The Lexiconographicus of You

I don't really know what to do with the fact that people blatantly make up words.

This has been an ongoing problem for me. I know my sister finds it hilarious when people say "supposably" and has turned it into a self-entertaining sport.

Me: So then I saw him and he said that *supposedly* they weren't going to go.
Her: Did you just say "supposably"?
Me: No, I said supposedly.
Her: No, um, I'm pretty sure you said "supposably".
Me: NO! Why would I say "supposably"?! It's not even a word.
Her: But you said it.
Me: (jumping off bridge) I would never!!!!!!
Her: Just kidding...

But it's not just supposably/supposedly. This goes on all day long, all around the country. People make words up and other people nod and smile and perhaps withhold a smirk but don't CORRECT them.

I just saw it today. I was at the gym (just establishing my alibi) and somehow Oprah had decided it was high time she invite Jenna Jameson, "The Most Famous Porn Star in the World" to be on her show. ("Supposably" I know better than to watch stuff like this...) Anyway, Jenna wanted everyone to know that there is a big misconception that she's "a slut" (her words, not mine) but that she actually did many of her films with her then-husband.

I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I really was. I mean, she had had her repeatedly-done-implants reduced, she had good posture, and she had been "retired" for a year. I listened closely as she said that she just did porn because she could make a lot of money, but she wanted people to know she's a good business woman. The implication was that she was smart, and I *almost* believed her. Until she said that women loved her work with her husband because there was a "comfortability" between them.

Um, not a word Jenna. Thanks for playing.

What's worse is that Oprah didn't even wince. But she was probably wondering what was even happening to her career that she was sitting on stage next to Jenna Jameson instead of Dr. Oz. Earlier in the week she had interviewed the lady who was attacked by a chimp. So her mind might have been on ratings more than grammar, one presumes. She even made a pathetic plug for her own magazine. Oh, Oprah!

I couldn't believe my little ears! Comfortability?! I wanted to turn around to the septuagenarians around me at the YMCA, walking their 2mph on the treadmill, and ask them if they heard what I did. I thought about it, but that would have required showing them that I was intently watching a Jenna Jameson interview, so I voted against that move.

Now, being the nerd that I am, I came home and looked this up. The ONLY entry on the internet for "Comfortability" is on a wiki dictionary. In other words, the word doesn't actually exist except for in one place, by someone (possibly Jenna herself) who typed that entry.

I'm an advocate of letting the English language breathe, and adopting conversational English into the lexicon as needed. I admit I use emoticons more than necessary (although to my defense my big emoticon-faux-pas is using winks, something I use excessively in person as well). I'm not sure if I'm alone in this battle. Am I like author Lynne Truss, who was a one-woman picket line against the improperly punctuated title of the Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock cinematic masterpiece (I say this without even the slightest note of irony) "Two Weeks Notice"? Is this a war that lone soldiers spread across the continent can successfully fight?

In the end I've decided that maybe starting a Facebook group called "Um, the word you just said isn't a word, but we'll pretend that it is" is all I can do for now.

Problem is, I don't know if that would make people uncomfortablistic.


Girl With Curious Hair said...

My co-worker says 'supposably' all the time--and with the confidence of a woman who knows she's smarter than everyone else. And every time, I want to bang my head on the wall.

And Oprah is on a roll this week. Sarah Palin and Jenna Jameson. I'm a little worried about her.

bryan said...

You're in luck. There is a facebook group for you, and someone even ranted "supposably" on the wall!

"I correct your bad grammar in my head while you're speaking"

jonyangorg said...

I can't even use "supposably" in a sentence. Then again, I didn't know "comfortability" wasn't a word.

I'll blame my FOBness, as usual.

Anonymous said...

i've had supposedly vs. supposably knocking around in my head all of last week, and i couldn't pinpoint why until i showed up here again today. i could agree more :D