20 October 2008

Changing the meaning of words

Have you ever looked at a word written down and thought "that doesn't look right". The more you look at it, the more it looks wrong. You spell it out letter by letter, but it still looks wrong, so you check the dictionary and the spelling there matches the word on your page, yet it still looks wrong.

I have found that the same thing happens with the spoken word; the more you say a word over and over again, the stranger it sounds. Sometimes it even takes on a completely different meaning.

One such word that has been bugging me recently is 'homeowner'. If you watch the television, listen to the radio or read any newspapers, you cannot escape this word. Financial organisations offer loans and 'debt consolidation' agreements to homeowners, the news tells of homeowners struggling to pay mortgages or maintain their level of spending. We are bombarded with media talking about, or to 'homeowners' (sic.) Yes, one word, 'homeowner', as opposed to 'home owner' or 'home-owner'.

It has become a single word, which now presents me with a bit of a problem. Every time I hear the word 'homeowner' I wonder if it is the new term for a person who is unhappy with the service received from a prostitute.

Is it just me?


Seán said...

Or has a blunt and inefficient garden implement?

Oz said...

Not a slang term for someone who masturbates at their place of residence? Derived from homeonanist?

As the song goes, 'that's just the way it is'. I do find myself checking to see if two-words are still hyphenated or separated by space, or if the cultural pressure has become such that the two words have now fused. You do realise that most journalists are now driven by the MS Word spell checking dictionary don't you? MS is now taking over our language.

drew dunn said...

lololol thats class because your probly right