|Ask Anne: If birds twitter, what are you doing?|
|Tuesday, January 31, 2012|
Are there languages within languages? I heard this phrase the other day and began wondering. Next thing I knew I was writing you! Thanking you in advance for your answer.
As long as that’s not impulsive co-respondent, as in a divorce case where feelings run high and guns are waved, I’m happy to reply. Well, I could be leaving the wrong impression here. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a femme fatale or even a hot babe. Pause for some pouting and whimpering.
There have always been languages within languages although I expect a case can be made for the problem’s worsening (and it is a problem because effective communication is disturbed). Special usage is widespread and constantly changing as the Steve Jobs of the world keep coming up with more and more technological, highly marketed tricks (with new names for brands and procedures. EXAMPLES: apps, Twitter)
And the birth of every baby heralds, as always, change.
What do you think this means? I’m at 67% and it ends at 89%.
It could be called Kindlespeak. Users of the Amazon e-reader Kindle know that the percentage read of a book is shown on the image of the page (pages are called “locations” which I ignore). Ending a book at 89% means the rest of the book is notes, index, bibliography, etc.
Most workplaces have a lot of specialized terms related to the work, be it lawyering, banking, manufacturing rifles, or teaching. Health personnel, pharmacists, and health insurance magnates certainly have an exceptionally hard language to wade through, and there’s no question politics and research are making it more difficult.
The arts have a language of their own, related both to production and to appreciation. And, with language’s being used by the earth’s 7 billion inhabitants, there’s much more. [Yes, it’s language’s being used. A gerund (being) takes the possessive; used is here a participle. Hey, gibberish – right?]
Pockets of language crop up and disappear, but there are definitely languages within languages, requiring study to decipher.
ONLINE DEPARTMENT “The History of Grits – Includes Cooking and Eating Tips” [and shows a little regional bias] (Thanks, J.A.) • What are grits? Some folks believe grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by very short people who shake the bushes after spreading sheets around them. Other people think grits are made from ground up bits of white corn. These are lies spread by Yankees, Communists and terrorists. Nothing as good as grits can be made from corn. Research suggests that the mysterious manna that God rained down upon the Israelites during their time in the Sinai Desert was most likely grits. Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt, and red eye gravy raining down from the sky, and that God would not punish his people by forcing them to eat grits without these key ingredients. • How grits are formed: Grits are formed deep underground under intense heat and pressure. It takes over 1000 years to form a single grit. Most of the world's grit mines are in Georgia, and are guarded day and night by armed guards and attack dogs. Harvesting the grit is a dangerous occupation, and many grit miners lose their lives each year so that grits can continue to be served morning after morning for breakfast -- not that having grits for lunch and dinner is out of the question. Yankees have attempted to create a synthetic grits. They call them Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell, the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer's Glue and shredded Styrofoam©. These synthetic grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and can leave you unable to have children. • Historical grits: As noted earlier, the first known mention of the grits was by the Ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert. After that, grits were not heard from for another 1000 years. Grits were used during this time only during secret religious ceremonies, and were kept from the public. The next mention of grits was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman's personal diary discovered in the seat of an old sedan. The woman's name was Herculania Scarletina Oharimus, who was known as Scarlet O’Hara to her friends. • The ten commandments of grits: I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy grits. II. Thou shalt not eat thy grits with a spoon or knife. III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it grits, for this is blasphemy. IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's grits. V. Thou shalt use only salt, butter, and red eye gravy as toppings for thy grits. VI. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits. VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy grits. VIII. Thou shalt not put margarine on thy grits. IX. Thou shalt not eat toast with thy grits, only biscuits made from scratch which can still be found around Watertown, TN, Town Creek, AL, and Rome, GA. X. Thou shalt eat grits on the Sabbath for this is manna from heaven. • How to cook grits: For one serving of grits: Boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter. Add 5 tbsp of grits. Reduce to a simmer and allow the grits to soak up all the water. When a pencil stuck into the grits stands alone, they are done. That's all there is to cooking grits. How to make red eye gravy: Fry salt cured country ham in cast-iron pan. Remove the ham when done and add coffee to the gravy and simmer for several minutes. Great on grits and biscuits. • How to eat grits: Immediately after removing your grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter or red eye gravy. Do NOT use low-fat butter. The butter should cause the grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your grits; if the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter. In lieu of butter, pour a generous helping of red eye gravy on your grits. Be sure to pour enough to have some left for sopping up with your biscuits. Use biscuits made from scratch. Never, ever, substitute canned or store-bought biscuits for the real thing because they can cause cancer, tooth decay and appendicitis. Next, add salt. The correct ratio of grit to salt is 10:1 Therefore for every 10 grits, you should have 1 grain of salt. Now begin eating your grits. Always use a fork, never a spoon, to eat grits. Your grits should be thick enough so they do not run through the tines of the fork. The correct beverage to serve with grits is black coffee. DO NOT use cream or, heaven forbid, skim milk. Your grits should rarely be eaten in a bowl because Yankees will think it's Cream of Wheat. • Ways to eat leftover grits: Leftover grits are extremely rare and may only be a rumor. Spread them in the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight. The grits will congeal into a gelatinous mass. Next morning, slice the grits into squares and fry them in ½ inch of cooking oil and butter until they turn a golden brown. Many people are tempted to pour syrup onto grits served this way. This is, of course, unacceptable but delicious.
By Anne Howell