Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who doesn’t use relaxed pronunciation now?

The following is taken largely from “The Hot Word” Blog site and is about the relaxed usage of some English words to the point that they almost become a spelling of their own. Thus”
“Didja ever think that there are ways of speaking that feel perfectly comfortable that would seem wrong if you wrote them down? Sorta like the way this sentence is written. Lemme tell you ‘bout this very phenomenon, relaxed pronunciation.
Pronunciation is defined as “the conventional patterns of treatment of the sound and stress patterns of a syllable or word.” Relaxed pronunciation, also called word slurring or condensed pronunciation, happens when those syllables are phonetically melded together to create a shortened form of a word or phrase.
Yes, this is similar to a contraction. The difference is, contractions such as “could’ve” and “should’ve” are considered part of informal written and spoken language; relaxed pronunciation such as “coulda” and “shoulda,” while part of informal speech, has no standard written form.
Common trends of relaxed pronunciation include replacing “you” with “ya” or “ja” as in “d’ya” (did you) and “wouldja” (would you). Another common practice is to substitute “of,” “to”, and “have” with a schwa, a mid-central vowel sound that occurs from an unstressed syllable, as in “kinda,” “outta,” and “sorta.”
The writer William Burroughs famously called language “a virus.” One way to understand his pronouncement is that, as people use a language, it evolves. Some uses of English that are considered correct today were once frowned upon. Who knows what usage will be acceptable in 100 years? Do you think relaxed pronunciation is ever an acceptable form of speech?”
I found the above interesting especially as how we now see texting taking off and text talk often coming into other written forms too. What are some other relaxed pronunciations that you know and use, and are relaxed enough about, to share with us here?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do you teach or bore when you Inculcate?

Yes, inculcate, the Word of the Day for Thursday, September 8, 2011, is another of those words that describe an action that can either be productive or counterproductive. Depending both on how you do it and on how the listener perceives it!
Inculcate, is a transitive verb that means to teach and impress by frequent repetition or instruction. And again many people only learn by repetition and thus it is both necessary and needed at times. But like in most things, there is a fine line between inculcating and just plain boring people, isn’t there. So, please, whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to inculcate anyone, make sure that you do inculcate them and not just bore them to distraction!
I once did a Computer Course at the then Footscray Institute of Technology, way back in the early 80’s, and we had a lecturer for the theory part who was obviously absolutely brilliant on his subject, but sadly, could not pass that vast knowledge on in his teachings. And so instead of inculcating us, he just bored us all to distraction. So please, do not be like that. And if my blogs are more boring than inculcating, please don’t hesitate to tell me so. Please and thank you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do you feign to Know?

Now the word of the Day for Friday, July 22, 2011, was feign, which I’m pretty sure you all know, means:
1. To represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of.
2. To invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
3. To make believe; pretend.
Again, a pretty straightforward and common word and meaning, I believe. So today I’m not asking if you know what it means, but rather if you do it more than you should?
Yes, sometimes it can be helpful to feign or pretend you know or understand something. But quite often that can also lead to disastrous consequences when you are left to do so, and not only can’t, but muck it up badly in the trying!
This is becoming more noticeable to me as my hearing starts to go in the lower ranges and I am often tempted to feign understanding, even when I don’t always hear what was being said. However I have learnt that often what I think I have heard, is not what was actually said, but something of my own imagination. Thus I have found it much wiser and safer, not to feign understanding, and not to be embarrassed to ask them to explain themselves again. And even again if necessary!
So, if you are ever in a situation, whether like that or not, but one where you are tempted to feign understanding or knowledge that you don’t really have, please don’t!
Again, if you don’t really know what is going on, don’t feign knowledge or understanding that you don’t have, but check it out fully and do things properly. Or else, leave it for someone who can! What say you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Watermelon. Fruit or vegetable?

In an earlier Blog I quoted the popular saying that Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a Fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
Well today I have a query for you: Is a watermelon a fruit or vegetable?
I ask this because, believe it or not many people have debated for years, whether a watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable, with some calling it both.
(The information below comes from the site called: “”)
Here’s why most people believe a watermelon is a fruit:
Watermelon is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind and a juicy, sweet, usually red interior flesh.
Like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is botanically a fruit. According to Webster’s dictionary and Wikipedia, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a seed plant and its contents, and a watermelon is a large oblong roundish fruit (2004, 2006). Consumers use watermelon primarily as a fruit because of its sweet flavor and refreshing qualities.
Now here is why others call it a vegetable:
According to Webster’s dictionary a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants (2004). Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds, related to the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin (Maynard, 2001). It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables. Since watermelon is grown as a vegetable crop using vegetable production systems, watermelon is considered a vegetable (Wolford, 2004).
How Watermelon is used as a Fruit:
Watermelon is popularly used as a fruit, to be a sweet enhancer or fun accompaniment to our everyday meals. The watermelon is often cut into bite-sized squares or balled, or very often simply sliced and enjoyed. It’s also used in the types of recipes that are created using fruit.
How Watermelon is used as a Vegetable:
The whole watermelon is edible, even the rind. In places like China, the watermelon is stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. In this case, the watermelon is being used as a vegetable. Pickled watermelon rind is also widespread in Russia. (Wikipedia 2006)
Scientifically Speaking, the scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It is a member of the cucurbitaceae family. There are about 120 genera and 735 species of Cucurbitaceae worldwide, with 18genera and 76 species native to southern Africa. Some well-known vegetables fall in this family such as watermelon, Hubbard squash, butternut, pumpkin, sweet melons and cucumber.
Thus in the end, it is all a Matter of Perspective as to whether a watermelon is a fruit or vegetable:
Yes. Depending on how you want to classify it, a watermelon can be considered a fruit or a vegetable. But no matter which way you slice it, watermelon is fun to eat and very good for you!
How Do I Pick A Good Watermelon?
Some people like to tap a watermelon and listen for a “thump.” Although folks rely on that method, we’ve found following these tips will help pick the best watermelon available.
1. Look it over, choose a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free of bruises, cuts and dents.
2. Lift it up – the watermelon should feel heavy for its size – it is 92% water.
3. Turn it over – on the underside of the watermelon there should be a creamy, yellow spot
(called the ground spot) from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
What’s the Proper Temperature for Storing Watermelon?
Store whole watermelon on the warm side. Compared to most fruits, watermelons need a more "tropical" climate - a thermometer reading of 55° F is ideal. However, whole melons will keep for 7 to 10 days at room temperature. Store them too long, and they'll lose flavor and texture.
Lower temperatures cause chill injury
After two days at 32° F, watermelons develop an off-flavor, become pitted and lose color. Freezing causes rind to
break down and produces a mealy, mushy texture. Once a melon is cut, it should be wrapped and stored at 37° - 39° F.
Well, now you know as much, if not more than me, about watermelons, so? What do you think? Vegetable or Fruit? Tell us what you think and then we will ask whether you think a Pumpkin is a fruit or vegetable?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are you always careful when you Homologate?

Today’s question is: “Are you always careful when you Homologate?” Perhaps I may even have to ask, whether you ever, even if only rarely, homologate, at all? Yes! Do you approve and / or, affirm those you associate with?
For that is what the Word of the Day for Sunday, August 28, 2011. (Homologate = huh-MOL-uh-geyt), means in its main sense:
1. To approve; confirm or ratify.
2. To register (a specific make of automobile in general production) so as to make it eligible for international racing competition.
Again just looking at the first meaning of homologate, it means to approve, and confirm etc. Which are good things when done the right way and if so, usually strengthens and builds up those we in fact homologate, doesn’t it? But sometimes we can approve or confirm something or someone, in such a way, that while in one sense it gives approval and confirmation to their work, it doesn’t always affirm or approve them personally, does it? And then, there are other times when we don’t homologate at all, even when we know we should, do we? So I would just like to encourage you today, to give approval and confirmation whenever and where ever it is due, even if it is not your normal habit
Perhaps, if I could be so humble here, to even ask, what is your normal habit in regard to homologation? Yes! Is it our/your regular habit to homologate and build up? Or just to denigrate and tear down?
Again I will leave that with you for now for further reflection later.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How do you handle mistaken identity?

Was reading in the Melbourne Herald Sun on August 29 that “English born Aussie actor Nicholas Bishop is used to being asked for autographs in Hollywood, except for one problem… they think he is Simon Baker.”
I also thought that momentarily when I first saw Him on “Body of Proof” when it first started here in Oz! Although both Baker and Bishop are Aussie actors that started on Aussie shows, neither was familiar to me then. I first became aware of Baker when he was in the Guardian, as it was a favourite show of my son. So at least I can recognise Simon Baker when I see him now. So, when I first saw “Peter” on Body of proof, although I did initially also think he was Simon Baker, It wasn’t too hard to realise he wasn’t, even if at first glance there are some similarities. But apparently not everyone is that observant and according to the same paper, “Bishop said being mistaken for the handsome Aussie Mentalist star has become a bit of a running joke.
“I’m always saying “Sorry I’m not that guy” and go on my way,’ Bishop said. And then last week one guy said, ‘Oh, so you’re not Peter from Body of proof?’ I ran back!”
Can’t say I am overly taken by Bishop’s acting abilities, but he sound s like a great and humble bloke to me. Humble enough to not want to take credit for someone else’s work, but great enough to accept proper praise when it is properly given!
How about us in a similar situation? Would we be so humble, or simple sign our real name and let them wonder why it doesn't match what they thought it should be? Or worse, get into a real snit because they didn’t’ properly recognise us? Or like Bishop, give credit where credit is due without fuss, but also graciously accept credit when it is properly given? Again, just a little something to think about for today!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Say it now in the living years.

As we come to Father’s Day here in Australia tomorrow, I was recently struck by a line from the Mike and the Mechanics big 1988 hit, “In the living years". In this song, the singer mentions that he and his father didn’t always see eye to eye but he still loved him, although he never said so and he now laments that missed opportunity to say so to his father, in his father’s living years!
Now some, like the songwriters of that song, and the writer of this item, no longer have the opportunity to tell their father that they love them, but if you do still have that opportunity to do so, please do so. And even if it is not Father’s Day where you are, you don’t even have to wait till then to do so. Nor is it only relative to Fathers. If there is someone that you love that you have not told so verbally lately, please do so now, while they are still in their living years. So that unlike the writers of this song, you won’t have to lament over not doing it later, in the years to come. So in the words of this song: “SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT CLEAR”.
So will you do that now? Go out and tell, not only your father, but everyone you love, that you love them, now in their living years. And again: “SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT CLEAR”.

In the Living Years, by Mike and the Mechanics. 1988

“Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So Don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

Friday, September 2, 2011

How will you be remembered? Another view!

In my recent Blog, (How will you be remembered?) I wrote how our honorary Nephew from Transkei in South Africa, remembers me. There, he first referred to me in passing as “the husband of a woman who makes the most divine roast pork and apple sauce my taste buds have yet come to know!”
Fortunately this lovely young friend of ours, unexpectedly also had added directly to me:
“I must say though, Uncle Walter, even though you have been back in Australia for 10 years I still think of you as a Transkeian, man from Mthatha (or as we once knew it, Umtata).
I will come down eventually, Uncle Walter... eventually. ;-)”
Needless to say, even though I did say it in the other blog too, I was quite chuffed about this unexpected compliment, which means a lot coming from one who doesn’t give compliments willy-nilly.
Anyway, the very day I wrote that blog, and completely unconnected to that, I found this posted on my Facebook page from a real nephew of mine:
“Some people call him a "god-botherer" or a "bible basher". Walter Gordon Parker may be both of these, but i respect him a hell (haha) of a lot. He posts some interesting stuff, and with our views being almost completely opposite, he gets a lot of stick from me regarding his views, but he may have a powerful friend up there and I may need him to put in a good word for me one day. :)”
Now perhaps not as chuffed by this remembrance as the other, I was still quite pleased with it. For, whilst I have to rather ashamedly admit I probably don’t bother God enough with my prayers and although I have too much respect for the Bible to actually bash anyone with it, it is nice to know I am still respected for my beliefs even if they are in total opposition from someone else’s. And I guess when all is said and done, if that is the best I can achieve, then it is certainly better than the alternative. So again. How will you be remembered? Whether by family or friends: With fondness or respect, if remembered at all? Again over to you for Now.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How will you be remembered?

Once upon a time, long, long ago, and way back in the last century when we were living in the Transkei, we invited one of our Xhosa neighbours over for tea one night as a thank you for helping us settle in so well there upon our then recent arrival there. And had roast pork and apple source to commemorate this relationship.
Now at that time we weren’t aware, that despite the numerous numbers of little black pigs running, it seemed, all over the countryside, only certain Xhosa’s ate pork – even though the rest had no problem in growing them and selling them to those who did.
Anyway, the then about 16 year old son of our neighbour, revealed that he really wasn’t keen on pork, but he ate it anyway, and absolutely loved it. So much so that he raved about it ever since. And it became a running joke between us.
One day, after we moved a little bit away from them but still just around a couple of Corners, and we were having roast pork for tea, the girls decided to invite the family over for tea again and rang them up to ask them over for that night.
This young lad said that he didn’t know if they could make it or not, as Mum was away in East London (In South Africa & 230kms away) and he wasn’t sure she would be back in time. The girls then told him that we were having his favourite for tea. He said, “Roast park and apple sauce?” “I’ll be there even if mum isn’t!” Well they both were there.
A little later he moved 800 mms away to Johannesburg to be an Air steward for SA Airlines. And he was as happy as Larry, as he found a restaurant just down the street that served roast pork and apple sauce, “just like Aunt Martha’s”.
Anyway, the years have passed since then and we have been long back in Australia and he is currently in Japan teaching English. But he still loves his roast pork. He recently posted this comment on his face book page: “Spent what seems like a fortune on a joint of roast pork that tastes like ****. Thought I would have it through the week, but no such luck.”
To which one of his friends replied: “Ooh I've been meaning to buy a leg of lamb and cook up some good kiwi style tucker for all you guys one day, I'll have to get onto that!”
And I followed with: “Better come and see Aunt Martha lad!”
To which he replied: “My Australasia people are the first to comment on this status update. Hooray for Australasia! One is a kiwi fruit whose cooking has time and again proved to be the truth and the other the husband of a woman who makes the most divine roast pork and apple sauce my taste buds have yet come to know.”
So there you are! I don’t know how you are remembered today, but if he had just written that, it would seem that I am just remembered as the husband of a woman who makes the most divine roast pork and apple sauce his taste buds have yet come to know!
Fortunately, this lovely young friend of ours, unexpectedly also had added directly to me:
“I must say though, Uncle Walter, even though you have been back in Australia for 10 years I still think of you as a Transkeian, man from Mthatha (or as we once knew it, Umtata).
I will come down eventually, Uncle Walter... eventually. ;-)”
Now coming from a young man who doesn’t normally give compliments lightly, I am quite chuffed by his comments, as I was unaware until recently, when we struck up correspondence again through Face book, that I had made such an indelible impression in him. Even though we all knew my wife's roast pork and Apple sauce had!
So now, what impression are you making today in others. And conversely, what impressions have others made in your life in the past? And have you ever told them so?
Well if not, maybe, just maybe, now is the time to do so? Over to you for now.