By ANNE DONNELL
I heard a newscaster just the other day say “git a holt uv.” The “t” she added to “hold” was clearly pronounced. I knew you’d love it. I’d be pleased if you’d comment. Thank you, -I Know Better And She Should “Uv” You’ve sent me a gem. I can picture it: the newscaster all sleekly done up with a scarf artfully knotted at the throat in case we viewers hadn’t noticed it’s winter out there. Her hair will be colored some modest, yet clearly unnatural tone, her makeup will enhance masterfully, and her jewelry will be tasteful and expensive. But, it’s her brain and its conduit, her mouth, that needs the work.
Maybe she thinks her relaxation into “home talk” will warm our hearts. OK, maybe she doesn’t think even that one-inch-deeply. She cares more about eye shadow than us. She has no idea that some of us have moved her smack in the middle of the dumb bunny class. And this bunch is not out at Hugh Hefner’s.
[Hugh Hefner (American, living, born in 1926, magazine publisher and chief creative executive of Playboy Enterprises). Whatever else he’s done, “Hef” can be credited with/blamed for the common acceptance of a morally relaxed lifestyle. Playboy clubs, the Mansion, Playboy bunnies – all icons of pajama clad, pipe smoking Hefner’s empire; and all that provided the push that brought 20th century America, upright and some say uptight, some big moral “drift.” Out into the open with what could have been going on behind closed doors. If you don’t think we’ve changed, watch a few old movies when censorship still reigned. (And look at your family and see what they’re up to, not to mention the neighbors.)]
Get goes back to 1200 and had an e then! We’ve delighted in shifting that to an i sound, but I don’t know the explanation other than citing a perverseness often found in human nature; ditto, an obstreperousness. Well, that was fun to write. And I did find a reference to Gothic gitan in the etymology of get. So if you’re a Goth you probably say, “I really need to GIT some white makeup and charcoal to smudge around my eyes to look weird.”
As to using get correctly – oh, my. When it is followed by a direct object it should mean “receive or obtain.” It’s poor usage to have it mean “own,” as in EXAMPLE OF POOR USAGE: I got one of those. EXAMPLE OF GOOD USAGE: Did you get an invitation? There’s much more to the word – expressions like get up, got to go, got to do. There’s quite a range of meaning, but we can fool with that another day. (Is fool a rather telling verb here?)
Now ahold gets thrown out by Spell Checker (a tool whose annoyance factor is almost as high as its usefulness quotient – some toolspeak for you), but is included in the dictionary. It is a merging of a with hold (done, it seems, a century and a half ago).
That phenomenon we see around us, the compounding of words, often carries disagreement. People land somewhere in the process of the merger, refusing to budge. Is it homeroom or home room? It’s hardly an important question – both communicate. Consistency is desirable.
Hold as a verb (means “to take and keep”) dates back to 1175 or so. The noun hold (interior space for cargo below the deck of a ship) is a couple of centuries younger, though its roots are back to Old English.
All this is mere falderal; the “t” sound added to ahold is what I’m all het up about (speaking in the manner of our gal newscaster). Aholt jars – well, it’s bigger than that. We’ll say it amphoras.
And that uv. There’s a subtle difference in sound between uv and of, so speak it. Babies learn to quit their endearing mispronunciations as they mature. Adult mispronunciations aren’t endearing, but adults, too, can learn to change as they mature.
OK, here’s an e-mail from DT in reference to the blond jokes (“Ask Anne” January 20, 2010) “In view of the subject, I thought you might get a charge out of this licence (that's the English noun) plate which was in my Autoweek magazine -- DNO7B WI .Try reading it upside down !!”
SNOW COMMENT Have you noticed that speaking favorably about snow draws wrath, as if you were causing the snow? Well, I understand a local attorney says he did!
BW (BIGTIME WORD) minacious- threatening. I love this word! I mean, I love it when it’s applied to me. “Oh, Valentine, so minacious and mean/ Of my fervently beating heart you’re the queen.” Well, that stinks.