Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Funny how language works...

In England, they shrunk the television to telly, so the "far vision" is just "far". On the other hand, Americans shrink telephone to phone, so you have sound, but not quite so far. And then there is the poor anniversary. Any Latin student knows this is all about "annus," year, but the "annu-" in "annual" isn't so distinctive, while there are darn few "versaries" around. As a result, we celebrate "blogiversaries" - the anniversaries of blogs and now, I learn, a year in China brings you your Chinaversary. Or so reports John Biesnecker, about two weeks ago, on his blog. Originally, I believe, we referred to marriage anniversaries and pretty much everything else got ignored till its decennial, if not its centennial. But time goes faster these days, which makes one wonder what other "versaries" we're going to come up with to mark the semi-permanence of things that were once less transitory or, contrarily, non-existent (how many Americans needed to mark the years they'd spent in China or maintaining websites thirty years ago?).

Coming soon, I should imagine:
The leasiversary: "When I moved in here in '01, I only got a one-year lease, but I just had my fifth leasiversary. I wonder if I'll be here another five years."
The divorciversary: "After my second divorciversary, I realized I wasn't playing the field, I was just lonely, so I started paying more attention to my relationships."
The jobiversary: "I just took this job to pay the rent till something in my field opened up, but since I've passed my fourth jobiversary, I guess this is my field now."

And, more cheerfully:
The housiversary: "Can you believe we've been here 20 years, hon? And every year better."
The retiriversary: "I've just had my fourth retiriversary, and let me tell ya, when I hit the back nine I don't miss the office at all!"

Or not. Fun to see, all the same, where people find the meaning in things and use it to make new meaning.

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