Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Queen's English.. Both of 'em.

I was browsing through the online version of the Sydney Morning Herald today when I came across a story that really got my attention. A little background here: I love Australia, and everything that went along with it's founding and settling. That included the transportation of English people both bond and free to the shores of the great southern land.

That was the way people got from England to Australia through out the 1790's all the way up to the twentieth century. In the latter years people in the higher class of English and Australian society would have made the trip on a large ocean liner, which are now used primarily for vacation and adventure rather than transport. I also love ships, and just about everything having to do with ships, and so seeing that the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 were both in Sydney Harbour at the same time today was a great convergence of things I love.

That's not what the locals called it, however. The surge of people trying to see the sister ships in the harbour lead to massive traffic jams and an overall sense of commotion that the SMH called: a kerfuffle. (N. KER-FUF-UL, 1. To put in a state of disorder; to ruffle 2. A commotion; a rumpus; a fuss.)

I love this word! I've heard it used mainly by Brit's it also turns up in Aussie papers and on Aussie Radio a lot. It is so wonderfully expressive, as the word it self seems to be a jumble of consonants mixed with the Uh sound that is among the most closed of the vowel sounds. K's and F's and that last UL sound bring together quite a cool little word. It's one of the words I think of when I hear someone like Henry Rollins talk about making our language stand up on it's hind legs and get workin' again.

Greazy, could you please use kerfuffle in a sentence?

Sure. At first it looked like our involvement in Iraq was just going to be a kerfuffle, but then it turned into a brouhaha, then a quagmire and now it's just a clusterfuck. How was that?


1 comment:

Angry Inky said...

Top notch, Gov'na!! Good show. Cheers. It's a real humdinger. Brill, innit?