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Eric Pettigrew




MAY I HAVE HALF A WORD PLEASE? There has been a furore about the overuse of the F word on the it has devalued our language and our morals and deadened our senses. Words are indeed powerful. They evoke an automatic response from our consciousness. In a sense, they do our thinking for us. They are contextual, however, and if used too much, either lose their meaning entirely or indeed mean exactly the opposite of their intention. Consider the epithet F****** A. It no doubt used to be an insult; now it is more an expression of surprise. Why not use a half-word instead? A half-word will not explain anything for us; it will force us to think to understand. Of course it will be a euphemism for its full partner, but it will require active participation for comprehension and will stop us cheapening our language with all-purpose potty words that, in fact, may mean anything or nothing at all. Take the half-word It, for example. No prizes for guessing its full partner. But use it for a while, and you will quickly find just how confused our language can become when overuse turns into saturation, and where context then becomes everything. IT has amazing properties to transform itself. For example, someone who knows his IT is seen as smart; someone who knows IT, dumb. Both good IT and bad IT can be good, usually when followed by the word man, as in: This is good IT, man, or this is BAAD IT, man. You can either take a IT, or have a IT, or just plain IT, and it all means the same thing. Being IT hot is good, being a hot IT is seen as selfish and egotistical. Being full of IT, or a IT head is also bad, but if you have your IT together that is good. If you don't give a IT it is also bad, whereas saying he gives a IT means in fact he doesn't. And so on and so on. By stripping away the full word you will make people think about what you are saying, and make you think twice before you say it. And if someone should ask you what you are doing, just say you are using half-words, and if they ask you what the other half of IT is, just look at them and respond quietly: "What you should tell yourself the next time you mindlessly say IT:........Sh....

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