Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adventures in Etymology (Not The Bug Kind)

(Because, you know, the bug kind is ENTomology. Totally different. Really!)

So (as if the paragraph above didn't already prove this) I'm a total super-huge nerd. Anyone who knows me has probably already figured that out. There are lots of different nerds out there... computer nerds (I have my moments)... stat nerds (I'm not one of these, believe me)... policy nerds (Again, not me... but I have to admit, I find some of them kinda hot - no matter what their sexual orientation is, smart is sexy!)... ad infinitum.

Among my various nerdist traits, I'll wholly own the fact that I'm a "word nerd." I love words and language. I just think the evolution of words is fascinating... how did a word come into being, and why do we use a given word instead of another word that might be just as good, but may have fallen out of favor?

Like I say, I'm a super-huge nerd. One of the things that makes a nerd is mental preoccupation with intellectual subjects - whether those subjects are dialects of Klingon, quantum mechanics, or Etymology.

How mentally pre-occupied can I get? Well, this morning I awoke having a conversation with myself about the words "Casual" and "Causal." See how similar they are? A U hops from one side of an S to another, and all of a sudden the word takes on a different meaning. Or does it?

Is there a relationship between these two words? Can something casual, like a daily drug habit, be causal of something else, like, say... a drug overdose? By nature, a cause must have an effect... and something "casual" would seem to have no effect at all other than the action one deems to be "casual." But is the causal relationship, however unintended, still a part of the casual action?

Like I say, I'm a big mega-sized nerd. This was the conversation running through my head this morning as I climbed up from the depths of sleep. I don't know that there's an answer to my inner dialectic... but I thought I'd bring it up.

See, now you're going to be thinking about this in the back of your head. That's the thing about Nerdism... it's a communicable disease. If you're exposed, you have a good chance of becoming infected... though there are worse things to be infected by.

Enjoy feeling your mental wheels turn...


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