hells_half_acre: (!!!!)
The English language has disappointed me once again. First, there was the epic debacle of "Disenfranchised" and now, there is confusion that is the word "bemused." Apparently, it does not mean what I thought it meant.

In my Nelson dictionary:
1. To cause to be bewildered; confuse.
2. To cause to be engrossed in thought.

Online dictionary:
1.    bewildered or confused.
2.    lost in thought; preoccupied.

Second online dictionary:
1.     deeply absorbed in thought; "as distant and bemused as a professor listening to the prattling of his freshman class"; "lost in thought"; "a preoccupied frown"
2.     perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements; filled with bewilderment; "obviously bemused by his questions"; "bewildered and confused"; "a cloudy and confounded philosopher"; "just a mixed-up kid"; "she felt lost on the first day of school"

It was upon reading "a preoccupied frown"  that I panicked. I had been reading a story, and since the author wasn't a particularly good author, they kept repeating certain things over and over again, one of which was the phrase "a bemused frown." At first I didn't think much of it, because, hey, internet writing isn't really an authority on language. But after the third time I saw the word "frown" follow the word "bemused," I figured I should look up the word, because I had never associated the word "bemused" with the word "frown" before.

So, I talked to Gabe about it:

Gabe: bemused doesn't mean "slightly amused with some curiosity towards the witnessed act?"

Me: No, apparently it's a confused or bewildered frown. keyword: FROWN

Gabe: like disapproving? weird

Me: Which doesn't make any sense to me, because "muse" has always indicated something good in my mind.

Gabe: mine says "preoccupied/lost in thought." Ours is a Collins dictionary

Me: Oh yeah, that's the other one...but that doesn't contain the idea of being amused...which I always thought was part of it.

Gabe: muse is neutral to me, like think...

Me: to me it's neutral bridging on positive, but never negative...but the definition I found for "bemused" and the recent things I have been reading that use it all use it in a negative sense...like being bewildered to the point of being disconcerted.

Gabe: odd

Me: Very

Gabe: wow
Gabe: man
Gabe: I should reread a lot of my fantasy literature then :P

Me: Haha

Gabe: people seemed cooler when bemused rather than bewildered

Me: Yeah...that's what I thought "what have I misinterpreted over all these years?!" or "what false messages have I given?!"

Gabe: hahaha

Now, that all being sad, when I looked up the etymology of the word, it sort of made more sense to me. Still, I prefer the definition of "bewildered yet amused" than the definition of a "preoccupied frown."
hells_half_acre: (Sherrie's Bday)
Gabe and walked down to the supermarket to get me a frozen pizza tonight. As we waited for the elevator our neighbour Julie's voice could be heard from inside her apartment.

"Bu hui ba!" we heard. Gabe smiled, and translated for me.

"You hear that a lot. It means 'Impossible' or 'It can not be' or sometimes 'I won't do it!" We got into the elevator, "Sometimes I would tell stories and exaggerate, and they would take it really seriously, and then suddenly realise what I was doing and then that's when they'd say 'bu hui ba!'"

We exited the building and began to walk the five minutes to the supermarket. He pointed out all the shops he had discovered, and said the names outloud. I rolled them over silently on my tongue, trying to remember the sound of the french. In the supermarket, we only spoke German. His German has been improving. He gets an average of 5 German calls a day where he works. My German is horrid, but I don't want to lose it, so I told him to speak it to me occasionally.

While we waited in line, we read the pizza box in french. Cuites sur Pierre, bon pour vous et si bon ....goût.

"It'll be fun teaching you french" Gabe said, "You should learn chinese too."

"Bu hui ba" I said.

hells_half_acre: (l'interpide)
I'm tired and I'm tired of everything. I didn't sleep well last night. I remember waking up several times and looking at the way the shadows and light looked on the ceiling. I remember I liked the way the leaves looked out the window. Without my glasses that tree could have been any height. For a while I pretended I was sleeping in a toadstool house in an enchanted forest. It didn't occur to me to think of a reason to be in an enchanted forest. I think somethings don't need reasons. Not everyone can save a princess or defeat evil or get lost down a rabbit hole - there are some who must just end up in an enchanted forest for no reason whatsoever and whilst there fail to get into any fantastical madcap adventures.

Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in forever. I'm going to sleep in until divine providence wakes me up.

I've always loved the word "disenfranchised." I've tried to use it in my everyday speech every once in a while, but quietly so that people usually miss it. The truth is I never actually bothered to look up what it meant. I finally did the other day. I'm actually disappointed. I've been reading that word, and using that word, in my studies for almost 5 years now, and it doesn't actually mean what I thought it meant.

Part of me wishes that I had never looked it up, and part of me is glad that I may have just avoided some potential embarrassment.  However, there is another another part of me that firmly believes that language is only what we make it. I say that disenfranchised should be able to have a separate special meaning just for me and people like me. A weird meaning that lies somewhere between "disaffected" and "disenchanted," and doesn't have much of anything to do with being "deprived of the rights of citizenship."


hells_half_acre: (Default)

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