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Word Wednesday: Adjectives Are Not Nouns

21 March 2007

Welcome to today’s edition of Word Wednesday. I would like to discuss something that has irritated me for a long time. Ahem.

It isn’t botique (“bow-teek”), it is boutique (“boo-teek”). If that’s too difficult for you to say, then, please—for the love of all things mellifluous—just call it a shop.

Heckler: Hey! That’s pronunciation, not language use!

What? No. It’s a mis-use of language….

Heckler: This isn’t an appropriate use of the “Word Wednesday” label! I want my money back!

I assure you, if you do a quick online search for botique, you’d be shocked at how many links come up…

Heckler: Excuses, excuses! What kind of a scam are you running here, anyway?

Now, listen, you—

Heckler: Re-do! Re-do! Re-do!

Oh, all right, then! I’ll find something else here in this sheaf of notes …*shuffle shuffle* … Aha! OK, you rude person, here’s something that’s being misused more and more lately:

“Have you been to Saudi?”
“When I lived in Saudi, we used to …”
“The meeting between Palestinian factions began this morning in Saudi…”

People, can we please go back to calling it “Saudi Arabia”? I mean, it’s only five syllables, the same number as in “The USSR”, and we used to say that all the time. Five syllables is not so much. Think of how lucky we are that nothing newsworthy happens in Equatorial Guinea!

Saudi is an adjective. From the name Muhammad bin Saud, the man who began it all back in 1744. (And aren’t we lucky that in 1902, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud re-captured Riyadh, the Al-Saud dynasty’s ancestral capital, from the rival Al-Rashid family. Otherwise we would have been very tongue-tied saying Al-Rashid’s Saudi Arabia [sort of like Ruth’s Chris Steak House].)

You don’t go visit an adjective. You don’t live in an adjective. And peace meetings are not held in an adjective. They’re held in a place. Saudi Arabia. Say it. Saudi Arabia. Type it. It’s a good mouth workout (and typing workout). Don’t short-shrift your speaking/typing skills. Saudi Arabia. Our language shouldn’t always reduce to a common denominator. Saudi Arabia. Words need to make sense.

And Saudi (n.) doesn’t.

(Not-so-random segue: To the person in Riyadh at server address 212.24.224.# (Gulfnet KSA ZAJIL) who got to my blog yesterday via a technorati search for “trixie teen” +”amateur softcore”: I may not know what the precise Wahhabi punishment for onanism is, but I’m guessing it’s pretty nasty. But that’s nothing compared to what I would do to your sorry ass if you come back here again. Understood?)

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