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Commit or Commit

10 Sep

I watched the U.S. Open 2012 of tennis over the past two weeks, during which a young man, Andy Roddick, retired at age 30 after devoting 22 years to the sport. Roger Federer, at 34, is still playing although no longer number one.

Professional athletes commit themselves to their chosen sport. They practice for hours, endure months away from home while on tour/season, and suffer injuries from overuse of their bodies. The definition of “commit” in this instance is “to pledge or engage oneself: an athlete who commits to the highest standards.”

Then, there’s the other kind of commit, i.e., “to confine officially or take into custody: to commit someone to prison or a psychiatric facility.

One might argue that the commitment to spend all your time hitting a fuzzy fluorescent ball across a net is grounds for the second kind of commitment.

In fact, that I find the following so fascinating might be grounds as well. It’s okay if your eyes glaze over because of this subject. I love it.

HOMONYMS.

I thought I knew that homonyms shared the same spelling and pronunciation, but had different meanings. Fun blog. I’ll do a little research. Famous last words. There are more subsets to homonyms than I realized.

Homographs (same spelling regardless of pronunciation):  bark (sound of dog), bark (skin of a tree); stalk (plant part), stalk (follow/harass a person).

Heteronyms, sometimes called heterophones (pronounced differently, spelled same):  bow (front of ship), bow (a weapon); desert (to abandon), desert (arid region).

Homophones (same spelling, same pronunciation, different meaning): skate (glide on ice), skate (fish); rose (flower), rose (past tense of rise).

Heterographs (different spelling, different meaning, same pronunciation): to, too, two, and there, their, they’re; read (peruse), reed (waterside plant).

Language! Ya gotta love it.

Research Site

 
14 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Etymology, Grammar, research, writers, writing craft

 

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14 responses to “Commit or Commit

  1. Liz Fredericks

    September 10, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    I’ve forgotten so much from my mother’s English classes . . . thank you for the refresher . . . I’m with you – love the nuances of language.

     
  2. Janis McCurry

    September 10, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    So…sew…sow do I!

     
  3. Clarissa Southwick

    September 10, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Janis,
    You totally fooled me with this blog. When I started reading it, I thought you were going to tell us that people who commit to writing will eventually need to be committed. That would have been an entirely different post. LOL. Thanks for a great reminder.

     
  4. Janis McCurry

    September 10, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Yew…you are welcome!

     
  5. stephanieberget

    September 10, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Great blog. I’d never heard of some of these. Great post.

     
  6. Peggy Staggs

    September 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I think I’m one of those that Gail talked about, a committed writer who needs to be committed.
    We have a very complicated language. I’m glad I don’t have to learn it as a second language.
    Fun information.

     
    • Janis McCurry

      September 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      I know, no it would be hard to learn from scratch!

       
  7. Meredith Allen Conner

    September 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    I had the same thoughts as Gail and Peggy. Knowing your love of language I should have guessed otherwise 🙂 I had no idea about all of the subsets. Thanks Janis.

     
  8. Janis McCurry

    September 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    You’re welcome. They’re, there more complex than I first thought.

     
  9. Judith Keim

    September 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I loved the blog, Janis! Words have always been fascinating to me. I pity the poor person whose second language is English which is in my opinion the most difficult of all. Thanks for the good thyme or is it time?

     
  10. Janis McCurry

    September 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I like both. Does thyme grow on boughs, bows?

     
  11. maryvine

    September 10, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Good blog post, Janis. I do some of these things with the kids at school. I wish they were as fun for them as they are for us.

     
  12. Janis McCurry

    September 11, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    I agree. It’s too bad the actual study of language is not emphasized as much as in the past/passed. 😉

     

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