Language update, sorta
Professor Polistra still
hasn't gathered enough new and annoying phrases and words for a blackboard, but decided to pop in anyway to show off a newly acquired specimen, a rare antique.Contemn
is the verb form of contempt, but contemn is never used in speech for obvious reasons. Too close to condemn
in both sound and meaning. Only a seriously talented speaker could use it without confusion.
Prof P has been waiting many years for just one specimen of contemn
, and finally caught one!
It's in this episode of Info Please,
at exactly 13:40. To hear the full question, start at 10:30.
Clifton Fadiman says: "Mr Brown, do you contemn musical comedy?"
From the way Mr Fadiman savors the word, you can tell he's been itching to say it for as long as Prof P has been itching to hear it!
Incidentally, the computer-like humans and human-like computers who win Jeopardy would have failed badly on Info Please. Though it started as a fast-paced quiz with lots of straight "name this" questions, Mr Fadiman quickly reshaped it into a smooth-flowing stream of civilized discourse. The listeners, who submitted all questions, picked up the change and raised the bar of sophistication. Mr Fadiman later said:
"I tried to use the questions and answers as an armature on which to build a sculpture of genuine conversation."
Labels: Language update