“Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves did gyre and gymble in ye wabe…” – Lewis Carroll
According to Wikipedia get over it, “Jabberwocky” is “an 1872 nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll.”
A “nonsense poem,” and yet, I can rattle off the entire thing from memory, but not that wacked spelling because we had to memorize that nonsense – in sixth grade! Just barely getting a handle on the English language in the first place, and they decide we should not only memorize, but break down and analyze an entire poem that is complete bullshit!
“… and hast thou slain the Jabberwock?”
In truth, the poem really does tell a story, doesn’t it? Using a mass of “made up words”, the poem relates the story of an epic hunt and battle, then the jubilation of the boy’s father upon his son’s successful return. Any reader with a basic understanding of English grammar, not web content writers will read along, filling in meaning where clearly there is none.
And how many of those ridiculous words have come into common usage?
“Mimsy” was more popular in the 1920s and 30s, but still comes out occasionally, as does “vorpal blade.” gamer geeks I use “galumphing” on a regular basis, and people usually know what I’m talking about. on what planet? Ever heard of a whiffle ball?
“The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, came whiffling through the tulgey wood, and burbled as it came.”
Try hanging around and getting into discussions with writers don’t really!
Pro or not, eventually somebody will be scanning someone else’s work and will, with a great HRUMPH! declare, “You can’t write that; that’s a made-up word!” Well, Duh! They all are; that is how all language is created.
Let’s do another little experiment:
This one is relatively safe to do, if somewhat time consuming…
Next time you have a solid two weeks of vacation, go to your local public library each day and look through every book available. Count how many words you find that actually occur in nature, without any human intervention.
I’ll say it again: all words are made up.
That’s why we have more words than “Ugh”, and “D’OH” totally made up word. Making up words is how languages grow and evolve. There are many times I wish “regular people” were not allowed to contribute, but here we are, with “snowpocalypse” and “chocaholic”.
The problem with so-called words like “snowmageddon”, “cakeaholic”, and “Brangelina” is that they really aren’t even worthy of the “made-up” invective. They’re mash-ups of words that already exist; they are frankenwords (see what I did there?), if you will. If you’re going to make up a word, do it right and be at least a little more inventive than the average news copy writer. It’s OK to use a root word, but don’t just graft the end of some other word to it. Better still, though, try to convey the actual feeling you want to convey without using a common reference, but rather, use your own feelings:
Let’s say I need a word to describe my enjoyment of a fried egg, over easy. Sure, I could say it’s “eggaliscious!” but then I’d have to slap myself, and as much as that might amuse you sadistic jerk, I’d rather avoid that. So instead, I think of what impressed me the most about that egg. It was warm, and the yoke, while runny, was very tasty. It went down easy.
I decide to create the word “rundalous”, because, to me, that conveys the sensation of eating that type of egg.
“I made myself a positively rundalous egg for breakfast this morning.” – Me
Admittedly, I will have to explain, in far more common language, what the hell I’m talking about every time I use that word – but only for a while. Even if nobody else picks up its use, those who know me will have added a new word to our colloquialisms.
Gettin’ jiggy with some new language!
Props to Will Smith, who managed to “make-up” the completely original word, “jiggy”, and have it reach sufficient popularity to make it into the Oxford English Dictionary.