Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Audience Participation Day at Frogma

OK...I'm going to get a little silly today, just for fun.

I'm kind of taking a leaf out of Sardonic Bomb, whose post yesterday was about names that make you physically cringe (or bristle) because you connect them so completely with some real scumbag or jerk.

I actually found that difficult - first off, I've been lucky enough and/or careful enough with my attachments to people that I can count the people towards whom I bear personal resentment (I kept it to people I've actually known personally just for convenience's sake) on one hand if I'm thinking off the top of my head. I'm sure I could move on to the second hand & possibly some toes if I really thought about it but why do that to myself? Secondly - for every name I could think of that brought to mind a disliked person, I could also think of someone I really liked who shared that name, so the negative connotations & the positive pretty much cancelled each other out.

But for some reason the "names that make you cringe" theme got me thinking of "words that make you cringe". Mostly, I really like words (don't all bloggers?) but there are one or two words - or uses of words - that have something of a nails-on-chalkboard effect on me.

Case in point:

Got any books around? Pick one up & turn it over to find the bar code. Right on top of the bar code, you'll see a number with some hyphens in it, preceded by the letters "isbn". This stands for International Standard Book Numbering. I use this number a lot in my job - we'll do three or four versions of the same title (e.g., a trade hardcover, a paperback, a reinforced library binding, and a deluxe edition), so when I go to report on sales of a title, I do it by isbn, so that I can sort out the earnings into their proper categories.

When I am talking about an isbn, I tend to say "eye ess bee en".

However, I also hear the number referred to as an "izbun", and I don't know why but for some reason that word just grates on my ears terribly. It's a completely irrational thing, and I would never dream of asking people to please not try to use that word as an acronym because I would sound like a complete lunatic trying to explain that pronounced that way, it's an ugly, graceless, clunkety lump of a non-word - see, doesn't that sound weird already? Besides, I'm a finance person, we're not supposed to have opinions about words.

So I'm stuck with izbun as long as I'm in the publishing business and now I'm curious to know if anybody else has any particular words (or uses thereof - like the old "attached please find", does that bother anyone else?) that make them wince the same way "izbun" makes me wince. If you do, can you even begin to explain why, or is it the same sort of visceral "ugh" that "izbun" gives me?

Or conversely - any words in which you find you take inordinate delight in just saying them? "Wysiwyg" fits that category for me - I can't quite tell you why but of all the weird computer jargon you hear these days, that word is just the one that I find to be the most fun.

Wysiwyg! Wysiwyg! Wysiwyg!

Why does that word make me grin? It does. And now that I'm grinning, I think I can go face my afternoon slog through the Travel & Entertainment reimbursement requests.

Can't wait to read your thoughts!

Comments are open (not that they're ever closed)!

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