or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Indulge Me

I have mentioned Twisty Faster and her blog I Blame The Patriarchy on more than a couple of occasions and continue to think she's just the bee's knees but why why why does she have to keep doing things like this and driving me mental?

From a recent posting of hers:

As always, I appreciate your forbearance and indulgement* in my stunning lack of expertise in administering these webular enterprises, but let’s put the blame where it is due: it is entirely the fault of patriarchy that they don’t teach MySQL in spinster aunt college.

* Nope; not a word.

She's done this before, and it's incredibly vexing. Twisty! You're smart! You can write! You can use a computer! So why can't you do ten seconds' worth of research before you write a sentence like that?

Of course "indulgement" is a word. Lots of multisyllabic verbs become nouns when you chuck "-ment" at them. Here are the first three I picked at random, made up, just pulled straight out of my head: "eschewment", an actual verb in actual dictionaries; "deliverment", rare, but attested to in the OED; "wobblement", which doesn't seem to exist (though it does get a few Google hits). So that's two out of three right there, and let's face it: as long as you follow some general rules, there's nothing to stop you from making up words anyway, so if you want to use "wobblement", people will know what you mean as long as you use it sensibly. After all, Twisty makes up such words as "obstreperal" and, above, "webular" by shoving suffixes onto them, and they make perfect sense in context.

And "indulgement" isn't even new: it's really, really old, only three hundred years younger than its more frequently heard relative, "indulgence", which dates from 1382 (it's 1691 for "indulgement").

Don't say a word isn't a word when it it is. Don't even say it as a joke, unless the context makes it perfectly, patently, painfully obvious that it's a joke. Otherwise, you look, well, kind of less than smart, and that just won't do.


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