Thursday, October 6, 2011

Edith and Ben - Sometimes you talk like you're from a different time

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Note that not all of Ben's examples are, strictly speaking, good.]

"I've noticed that sometimes you talk like you're from elsewhen."

"Could you give examples?"

"You're one of only six people in high school in all of the United States who knows that thou is informal while you is formal. Most people think it's the other way around. If they thing about it at all. Reverence isn't a verb anymore. It hasn't been for quite some time. It's a noun. People have it, they show it, they feel it, but they don't reverence anyone or anything. Thither: no one uses it. If you punch it into Google you the first page is almost entirely devoted to sites trying to answer the question, 'What the hell does thither mean?' The exception is a blog post about how seldom thither is used. Succor: when was the last time you heard someone not-a-vampire say it? 'Fucked by the fickle finger of fate' is an expression from the 1930s."

"But it's a good expression. It's got alliteration and everything. People don't curse like that anymore." [pause] "What? I know you want to use it too."

"I thought you couldn't read my mind."

"I don't need to."

"There isn't all that much opportunity to use it really. It doesn't seem to come up a lot. Anyway, groovy is not used outside of the 59th Street Bridge song."

I've only just started using it, I'm not going to stop now."

Define 'just started.'"

Couldn't be more than 50 years."

That's almost half your life." [collects thoughts] "Wherefore isn't used outside of Shakespeare, and even then most people don't know what it means. They think it means 'where' when it really means-"

'Why'"

Heretofore is ok, hithertofore is-"

"Awesome. The word you're looking for is: awesome."

"You decline Who, Whose, Whom properly. You remember your whences and your whithers even though no one else does. And, in closing, 'Confute'." [silence, Edith gestures for Ben to continue, Ben doesn't]

"Aren't you going to ..."

"No." [pause] "Confute. You use the word confute. I rest my case."

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