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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Today's Word: "kilter" a bit about language, and I am a fan of Enya

I am not very appreciative of other languages or the beauty-of-languages as some people may see it.  I guess I appreciate that there are words in some languages that do not have a word in others.  My only beef with that is when these things are pointed out... it is often in such a way to make English seem inferior.

I don't think any language is the best.  To me it is a matter of efficiency- English is the language of business.  Though it may not be the most prominently used when considered in terms of headcount.. it is probably the most effective to have in the international business world we live in today.  This is my opinion and hypothesis... if for some reason you think there is another language that meets this criterion please let me know as I love to be educated.  Even better yet- offer me proof and references.  I thought I would look very quickly and I found this on Forbes just now. It's not much but it does for the time being.

Lately I have noticed that my vocabulary keeps growing.  I am not trying to say that I have the best and furthermore my grammar probably leaves some things to be desired.  I don't know how talented I am as a writer.

I think it suffices to say that "lately I have been more interested in the language I know"  I just looked up "suffice" and the proper usage of "it suffices to say" just now.  Apparently I was aware of it's correct usage before I looked it up...

I was listening to a song called "Wild Child" by Enya.  Actually I have been listening to that song and other songs by Enya a lot lately.  It is not uncommon for Enya's lyrics are hard to pull out of the music prompting you to look them up.  There is a part in the song that goes:

Only take the time 
From the helter skelter
Every day you find
Everything's in kilter
You don't need a reason
Let the day go on and on

According to Merriam-Webster The term "helter skelter" is defined as...
1:  in undue haste, confusion, or disorder 
2:  in a haphazard manner
That is its definition as an adverb.  As a noun Google or whatever it is Google search uses to show you a definition of something... defines it as a noun meaning "disorder; confusion." Google gives it a similar meaning as an adverb.  They are pretty well in-sync.

But on to "kilter."  When I heard that in the song, as it is one of the few words one can actually pick out- I thought "what does this word mean exactly."  Then I thought to myself "it has to do with the general state of circumstances."  But I didn't know if it described those circumstances as positively arranged or negatively arranged.  And I still don't know.  Check this out...


Google defines it as "out of harmony or balance."  I would call this "describing things in a way that most would consider negative."  I don't know what is positive about being "out of harmony."  But then see the definition offered by Merriam-Webster: "proper or usual state or condition."  That sounds like something would generally consider as a positive set of circumstances.  I mean who doesn't like proper and usual?  Well not me.

So what is it?  People say "out of kilter" and they usually mean "out of order..."  or out of their usual state.

I literally just now grabbed a copy of "Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary: Unabridged, Second Edition"  I'll take a photo of the beast...



Webster's defines it as "orderly arrangement; proper disposition, good condition-" a noun.  Sometimes old-school has to settle the argument.  In other words that based on the multiple definitions I am settling on the one which conveys something positive.

People often use "in kilter," and "out of kilter" to describe circumstances. I think they use "out of kilter" more often- usually to describe a situation as a mess... a SNAFU if you will (you can look that one up yourself).

I guess Enya confused me because she said "in kilter" and not "out of kilter" to describe a situation that seemed out of kilter- the day in the life of a wild child.

FINAL LESSON: Google is not always right.

Cheers and fat.
Nick

I am hereby coin the internet abbreviation for FAT as "forgive all typos."  1946 EST 20140907

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