Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Words I Hate

We had a conversation once where we revealed to each other the word we most hated. His was "quonset" and mine was cuticle. I thought it would be cute a few months later to send him an envelope filled with all shapes and sizes of the word. He didn't think it was cute. It made him angry, in fact.
I don't have an issue with 'quonset' but I still dislike cuticle. It is the 'ik-llll' part that I despise. The abrupt change from 'ik' to the guttural 'lll'. The same unpleasant sounds appear in words like 'particle' and a similar shift occurs in 'municipal' and 'principle'.
Other words shift not into a guttural 'lll' but into a similarly nasty 'rrrr' such as in 'rectangular' where the pleasantly spelled 'lar' is pronounced with an ugly 'lrrrr'. Appearing also in 'spectacular' where the contrat between the meaning and that icky sound are profound, it is not nearly so annoying as when heard in 'nucular' which isn't even a word, but a bad bastardization of 'nuclear'.
Then there are the 'awwwww' words like 'mauve' and 'gaudy' and 'Maude' and 'tawdry' which at least ends in the upbeat 'ree' that perks it up and takes away the nausea caused by the 'awww'.
Is it odd to dislike the aesthetics of the sounds of a word? Is it a symptom of some deep psychological maladjustment or merely a sign of someone who wants all the world to be of pleasant sounds and shapes and colors and textures?
I wonder if he still hates the word 'quonset'? And if he has forgiven me for the little prank packet of words I sent so long ago?

1 comment:

Chuckles said...

"Regurgitate" - I just about throw up whenever I see it...