Tag Archives: grammar

Texting Subtext

Recent politics makes us, perhaps, overly aware of just how differently from us people can see the world. Recent politics also makes us very aware of how fraught it can be interacting with people who see the world differently. (Although it isn’t the differences that divide us so much as our tribalism.)

Setting politics aside for a moment, I recently stumbled over a difference that I found both bemusing and enlightening. It explains something that’s puzzled me (and caused a degree of head-shaking) for quite a while. What’s cool is how it switches my worldview, because now I understand it’s not a mistake or laziness, but a valid choice.

I’m talking about periods and lower case in text messages!

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What’s the Word?

What’s the word for when you receive new information that alters your way of thinking? In particular, for when you thought things were one way, expected them to be that way, but the new information surprises you.

I used to think it was the word frisson, but that word (from the French, “to be cold”) refers to the pleasant thrill shiver you experience at the awards ceremony just before they open the envelope that might contain your name. Or when you watch a horror movie (assuming you like watching horror movies).

That’s not quite what I mean. There is—at least for me—some thrill shiver associated with learning a new and surprising thing, but I need a word that focuses more on the sense of realignment that occurs to your worldview.

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BB #4: Fugacious Nous

Funny how people use “quantum leap” to mean a large jump.  In reality, a quantum leap — a real one, not a Scott Bakula one — is a tiny thing.  A very tiny thing.  Think decimal point, 33 bagels and a number.  Tiny. Tiny beyond belief (or unbelief, for that matter).

And yet…

It does mean jumping to a new level very different from the old.

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