Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Word for Today

Do you ever talk to yourself?  I do.  That's how I happened to ponder language usage this morning.  It all started when I was muttering because I couldn't recall where I'd left my gluffings.  (They turned up, by the way, in my jacket pocket--a sensible place for them to be in winter.)

Gluffings.  You've never heard that one, have you?  It's essentially a portmanteau term--one word that is the combination of several others.

glove + fluffy + mitten
.....plus you've also got to factor in that the Scots word for a cold blast of wind is gluff

Gluffings.  My warm knitted gloves.  It makes sense, now, doesn't it?  The problem is that I'm the only person who uses the word. 

Families have a way of speaking their own language--words that are particular to them, terms that refer to something that only they understand.  It's fun to communicate that way; it's insular, special.  My family was like that; we had lots of words that were combined from experience and from other bits of language from immigrant family members (like my Scots grandfather whom, sadly, I never met). 

Now that I'm the only remaining member of my nuclear family of four, no one speaks my particular patois anymore so that makes me the odd old lady who sometimes says strange things.  That could be kinda sad but it only stays sad if the word disappears, so I'm sharing it with you because it's a word that makes me happy when I say it.

Keep your hands warm when it's cold outside: 
wear your gluffings!

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