The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Fun with words

The English language has an estimated 750,000 words! Wow! That’s a lot of words! Some of them we use quite regularly, others we may never ever use in our lifetime.

Did you know that the word for the killing of a cat is felicide while the fear of cats is ailurophobia? The killing of a dog is canicide and the fear of dogs is cynophobia.

Did you also know that Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”. The symbol on the “pound” key (#) is called an octothorpe and the dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle.

The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language. “Underground” is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters “und.”

There are only four words in the English language which end in “-dous” — tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

According to Oxford English Dictionary, the longest word in the world has 45 letters! It is, wait for it…Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. It is alleged to mean ‘a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs’. Merely attempting to say the word is enough to cause an inflammation of the lungs!

Here are some other fun facts about words and letters courtesy of Brain Candy.

  1. “Stewardesses” and “reverberated” are the longest words that can be typed using only the left hand.
  2. “Lollipop” is the longest word that can be typed using only the right hand.
  3. “Skepticisms” is the longest word that can be typed using alternate hands.
  4. “Rhythm” and “syzygy” (look it up and learn a new word today!) are the longest words without vowels.
  5. The letters H, I, O, and X are the only letters that look the same if you flip them upside down or view them from behind.
  6. “Queueing” is the only word with five consecutive vowels.
  7. The only city in the United States whose name is spelled using only vowels is Aiea, Hawaii.
  8. The longest one-syllable words are “screeched” and “strengths”.
  9. The word with the most consonants in a row is “latchstring”.
  10. “W” is the only letter in the alphabet that does not have one syllable. It has three!
  11. “Therein” contains ten words without rearranging any of the letters: there, in, the, he, her, here, ere, therein, herein, rein.
  12. A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X, and Y are the symmetric capital letters.
  13. The symmetric lowercase letters are i, l, o, t, u, v, w, x.
  14. The letter combination “ough” can be pronounced in nine different ways, which can be heard in this sentence: A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.
  15. “Deeded” is the only word that is made using only two different letters, each used three times.
  16. There aren’t any words that rhyme with orange, purple, silver, or month.
  17. Maine is the only state with one syllable.
  18. The only words with three consecutive double letters are “bookkeeping” and “bookkeeper”.
  19. “Underground” is the only word that begins and ends with “und”.
  20. “Polish” changes from a noun or a verb to a nationality when it is capitalized.
  21. If you spell out every number from 0 to 999, you will find every vowel except for “a”. You have to count to one thousand to find an “a”!
  22. “Q” is the only letter that is not used in the name of any of the United States.
  23. The only words with “uu” are “vacuum”, “muumuu”, “residuum”, and “continuum”.
  24. The highest scoring word in the game Scrabble is “quartzy”.
  25. “Subcontinental” is the only word that uses each vowel only once and in reverse alphabetical order.

Do you know any fun word facts? Please share.

Thanks for stopping by

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Domestic abuse – when will it end?

Recently there’s been a spate of extreme domestic violence in Nigeria. I don’t know if  this is because there’s been a sudden increase in the incidents or they are simply more widely reported now. Whatever the case, it is an alarming state of affairs.

Reported cases that I’ve read or heard of include;

  • Augustina Jimoh who suffered second-degree burns when husband, a police inspector, set her alight after an argument.
  • Titi Arowolo, a banker and mother, whose husband killed her and mutilated her body.
  • Ogochukwu Onuchukwu who suffered many years of emotional and physical abuse, not just from her husband but his family too.
  • An unnamed friend of the well-known Nollywood actress and TV presenter, Stella Damasus of whom she writes about here.
  • And countless others who may or may not be known to us.

A common thread that seems to run through most of these cases is that when the victim reports it to their family, their church leadership and/or the police, they are told to hang in there. Their families do not want the ridicule and shame of having one of theirs a product of a broken home so tell them to be patient with their violent husbands and try not to antagonise or incite him to further violence.

Their pastors tell them God hates divorce and advice them to stick it out and pray for their husbands to change. The police tell them they cannot interfere as this is a domestic matter within which they have no jurisdiction.

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When we read these stories, we wonder why the women involved didn’t just up and leave. We ask ourselves how they could stayed and taken the abuse for so long. We blame them for not being stronger or bolder and for not having enough self-esteem to refuse to be a victim. We struggle to reconcile how it is possible to have remained so passive in such volatile circumstances.

It’s easy to sit in our comfortable homes and make judgments of a situation of which we have no personal experience but we need to try to see things from the victims’ points of view to get a more accurate picture. I doubt very much that any of these women was a masochist. They must have felt pain and discomfort from the repeated abuse and most probably sought to end it in one way or another.

However, we need to consider the other possible factors to these cases. If the people and organisations who should have provided these women a way out, a safe haven, a strong support system and an escape from their abusive husbands refused or shied away from doing so, how then could they have felt confident about walking away? If the justice system which should have offered them recourse failed them so miserably, how on earth could they have escaped, so lacking in the confident knowledge that their abusers would receive their just deserts?

I know there are two sides to every story. If you ask the men involved, they would probably recount a long litany of the wrongs these women did them. However, nothing can justify this total disregard for another human being, much less your wife, and probably, mother of your children.

Every time I read or hear about one of these cases, I’m overcome by a deep sadness. I mourn the loss of a young life, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a colleague. I’m sad at the thought that this kind of abuse is still going unpunished in the 21st century.

It is alarming and heart-wrenching to know that in spite of these well-publicised cases, many men will continue to manhandle their wives knowing that the consequences are as elusive as the unicorn.

Some pastors will continue to dole out unbiblical advice and encourage battered wives to stay and pray. Some parents and siblings would rather hand their daughters’ heads to their violent husbands on a platter than suffer the ignominy of having a divorce in the family. The police will continue to refuse to intervene in domestic disputes whether they be mere tiffs or full-blown boxing training sessions with the woman being used as the punching bag. Our legislators will be more concerned with lining their pockets from the national coffers than creating and enforcing legislation to prevent such abuse at best, or ensuring the abusers are duly punished, at worst.

It’s time for us to take a stand against domestic violence. It is not OK for a man to hit out at his wife in anger irrespective of the provocation. It doesn’t matter who he is or what he does for a living. There is no justification for this sort of behaviour. It’s time we stood up to these bullies and start turning this trend around.

RealMenAgainstDomesticViolence

Violent husbands, please deal with your anger management issues in less violent ways. It isn’t right to take out your frustrations, insecurities or whatever other issues you may have, on your wife. Get help. If you need to hit out at someone else to feel superior, you really are inferior and no amount of wife-bashing will make you any bigger. There are people you can talk to and who can help you. Go to them. If you cannot bring yourself to admit you have a problem, then you have an even bigger problem than you think.

Wives, if he’s hit you once, there is a very high probability he will do it again and that over time, he will get more violent. Seek help. Get counselling for both of you. If he won’t go with you, be prepared to vote with your feet. I’m not advocating divorce but I do believe desperate time call for desperate measures. It may not end up in divorce but you will also probably not end up as a statistic of domestic violence mortality.

Friends and family, don’t just sit and watch as wives are battered and bruised. Speak up. When you see your friend or sister with another black eye, don’t just accept the “I walked into the door” explanation. How many doors does she need to walk into or how many times does she have to fall down the stairs to get a reaction out of you? Surely she can’t be that clumsy!

Challenge the husbands. Let them know they can’t mistreat your person and get away with it. I am no advocate for violence but I make an exception in this case. If gentle persuasion doesn’t do the trick, give him a dose of his own medicine. Bullies usually back down when they are recipients of their own bullying tactics.

Policemen, I know you’ve got your work cut out for you in our dear country but you cannot keep hiding behind a lack of jurisdiction. It is not true. If a person is in fear of their life and comes to you, you have a duty to protect them. Pay the home a visit. Have a friendly chat with the fellow. If further reports are made, throw his sorry ass in a rodent-infested cell for a couple of days. He will come to his senses soon enough. If he doesn’t, get her to press charges and let it become a matter for the courts to decide.

Legislators, please create laws that protect women and children from domestic violence. Establish strong punitive measures for any defaulters and see to it that these are doled out duly, promptly and with no respect of persons.

Dear pastors and church leaders, please acquaint yourselves with the Bible. There is no portion of it which advocates that a woman remain in a potentially fatal situation whilst praying. That is suicide which it doesn’t encourage at all. On the contrary, it encourages us to be “as wise as serpents” while being “as gentle as doves”. It tells us to “wage war with wisdom” for “wisdom is a defence”. The Bible is unequivocal in demanding that men love their wives like Christ loved the church and laid down his life for her. It exhorts men to treat the wives with dignity and honour, preferring them in love.

If a woman comes to you seeking help from an abusive husband, please do not send her back into the lions’ den. Confront the husband. By all means, seek and facilitate reconciliation but please do not turn a blind eye and pretend that change will come to said husband overnight. Keep an eye on the couple. Make the man accountable. If he refuses these overtures and carries on in his evil ways, please remove the woman (and children) from the home.

We all have a responsibility to end this violence and it’s about time we took our duties seriously, onerous though they may be. For if we keep silent, we are only helping to perpetuate it as a large percentage of children from violent homes will themselves become perpetrators or victims of domestic abuse.

Let’s save the women of our and future generations the heartache and anguish of this great evil. Let’s end it. Now!

Thanks for stopping by.

Lucky seven–Dead man walking

I’ve been AWOL, I know and I apologise profusely. This blog is long overdue an update and while I was considering exactly what to blog about, the perfect opportunity to dust off my keyboard fell into my lap.

Kiru Taye tagged me on this fun thing making the rounds in the writing circuit.

Here are the rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs and post them as they are written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors

I have already posted my last manuscipt so I’ve chosen another one – Dead Man Walking which is a fictional story about infidelity, forgiveness and redemption. It isn’t complete yet and only goes up to 74 pages at the moment so I’ve cheated a little and gone to page 67 (It still has 7 in it!).

This is a conversation between Funmi, the heroine, who’s recently found out she’s pregnant, and her best friend, Timi.

 

“It’s just that I get tired really quickly now but I’ll take that over puking any day.”

“I’m relieved to hear that. Does this mean you’re eating regularly now?”

“Yes o! As a matter of fact, I think I’m eating too much and I’m going to be as large as a house by the time the baby comes out. My appetite, these days, is something else. And I don’t mean just for food!”

“Hey! There’s such a thing as ‘too much information’. I’m still single and desperately trying to remain celibate so I could do without the image of you and Dapo going at it like rabbits! It’s a good thing you can only be pregnant once at any one time otherwise you would be the next octo-mum!”

 

And now I tag the following;

JustJoxy

Toks

Abimbola Dare

Nwuye

Sifa

I know this falls short of the required 7 but hey, who’s counting?

Tara for now.

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