The Glamour of Grammar: the portmanteau

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Despite the fact that I have two full shelves dedicated to grammar books, collections of quotes, and dictionaries, I am no linguistical babe.  I'm just going along for the ride, mostly, reading my grammar books like I might read a novel, stopping and grinning over the nuggets I find.

This morning, in Roy Peter Clark's The Glamour of Grammar,  I was reading about blended words, otherwise known as portmanteaus—multidude, slackademic, Octomom, blog, even—and thinking back on all the fun I've had making up terms and getting away with it. I do more of that on this blog than I do in my fiction, but in the book that I've just completed writing, there are characters so set outside the norm of social exchange that their way of speaking necessarily involves their own idiosyncratic construction of language.  It was thrilling for one such as me, a rule breaker at heart, to live inside that sphere for the past few years.  I'm already missing the writing of that novel.

Oh, and yes.  That really is a chandelier hanging from the shovel face of a backhoe.  I found it yesterday upon leaving the gym, where I'd been Zumba dancing.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

When I was teaching poetry, I'd have my kids read Jabberwocky and make their own portmanteaus. Really fun.

melanie said...

My kids make up the best yelcome, your welcome. What a cool picture.

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