u_top picture

From the Word Fugitives archive...

Self-inflicted punishment

Please note: This page is a read-only archive of messages posted in the Word Fugitives conference of Post & Riposte.


TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (1 of 9), Read 123 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 09:40 AM

Karin Erichsen, of Oslo, Norway, writes: "A colleague of mine claims that there is a reason for puns, such as the really unfortunate and absolutely unintentional ones:

"Waiting in a funeral parlour, when someone says, 'Sorry for the delay,' and you say, 'Oh, we've got time to kill.'

"Or getting the whisky bottles out at a party and suggesting to a blind friend, 'Let's have a blind tasting.'

"Or silly ones: 'Sorry I forgot the card evening the other week -- cellar got flooded.' 'That's all right -- water under the bridge...'

"'Can't take a winter skiing break -- snowed under with work.'

"His theory is that your mind is already connected to a certain vocabulary -- death, or bridge, say -- so expressions from the same area will pop into your head. My question is: Is there a word for the mechanism in our brain that makes us come out with embarrassing puns? Or a word for the action of making an embarrassing pun, perhaps? For the wish-I-could-take-it-back pun?"

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (2 of 9), Read 112 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Bill Hunter (william.hunter@ey.com)
Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 05:24 PM

For the "wish I could take it back" pun, I suggest "orapedia"

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (3 of 9), Read 95 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Matt Swift (swift@alum.mit.edu)
Date: Saturday, September 11, 1999 05:53 AM

This sounds to me like a kind of "Freudian slip", specifically one that is embarrassing. But it would be reasonable (and in good accordance with Freud's theories) to assume that the majority of revelations of "unconscious motives, wishes or attitudes" (as Random House defines it) will be embarrassing, else they would not be confined to the unconscious. So "Freudian slip" seems to me to be quite an exact term: one would certainly in common usage be less inclined to use "Freudian slip" for an event without embarrassment. Cognitive linguists undoubtedly have a name for the colleague's theory; I believe I have read of models for this behavior involving a net or web of words. When a word or idea is activated, as by encountering it in the environment, nearby words are also raised to some level of activation, and thus become more likely to be used. Connections can be semantic, syntactic, associative, etc. Random House gives "parapraxis" as a slightly earlier synonym for "Freudian slip". Whether the word was ever used by Freud would be rather easy to check, as I think concordances exist. The OEDv2 does not list "parapraxis" or "Freudian slip". I have not consulted dictionaries besides those mentioned.

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (4 of 9), Read 99 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Saturday, September 11, 1999 07:29 AM

Matt,

I learned the word "parapraxis" from reading Freud. Yes, he (or his translators) used it before "Freudian slip" was coined. Here is a definition I found for you:

parapraxis

Part of speech: noun
Syllables: par-a-prax-is
Pronunciation: pae rE praek sihs
Inflections: parapraxes
Definition: an action in which a person's conscious intent is not entirely carried out, as in making errors or losing things.

at
http://www.wordsmyth.net/cgi-bin/simplesearch.cgi?submit=Define+it%21&matchent=parapraxis&matchtype=exact&matchid=-1&retall=1

(A useful dictionary is at onelook.com.)

Note that parapraxis includes actions as well as words, where "Freudian slip" is more commonly used for speech.

Rus

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (5 of 9), Read 81 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Lukas Neville (lukasx@hotmail.com)
Date: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 07:25 PM

Can someone provide a definition of orapedia? I cannot find it in the Canadian Oxford dictionary.

Thanks

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (6 of 9), Read 73 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 1999 04:22 PM

If my memory serves, orapedia is supposed to be the accumulated knowledge that one has in one's memory. This knowledge is then transmitted via the mouth (hence, "orapedia"), and is more commonly known as oral tradition. I think that this may be a cultural term, as it is used to describe that knowledge which is common to a particular culture (i.e. the Maoris or any one of the North American Indigenous Peoples), which is then given to others in the group by means of tribal songs, dances, stories and others.
If I am incorrect, then I apologize, but I'm pretty sure that this is what orapedia means.

Aaron

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (7 of 9), Read 76 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, September 16, 1999 12:16 PM

I thought Bill coined orapedia especially for us!

today's wwftd is...

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (8 of 9), Read 50 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Dan Chall (danchall@interport.net)
Date: Saturday, September 18, 1999 10:17 PM

On 9/14/99 7:25:23 PM, Lukas Neville wrote:
>Can someone provide a
>definition of orapedia? I
>cannot find it in the Canadian
>Oxford dictionary.
>
>Thanks
>


I agree with Michael's posting. Orapedia isn't in Random House unabridged, either, so I assumed Bill Hunter was offering a word that would mean "foot-in-mouth disease."
--Dan

TOP | Post | Reply | Reply/Quote | Email Reply | Delete | Edit
Previous | Next | Previous Topic | Next Topic
Topic: 5) Self-inflicted punishment (9 of 9), Read 15 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Karin Erichsen (magnhild@cheerful.com)
Date: Saturday, September 25, 1999 06:22 PM

>Is there a word
>for the mechanism in our brain
>that makes us come out with
>embarrassing puns? Or a word
>for the action of making an
>embarrassing pun, perhaps? For
>the wish-I-could-take-it-back
>pun?"

Thanks, you people - I am getting there:

We have the mechanism - Matt says a web of words where a certain environment activates certain terms,
we have the action: Bill's orapedia,
and we have the pun: parapraxis/Freudian slip.

But how about a nice new family of three related terms for the purpose.

Activate that web of words...

Karin.





Return to the
Court Record index.

Return to the Word Fugitives main page.

Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company.
Cover Atlantic Unbound The Atlantic Monthly Post & Riposte Atlantic Store Search