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Lethargy thy name is English

28
Oct
2013
 

By Miranda

Feeling less than enthusiastic? It's a Monday morning, the weekend was full and productive, catching up with chores undone during the working week but allowing lots of time to for family and friends? Perhaps even some gardening. And now it's back to work.

 

In a Monday frame of mind, you might wonder why it seems the default state of our language seems to be a lack of emotion. While we can name our emotions, love, hate etc., in basic English, we seem to retain a notion that the expression of a free spirit is something 'other' to the average English speaker.

 

You may be enthusiastic or exuberant or even joyful but why is, or perhaps was, there such a gap in English that we had to import copious amounts of verve, elan, brio, panache and gusto? Is it still unEnglish to display this sort of positivity and delight in life? We do quite well on phrases - as happy as a pig in muck or as happy as a pup with two tails, though it seems that most references are to being as happy as a clam, sand boy or Larry (who was he, and why?).

 

In the olden days, the association of English with sangfroid (oh, dear, another import), phlegm and reticence was a given. In Australia the deadpan, laconic wit was and is thought to be an essential part of Australianness - though the concomitant 'tall poppy syndrome' may account for a reluctance to show too much elation or pleasure, especially in one's work.

 

So let us face our Monday workplace with all the linguistic support possible - with elan (without its diacritic), with the joy of old and with exuberance which, as the dictionary reminds me, has also the notion of abundant productivity.

 

Happy Monday! and what's your favourite emotion?

104 Responses to

Lethargy thy name is English

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said:
November 07, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Scat, too much detail. I'll dream about that now... Some of the nicest people I've known were chickens...

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said:
November 07, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Having badmouthed Manila: a while back, when we were in Oberon NSW, a guy in an antique store told us not to leave our year-old Staffy tied up outside, but to bring her in, else she would be taken to use in training pitbulls for fighting...now that, Jafa and 'Scat, is the stuff of nightmares......

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said:
November 07, 2013 at 1:08 PM

..and nausea....

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elmo7 said:
November 07, 2013 at 10:00 PM

hmmmmm....now we have a nanna_j and a nanna-j !!!!

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said:
November 07, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Nothing too covert about that, methinks.

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 4:32 PM

.......

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 5:15 PM

or perhaps Ad nauseam elmo

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Play nice, children....

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 5:41 PM

......

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 6:01 PM

......

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zowie said:
November 08, 2013 at 6:46 PM

give no attention some need it no matter what.

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 7:57 PM

agreed ....

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acepace said:
November 08, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Love,love,love.Love is all you need!!

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said:
November 08, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Hey, Acepace. Love your new look.