Language Break

by Jay Nordlinger

I propose a break from the cares of the world, to have a little fun with language. In Impromptus yesterday, I mentioned “ginormous” — or rather, a BBC correspondent did. She was standing in front of Qaddafi’s compound, and used the word “ginormous” — I believe describing the compound. Has this word, a combination of “gigantic” and “enormous,” gone mainstream? Evidently so.

I got a lot of mail on this subject. Some people want to spell the word “gynormous.” Some say it’s legit, some say it’s awful. One reader asked, “How do you feel about ‘humongous’?” I feel good about it, in certain contexts.

In today’s Impromptus, I have the below item — see what you think:

Politico published an anti-Palin piece, quoting George Will. He is quoted as saying, “There’s no Reagan without Goldwater, no Goldwater without National Review and no National Review without Buckley — and the contrast between he and Ms. Palin is obvious.” First of all, the contrast between Bill and everyone is obvious. Bill was great at being Bill, and Palin is great at being Palin. Second, if Will said “between he and Ms. Palin,” instead of “between him and Mrs. Palin,” I’ll eat my hat.

Earlier this month, in this Impromptus, I had an item about “forte,” and the ways of pronouncing it (depending on your meaning). Lee Rodgers — Uncle Lee, the great and beloved radio personality — wrote, “Thanks for holding the fort on ‘forte’! Now, if we can just get ‘media people’ to stop reversing the meaning of ‘begs the question,’ civilization may yet be saved.” He also said, “I’m afraid I’ve given up on ‘media’ as a plural word.”

I have not given up — it will always be plural to me — although, as an editor, I certainly allow it as a singular. These things are always changing, evolving: “News” used to be plural — “Boy, what are the news?” That “s” ain’t there at the end for nothing.

Anyway, thanks for taking a break with me, and we can now return to war, weak American leadership, and whatnot . . .

The Corner

The one and only.