Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Member Since

June 14, 2011

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Just a guy that loves English etymology, word play, colorful, colloquial & creative use of words, grammatical or not, but definitely written or spoken eloquence too...
Even if I ain't quite gotten that down

Latest Comments

OK vs Okay

  • December 12, 2011, 2:23pm

AnWulf, great referenced article... the reasons cited for the de facto suppression of a Choctaw origin make good sense.

Still, I like to consider this all supports the larger idea that this syllablic couplet is an archetypal sound. This would be based on the disparate and ubiquitous nature of the phonetic expression, which regardless of its local, logical and linguistic origins worldwide, has nonetheless conveyed concepts similar to the modern "OK", however we write it.

Pyscho-acoustics research (a professor at UCSD or SDSU, reference misplaced for the moment) has shown several such archetypal patterns regarding the use of specific tone sequences in vocalization to express approval, reproach, etc., regardless of language, in mothers talking to their children, worldwide. So it wouldn't be so surprising to find that other globally-recognized patterns of meaning occur with other types of uttered sound combinations - and if so, that "Oh-Kay" (deliberately "misspelt") exhibits strong candidacy for such.

Even tossing out some of the more fanciful ones, it is striking that the list of possible etymologies is so long... the stuff of Chaos Theory - profound underlying patterns of order revealed via the observation of superficial attributes...

OK vs Okay

  • June 14, 2011, 6:46pm

I suspect some as yet impenetrable (phonetic? wordplay? backslang? an homage to the purported "Orl Korrect"?) joke hides in Teddy God's comment since there is no "k" or "th" in Latin, and as Martini On Rye points out, that was utterly not Latin... but if it's too impenetrable, "smug" would be a better description than "pompous"!

However, here's a thought - the ubiquity of this expression worldwide may be precisely because - "coincidentally" or synchronistically, a little amusing trick born of the implicate & explicate - it has ALL of these origins in the many numerous languages and origins mentioned, and so has manifested in ways upon which Greek philosophers and chaos theorists would agree... the same sound has essentially the same meaning all over the world, for reasons either as explicable as why young babies call mothers "m.." something, or as weird that Geordie miners (from NE England) and many Chinese speaking in English in Singapore and elsewhere use the term "la" to address someone they don't know, as in "Hey, la"; or why a minor chord sounds sad; or why head shaking/nodding (ok, mostly) means no/yes. Some sort of fundamental, imprinted archetype about the way we hear, process and interpret sounds...