j.m. raymond By j.m. raymond, 26th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Off Beat

Some words in English can be very confusing. This piece takes a humorous look at some of those and the difficulty of getting them correct, even in context.

Homonyms, homophones, homographs and heteronyms: not only is that a mouthful to say, it is a subject that can leave you in a daze for days. You might just have to spell your spell-checker for a bit, because it won't catch most of these, unless you're using "thees" and "thous". It definitely won't like those. Without trying to incite a riot, maybe we can gain a bit of insight into this confusing, confounding, confounded topic. I know this story picks up in the middle. That's a literary device. It's called plat... I mean plot.


"Ante up Auntie! Aught of anything I ought to be doing? Any affect I can have on the effect of all that ale an' whatever else is ailin' me?

If you're going to tell me your heir is out for some air, e're we get started, then I shall have to err on the side of caution ere he is allowed to return. It must be said aloud. I am not an ant, Aunt, and if you cannot augur a solution, I shall perform a bit of "augery" myself in an attempt of course, to expose him as the fraud he is, fraught with danger as this course may be.

""Well," she said, "when you get to the well, you expect to get water".

Normally, I simply wade into any conversation, but her words gave me pause--no, she doesn't have a dog--and after I had weighed my options, I felt it best to just nod my head in total incomprehension. Dealing with my aunt was an exercise in comparative religions. From demons to exorcise, to original sin, to mentally computing the average frequency of a sine wave, you had to know the sign of deteriorating conversation.

Before this tale becomes too intense and grows a porpoise tail of its own, allow me to say, for all intents and purposes, my motives in confronting my aunt were not base, nor was I simply twiddling the strings on the bass guitar, as it were. I was thoroughly and thoughtfully concerned for her continued well being and, though that may not yet be abundantly clear, I shall endeavor to resolve that prior to the story's end, ever mindful of your welcome patience.

First of all, I am an invalid, which probably makes some of your early assumptions invalid. You most likely thought I was a doctor tending patients. My aunt, her name is Flo, is a fount from whom flows all of those "good vibes" the children of the sixties--now in their sixties--were always talking about. Naive as Ellie May and her mistaken nomenclature of "double-barelled, over the shoulder slingshot", Aunt Flo will shoulder any burden, champion any cause, ignoring the raucous caws of the naysayers. It is her plans for her cache of cash and her generosity, that brings us to the current moment of discussion.

We had been through this phase before--how I thought her choice for beneficiary was a weed in the garden of life--but every one of the conversations never seemed to ever faze her. At one point, she made a point of forbidding me to broach the subject of how much her silver and pearl brooch with the gold purl and sliver of diamonds would be worth to a collector. At another, she had me post a worthless piece of costume jewelry on a custom eBay site for bidding. Apprised by an expert that the piece appraised for $4.50, she pulled it off the auction, incensed that someone would imply it was worth less than the fifteen she had paid. Boy, was she a sight then. You would have thought she had paid a fortune. She raised her fist in the air, cursed, threatened to have the entire Internet razed, cursed some more, shook her fist some more and prayed that the "eminent appraiser" become imminent prey to some cursed bad fortune.

Fortunately, that episode was the worst... except for the time with the bratwurst... but that's an excerpt for another time.

So, once more we were knee deep in the discussion, discussing the pros and cons (not her lawyers) of her decision. We were again at an impasse. Me, attempting to canvass the reasoning that painted the canvas of her mind; she quoting from rote memory the words of her lawyers. I wrote a note, a waiver for her to sign; tore it to shreds knowing she would not waver in her stance.

I turned to stare out the window, looking for a window to her thoughts. Pedals of a bicycle rode past the petals of the flowerbed outside. In the past, I had tried to peddle my logic to her, to convey my misgivings. It was time to climb the stairs of direct confrontation. Time to direct her thoughts away from this unicycle on a crash course. Secrets secrete slowly from the mind of this woman. Usually, I didn't mind, but today ...

"Now, never you mind, Nephew", she said. "My mind is made up. My lawyers have assured me they have ensured that he will be insured against any possible catastrophe."

"You cannot cede your money to that seed of a demon; that... that... that cat!"

Wasted sounds. Refuse. Hands on her waist, her words refused to flow.

"What's the matter, Aunt Flo? Cat got your tongue?"


Fun With Words In English, Heteronym, Homonym, Homophone

Meet the author

author avatar j.m. raymond
Satire, humor and fiction are my primary interests, although occasionally, I make forays into the worlds of technology and small business management.
You can also find me on twitter: @rentedfingers , my website at micha...(more)

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author avatar chrysolite
27th Sep 2010 (#)

Well, well, well, three holes in the ground! Downloaded this page to study at home. Let's see how much a German, avid studier of English will understand here! Thanks for that!

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author avatar SiddiQ
28th Sep 2010 (#)

Whoa! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar Denise O
21st Oct 2010 (#)

Pro and con...love it. LOL
Gave me a chuckle.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar j.m. raymond
21st Oct 2010 (#)

Thank you, Denise.

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author avatar Retired
10th Nov 2010 (#)


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author avatar matgd
18th Nov 2011 (#)

very intellectually crafted. thanks for this

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author avatar j.m. raymond
14th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks for reading, lucia anna and matqd.

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