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Some Words are Just Too Damn Hard to Say

Words are wonderful and weird. Being a writer, I consider myself a word nerd. That is why I love linguistics. Linguistics is the study of language and encompasses every aspect of languages, such as sounds, phrases, sentences, meanings, and uses.

Some words and phrases roll off the tongue like "Rolls Royce," "lollapalooza," and "Moses supposes his toeses are roses." Other terms are humorous, like "Hullaballoo," "Lollygag," "Cattywampus," "Bamboozled," and "Shama-Lama-Ding-Dong." (Thank you, Otis Day and the Knights). Certain words are hard to say, spell, and impossible to use in Scrabble, such as "Chrysanthemum," "rhododendron," and "Otorhinolaryngologist."

This brings me to the point of this article: Words that are Just Too Damn Hard to Say.

If you pay close attention throughout your day, you will notice the absence of three one-syllable words that were once commonplace but now seem outdated. In fact, these three words may be on the brink of extinction like "Galoshes," "rotary telephone," and "Walkman."

With no further ado, let me re-introduce to you three rarely used English words: "please" and "thank you."

"Please" and "thank you" are monosyllabic words easily pronounced but uttered less than more complicated words like "shitstorm," "butt-munch," and "dillweed."

Oddly enough, when you learn a new language, "please" and "thank you" are usually the first words you learn. If you are familiar with the following languages, you will recognize what I mean:

  • Spanish - “por favor” y “gracias”

  • German - “bitte” und “danke dir”

  • Zulu - “Ngiyacela” futhi “Ngiyabonga”

Allow me to illustrate the omission and proper use of these English words in the following two scenarios:

Example: Mr. X goes into his favorite coffee shop to order his usual morning beverage,

IMPROPER: "Can you give me a medium coffee with sugar and light on the cream and make sure it's hot." Notice what's missing? Upon receiving his coffee from the barista, Mr. X responds, "…." Yup, crickets!

Let's examine the appropriate approach to this scenario:

CORRECT USAGE: "Good morning, may I please have a medium coffee with sugar and light on the cream?" When handed Mr. X his coffee, he graciously replies, "Thank you. Have a great day."

In the above scenario, you may have noticed the subtle difference. In the first scenario, Mr. X just sounds like a demanding, entitled prick even though he was provided a service that he could do for himself if he got his lazy ass out of bed 10 minutes earlier. In the second scenario, Mr. X presents himself as respectful and grateful.

For those in a hurry, I have done some empirical research. I timed myself saying, "Please." I performed the task of saying the word "please" in about two-tenths of a second. People can make up that time by not slowing down in their car to give the finger to someone who accidentally cut in front of them.

The following phrase, "Thank you. Have a great day," can be completed in about two seconds. If people trained themselves to use the term more often, they will be in peak shape and possibly shave off 2 tenths of a second. Heck, people can even eliminate some words if they are in a hurry and just say "Thank You."

Call me a visionary, but I'm thinking if we could use these 3 little words more often, the world could be a better place, or, at least, we will piss off fewer people, and I'm good with that.

Thank you for reading my article. Please send it along to your friends and family. Again, thank you!


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