Monday, December 3, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: If you read too much, you'll think like this, too

Hypocrisy is the best-spelled word in our language. No, it’s far from phonetic, but look at its structure. H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y. It’s an ugly word, a hypocritical word.

It’s "hypo," which is a dumb, pseudo-scientific sounding thing, the closest relation to which is "hyper," the general charge of which is to accuse anything it is hyphenated to of exaggeration. "Hyper" is so much more common than "hypo" that rather than "hypo" having a meaning, people just think of its prefixal cousin.

And the ‘y’ in this “hypo” is pronounced in its unusual soft form. Normally it’s usually a stronger letter, as in "hypodermic" or "hypothesis." Here, it's like that fat, ill-tempered herbivore responsible for more deaths in Africa than any of the carnivores. The hippo-crisy.

Following our "hippo," we have "crisy," which sounds like "gristle," despite being spelled closer to the demure "cracy," as in "democracy." "Democracy" is an authoritative word for a good idea, an ideal idea. "Hypocrisy" gets gristle.

Merely examine the sounds composing the word. The "hyp" and "cris" have the same vowel sound, but use different letters invoke it. The letter 'c,' the greatest hypocrite in the alphabet, is also present, in replacement of 'k,' (a shamelessly underused letter), but 's' is present in that same 'cris' syllable. "Hypocrisy" gets along with 'c' stealing only one consonant’s job there. Yet it invokes the letter 'y' twice for two different vowel sounds, when that poor letter isn’t even really a vowel, and has the gall, only two syllables after the first 'y,' "hyp," to summon 'i' for the same vowel sound, "cris."

No wonder it’s so hard to spell. It’s got four syllables and no morals. "Hypocrisy" will be one of the first words up against the wall when the revolution comes, along with "phonetic," (the audacity to use "ph" for 'f' when it's supposed to be setting an example) "lisp," (no one with one can pronounce it) and "initialize" (less for spelling and more for whatever bastard changed its meaning from "start" to "delete everything on my computer"). Anyone who spells such words correctly on a test ought to get full credit, but anyone who misspells them should probably get double credit. Their only problem is probably an overabundance of ethics.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Counter est. March 2, 2008