Here’s a self-explanatory bit of silliness from Twitter yesterday. There were requests to assemble it somewhere, for convenience and posterity, so I thought I’d reproduce it on Sentence first.
I’ve replaced the quotation marks I used on Twitter with italics; other than that it’s identical. The tweets are all linked, so you can also read them by clicking on the date of this introductory one:
A is for ARBITRARY: a sound’s tie to meaning.
B is for BACK-FORMED, like dry-clean from dry-cleaning.
It is CLEFT that C is for, the clause now divided.
D is for DESCRIPTIVISM, objectively guided.
E is for ETYMON, whose etymon is Greek.
F is for FRONT, like the vowels in sneak peek.
G is for GRIMM’S LAW, a pattern of sound shifts.
H is for HIGH-RISING TERMINAL, where sentence pitch lifts?
I is for INFIX, edumacational or sweary.
J is for JUNCTURE: I, Mary? I’m airy.
K is for KINSHIP terms: uncles and aunts.
L is for LEXICOGRAPHY, drudgery’s romance.
M is for METATHESIS – how brid became bird.
N is for NONSENSE: sleep furiously, green word!
O is for ONOMASIOLOGY, obsessing Roget.
P is for PHONOTACTICS: possible sounds in what we say.
Q is for QUESTION TAG – self-explanatory, isn’t it?
R is for REDUNDANCY, which you need not omit.
S is for SCHWA, the scourge of spelling bees.
T is for TRIPHTHONG, when vowels come in threes.
U is for USAGE: how we use language.
V is for VARIANT, like saying hang sangwich.
W is for WUG and its mythical plural.
X is for XENOGLOSSY: another myth, this one neural.
Y is for YOD-DROPPING – have you heard the nooz?
Z is for ZERO-DERIVATION, a neologist’s enthuse.
Thoughts and observations are welcome in the comments – as are alternative couplets if you take I for INSPIRATION.
GH Halceon has recorded a very charming reading of this, which you can hear on his blog.