of a ship or boat. This is a stricter interpretation based on the Greek root “onyma” and have a different meaning to the name/word.

To clarify that (wink, wink) All homonyms are homophones because they sound the same but not all homophones are homonyms. Homophones with different spellings are not homonyms. As my friend and former OTH Writer Rick Schwab would say: My Grammer taught me Grammar.

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