Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's all in the lingo

Can you tell which terms go with which of my interests?
If you read my background, you will note that I've spent most of my life on or around horses. My career has been in journalism, and now retired, I am quilting. What does this mean?  It means that my head is filled with useless jarjon, lingo.  It's funny how every hobby, craft, occupation, and sport has its own lingo. 

I have learned the parts of a horse, the parts of a sentence, and now and working on quilt speak.  If I learn the quilt terms, does that mean another set of lingo will be deleted in my brain?

Lingo has given us a few laughs. When my middle daughter was on the horse judging team and participated in horse bowl, every time she had the word Bog Spavin she and her coach would both have to hold back the laughs. It's just a funny-sounding term.

In case you want to know a bog spavin is a swelling of the tibiotarsal joint of the horse's hock which, in itself, does not cause lameness. The joint becomes distended by excess synovial fluid and/or thickened synovial tissue bringing about a soft, fluctuant swelling on the front of the joint, as well as in the medial and lateral plantar pouches.

See, I haven't needed to say bog spavin in at least 18 years.

Then there is journalism lingo which is different from broadcast lingo. One day at my former place of employment we were in a "whirling dervish" as my director liked to call a very busy day. We were cranking out press releases, stuffing envelopes (this was before e-mailing press packets), answering phones, well—you get the picture.

Another department was looking at a press release we had sent them to check for accuracy. One person called with an amused tone in his voice, and said, "We just want to know what a slug is." We were not amused.  It is a term by journalists for journalists meaning something that is tagged a the beginning of a news story to let editors know the basic content of the story. Copy desks receive tons of copy, and they like to be able to identify things quickly. This was especially important when there was no Internet, and everything came over a "wire," such as the Associated Press.

And now I'm on to quilting. I'm still learning terms. My first meeting I knew I might be in over my head when the group threw around such lingo as, "fat quarters, feed dogs and stipple."

I wondered if there were lingo dictionaries, and there are!  Among the interesting ones are the Urban Dictionary, Text Message Translator, Surf Lingo, Slang Dictionary, Carny Lingo—On the Midway,  and my favorite, Pirate Lingo Dictionary.

It's a good thing that I no longer have to memorize phone numbers. My cell phone does that for me. That leaves more room in my brain for all those words I only use every few years.

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