Tuesday, 16 February 2010
When words collide
Notwithstanding the ridiculous infrequency of one's blogs, (the last entry appears to have been in 2006) I should say one of the things I like at the moment. The way words collide. It's only one of the things I like, but fundamental. Words make sentences according to rules, each word emitting a semantic pulse that colours and interrupts the pulses emitted from bordering words. An adjective will butter the following noun with a basting of meaning that throws up a new entity. For example the words blue and cigarette together will create somehow the sense of a roll of paper enclosing a cylinder of tobacco that is the very colour blue. If the next word is falls, then the roll of tobacco, still reeling from its violent meeting with the word blue is now descending, dragging the colour blue with it. How charmingly obvious, yet the sentence governs the whole affair, keeps it caged and tamed. The sentence keeps it motivated by the overriding intentions of the author. The blue cigarette doesn't fall in a vacuum (not unless the rest of the sentence happens to be 'in a vacuum' it doesn't. The phrase is also motivated. Above it is motivated by my need to generate an example, and that is generated by my motivation to write a blog. As mentioned in previous blogs, in my case that is to mop up unused time. So those words are all in service. However they needn't be. Grammarians and structuralists aside, words can act without authorization. When Afternoon acts on Mumps it generates a batch of totally new things. Memories, maybe. A time and an illness are not common bedfellows, so they throw up a neologistic sense of something being created. Let's try, Thursday dislocations, March Cataracts, Wartime cramp. They're all explosive new things, like mixing chemicals without the foreknowledge of their reactions. The magic is that you don't know what new chimera will be thrown up. Take Spray and Muffin. Two words that have no general grammatical relationship in the way that a colour and an object do, will have unpredictable results. Spray muffin is parsed to my ear in the same way as spray tan - a product that adds convenience to a desirable end result - the tan. Therefore a spray muffin is a feat of NPD by a bakery that gives you an instant hit of muffin from an aerosol. I leave the manufacturing industries to work out the detail.