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Twofer Linguistics - Denese Rodgers

I am fascinated by how our language grows and morphs, and how some words change meanings and others disappear altogether.

Wikipedia -- one of my favorite online reference sources -- states that when there are two meanings packed into one word, it is called a "portmanteau."

It is actually rather ironic that such a long word is the one that is used to indicate a concatenation of two or more words.

Common ones that you hear all the time are words like: "Brunch" -- a combination of breakfast and lunch; and "Spanglish" -- a combination of English and Spanish. Another favorite is "Spork," which has the qualities of both a spoon and a fork.

My favorite new portmanteaus (portmanteaux?) are the funny ones that the media creates to make fun of celebrity couples in the gossip rags. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became "Branjolina." Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were labeled "Bennifer." Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes became "TomKat."

You gotta admit that it gives a tad of spice to run-of-the mill "who's zooming who" stories.

I have a word that I use all the time to describe mindless paperwork and procedure: "Administrivia." Tell me that's not just the perfect word for most of the tedious reports that you have to do!

The retail industry uses portmanteaus to add flash and dazzle to their products. One of the ones I like uses an acronym for sale-item combos: "BOGO" means Buy One, Get One.

What is going to get more progressively interesting is how we continue to lump portmanteaus and acronyms until we have a whole new dialect. This will tie perfectly into the laziness of the IM (instant messaging) world were everything is an acronym ROFLMAO!!!

I'm an absolute, FaceBook addict. First thing in the morning, and as soon as I get home from work, I'm BookN.

One of my friends online got me tickled the other day, because he posted the query of what we could call the combined services of My Space plus Twitter plus FaceBook. His idea was My Fwitter. My best guess was My TwitBook.

I'd be willing to guess that none of the three services would be really happy at that suggestion.

And you know this just totally opens up the possibilities for having some grins with some of the stuff that drives you batty. Mindless Channel Surfing could become "Murfing."

Being grumpy and having to do housework: "Grouswork." Having to constantly clean out your inbox and erase deleted items ALL the time - hmmm. Would that be an E-Detox? Or an I-Defrag?

Would a speeding ticket turn into a "Stick-et" (which is appropriate when you see what it will cost you)?

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.