Improv Dictionary

My daughter and I invented a little game this afternoon that gave us some good laughs for a solid half hour. We call it “Improv Dictionary”, and we basically take turns with one person making up a word and the other making up its definition. She’s six years old now, but I immediately started thinking about playing this as she get older and more capable with her writing or computer skills. We could actually start cataloging the words we make up into a document or little notepad so we can remember what we’ve done before – a real sort of silly dictionary of our own.

AT-AT

How do you pronounce that title? If you’re not familiar with the iconic quadruped war machines from The Empire Strikes Back, skip this post.

I hear tons of people pronounce it as a pair of hyphenated words, just as they look. But ever since I was a kid I always said, “ā-tee ā-tee”. I mean, almost everything else with hyphenated letter/number names in the Star Wars universe is pronounced my way, right? R2-D2? AT-ST? C-3PO?

Am I a weird outlier or something?

Ugh, I just found an old post from Time on this very matter from 4 years ago. The author’s on my side for the same reasons, but apparently Lucasfilm holds the opposite view.

Of course, Lucasfilm produced the prequels and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so I still don’t entirely trust their judgement from 2010…

Corporate Neologizing

Few things drive me crazier than companies making up their own stupid buzzwords. Are they trying to come with catchy terms that they hope will provide free advertising as they theoretically worm their way into colloquial language? Regardless of intent, here is a short list of made-up words/phrases born out of ill-conceived advertising programs:

Fourth Meal
Threeconomics
Nougatocity (or any of Snickers’ terrible terms)
Comcastic
People Ready

You get the point. If you have any others you’ve seen/heard in any form of advertising, put it in the comments.

Pet Peeve: Σ Abuse

I dunno how many times I’ve seen the following on t-shirts, TV shows, or ANYWHERE, really:

GRΣΣK

And we’re all supposed to chuckle because we see letters which are clearly not capital “E” but still bear a passing resemblance. I guess it’s also supposed to reinforce the Greek-ness (Greekiness?) of something, too, whether a fraternity t-shirt or the title for My Big Fat Greek Feel-good Movie of the Year.

This twists the proverbial knickers because the letter in question isn’t pronounced like an “E,” it’s pronounced like an “S”. SIGMA is the Greek letter for “S”. EPSILON is the Greek letter for “E” (though not necessarily pronounced like our long “e”) but I guess “GREEK” just looks too, well…English.

Schlock

I couldn’t help noticing, as I typed my last entry, that the word “schlock” wasn’t picked up by the Firefox spell checker. I was surprised as I’d always thought this was a nonsense word – but as is often the case, I was totally wrong.

Here’s what Webster has to say:

Main Entry:
schlock Listen to the pronunciation of schlock
Pronunciation:
ˈshläk
Variant(s):
or schlocky Listen to the pronunciation of schlocky ˈshlä-kē also shlock or shlocky
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
perhaps from Yiddish shlak evil, nuisance, literally, blow
Date:
1916

: of low quality or value
— schlock noun

Well how about that. I think I’ll integrate the term more heavily into my everyday banter 🙂