Sunday, July 19, 2009

Katie Nuttall Language Usage #1-3

Church provided some great ways language is used ...

1. At church today I was listening to the speaker who was new to the congregation. So she told a little bit about herself. She grew up in Colorado and Utah, but has been moving around a lot, before settling here in Tennessee. She then said, “I’m kind of a gypsy at heart.”

What I found distinctive is the use of the word gypsy. From this statement I knew exactly what she was trying to say. She moves around. A gypsy usually leads an unconventional way of life. But it also made me think of the other ways we can reference this phrase. We often say “But, I am really a ____ at heart.” We use it to talk about ourselves, our personality, our characteristic that makes us who we are. We just might use something other than the word gypsy. (Sunday July 19, 2009 1:00)

2. In a Sunday school lesson the teacher was teaching about how sometimes we are taught things that are hard to swallow. We then discussed why sometimes we have to learn some difficult lessons in life.

But it made me think about this phrase. This idiom is used when something is not easy to believe, or in this case not easy to accept. But it made me think of all the idioms that we use. “Two heads are better than one,” “Biting off more than you can chew,” or “Don’t count your chickens before their hatched.” An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements. How often do we do this in our conversations? I find idioms fascinating. In fact, every Christmas, my second graders make their own idiom book. They get the first part of an idiom and then they have to finish the phrase (on what they think would finish it). It is always a very fun assignment which is never quite accurate. But they often make a lot more literal sense rewritten. (Sunday July 19, 2009 2:00)

3. My Sunday ended with a woman in a leadership role introducing someone who was recently new to the other ladies. She is a very spunky and fun woman and often reminds me of an energizer bunny. She says things a mile a minute and said something she shouldn’t have in front of a bunch of people. She recognized her mistake and immediately said, “I should really be sticking my foot in my mouth.”

I thought about this phrase. Could you imagine if it was literal? What if every time we made an error in speech we actually stuck our foot in our mouths? For one thing I don’t think I could do it. But this phrase conjures up such a distinct image of when we say something stupid we look pretty stupid ourselves. (Sunday July 19, 2009 2:45)

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