Monday, December 24, 2007

MOTHER, the Most Beautiful Word in the WORLD

I'm posting my usual Christmas message: to give some hope to mothers of better days to come and to help ruin the holidays of the jealous misfits who hate them...

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Mum's the word, says the world: Mother was most loved, while father was absent...

Mother is the most beautiful word in the English language, according to a survey of non-English speakers.

More than 40,000 people in 102 countries were polled by the British Council to mark its 70th anniversary. Mother, passion, smile, love and eternity were the top five choices - but father did not even make it into the list of 70 words.

But some unusual choices did make the list, such as peekaboo, flabbergasted, hen, night and oi.

SOME OF THE TOP WORDS 1. Mother 2. Passion 3. Smile 4. Love 5. Eternity 48. Peekaboo 50. Kangaroo 61. Oi 63. Hiccup 70. Hen night Fantastic, destiny, freedom, liberty and tranquillity rounded out the top 10.

The British Council promotes the learning of English around the world and teaches the language to more than 500,000 people each year. Chris Wade, director of communications at the council, said the most favoured choices in the list were all strong, positive words. He said: "All of us have a mother and have a reasonable idea of who that person is, it's one piece of certainty we can have and it's also a very powerful word in a variety of cultures. "But I wonder if we would have had the same result if we had done the survey in the UK." He said the list showed the diversity of the English language: "There are words denoting concepts that people aspire to, like freedom; words that sounded fun like peekaboo and others that aren't really words at all but they convey real meaning, like oi."

Other words to make the top 70 included serendipity, loquacious, kangaroo and zing. There were also words imported from other languages, such as renaissance and aqua. Presumably, a maternal kangaroo would be highly rated indeed." We'll grab anything we can take. Lots of words have been stolen over the years," Mr Wade said. " But while other languages may be reluctant to use our words, [this has provided] a real richness in the English has evolved."

He said one English word to have gained widespread usage recently was flip-flop, which came 59th in the survey. Failed US presidential candidate John Kerry was accused by the Republicans of having "flip-flopped" - or changed his stance - on a number of policy areas. "Flip-flop was used a lot during coverage of the US election. If the survey had been done a year ago it probably would not be in the list," said Mr Wade.

Michael Quinion, whose recent book Port Out, Starboard Home examines some of the quirks of the English language, said it was a very "eclectic" list. He said: "These non-English speakers certainly have wonderful English vocabularies. "There seems to be a curious mixture of the formal and the colloquial. Oi is not a word that I would've thought turned up in English manuals all that often." The list also included what Mr Quinion said was his own favourite English word - serendipity, which came 24th. "It's so mellifluous but it's such a nice concept too."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely post.

Val said...

We can only hope, my dear, we can only hope...

Val said...

Oh & P.S. A very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you as well :-)

NYMOM said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Anonymous and Val. Hope your son is well Val.

Also I would like to say a special Happy New Year to Silverside as she just got custody of her daughter back after a ten-year struggle. The kid was forced by the family court to live with a "hoarder" of animals and there was so much trash and filth around his house that the health dept. eventually had to be called in.

I think that's the only way the court finally was forced to act when the child herself got old enough to speak in her defense. Otherwise that kid would still be stuck living in that rat hole.

Again, another extortion scheme by a father to live off the child support generated by the child's mother. He hadn't had a job in over 12 years, just hung around the 'farm' and played with baby animals all day...He also had a bunch of enablers helping him from his mother to his girlfriend's family who continued lending him money so he did not have to support himself.

Frankly, I think they should be indicted for aiding and abetting child endangerment...

Val said...

Please extend best wishes & congratulations to Silverside on my behalf! Sounds like she & her daughter have both been through more than enough...

silverside said...

Along the same vein, there was an article from the New York Times in 2005. It's one of my all time favorites. It's on the origins of the concepts of liberty and freedom. Note that the earliest known related concept is literally translated as "going home to mother." (!) Just a little piece of inspiration for everybody today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/07/opinion/07fischer.html?th

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There is no one true definition of liberty and freedom in the world, though many people to the left and right believe that they have found it. And, yet, there is one great historical process in which liberty and freedom have developed, often in unexpected ways.
The words themselves have a surprising history. The oldest known word with such a meaning comes to us from ancient Iraq. The Sumerian "ama-ar-gi," found on tablets in the ruins of the city-state of Lagash, which flourished four millenniums ago, derived from the verb "ama-gi," which literally meant "going home to mother." It described the condition of emancipated servants who returned to their own free families - an interesting link to the monument in Baghdad. (In contemporary America, the ancient characters for "ama-ar-gi" have become the logos of some libertarian organizations, as well as tattoos among members of politically conservative motorcycle gangs, who may not know that the inscriptions on their biceps mean heading home to mom.)


Thanks for your well wishes. My daughter is doing well. Her father doesn't even bother to call her now that he no longer "controls" her in his house. No interest at all. He also hasn't forked over one penny of child support since I got custody back, but oh well....

NYMOM said...

That was such a great article Silverside.

It just goes to show why I rarely have harsh words for the 'ancients' regarding their concepts of motherhood. As yes, they were dumb asses in many ways regarding their treatment of women, but at least they appeared to understand the obviously deeper link between women and their children. Whereas the intellectual idiots western civilization has spawned don't appear to have a clue...

AND I would definitely file for child support...he doesn't deserve to keep that farm and house which your daughter paid for really. As he would have been forced to give it up years ago and get a real job if he hadn't been getting your child support and 101 tax exemptions/credits from the government for having custody. Not to mention how he 'juiced' his family and friends for money playing the caring dad. Did he ever pay back any of those loans to people????

You need to ensure he's not able to continue getting the EIC and other credits from NYS taxpayers...he'll get the max as he has no real income...you'll get less even if you file for it, as you make more.

So it's a benefit to the taxpayers of this state any way you look at it if you cut him off from feeding off of us...