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Diabolically Arcane

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

9 March, 2012

The English language lost a syllable this month. Or so it feels. I’m not a musical fanatic, but I have always adored the singsong impossiblity of that 34-letter word trilled by Mary Poppins. You know the one. It starts with super and rhymes with precocious.

The Sherman brothers composed the song in the early 60s. And last week, on March 3, we lost Robert, one half of that magical word’s 14 syllables.

There’s a great Wiki page suggesting the actual word can be defined as ‘Atoning for educability through delicate beauty’, which is hard to use in context. Of course every kid knew the word for its outlandish length, a shibboleth of nerdom. But wait, could longer words be sneaking back into fashion?

Consider bouncebackability – the new UK vernacular for reslience. Or a new rock found by geologists last month, bearing the name tranquillityite, after the moon’s Sea of Tranquillity. There is a trend to extend, I believe, or is that my ubermetrosexuality speaking?

Face it, if we mock Germans for their Kugelschreiben (biros), then we’d best repent for such loquacious phrases as plausible deniablity or strategic philanthropy. There has to be a column in this. It’s one of those read-in-the-morning-and-nourish-thorugh-the-day ideas.

Do you have a supercali-story? Or a verylongword in your life?

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Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
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