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Thursday, November 1, 2012

I like my version better

Every so often I experience what I call "total vocabulary failure."  When this happens my brain is completely unable to access a word, even though I have a clear mental image of the object in question. When this happens I have two choices:
  • Ask for "the thing. You know, that... thing... over there...  by the other thing. No, the YELLOW thing!" As you can imagine, this requires lots of gesturing. 
  • Do a word-salad free association where my brain frantically grasps at words that might be related in some capacity. In some cases this results in compound words that are nearly German in construction, such as "hot water dish clean appliance."
Earlier this evening I was unable to think of the word "television", so my brain scrambled in panic and pulled out "Big loud distract-o-box."

Kinda catchy.


  1. This is actually how words are constructed in Chinese. Since the characters  in the language haven't changed but new things have been invented that need naming, many words for modern devices are simply made up of compounds of traditional words and meanings. I think 'Computer' is 'Lightning/Electric Brain Box'.

    A favorite of mine is the Chinese name for the Japanese live action hero Ultraman as my friend knew it when she was young. In some parts of China, the phoentic sound of Ultraman was too close to Aote'man, Out-man, which would mean old fashioned or outdated. She knew the character as Flying Fried Egg Man, an alternate name given to him because his eyes resembled two fried eggs.

  2. I typically keep the distraco box off here unless NCIS, or Dr. Who is on.
    Chinese translations of movie titles is always good entertainment.  "Army of Darkness" becoming "Mr. Supermarket' and "As Good As it Gets" becoming "Mr. Cat Poop" (which after being dragged off to see it with some gal friends I think is a better title).

  3. Usually when I do that, it's because the Brain Vocab Warehouse Union is on strike for more coffee.


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