Brothers Abroad brand

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MIS-SPEAKING by Victoria Coren (THE OBSERVER)

As you will have gathered from my recently mentioning Ms. Coren’s column
on David Beckham’s appearance in a print ad campaign for underwear, I
have become a big fan of the late Alan Coren’s daughter.

She was recently having some good fun at the expense of the former First
Lady Senator, when in mid-flow, she veered off on the following
linguistic tangent:

“An enthralling etymological debate is raging online regarding the
meanings of ‘misspeak’ in its original Old English form (‘to grumble’),
in Chaucer’s day (‘to speak insultingly’) and in 19th century America
(‘to speak unclearly or fail to tell the whole truth’).

But we all know what went on in Hillary’s case, don’t we? I’m not sure
there is a word that specifically means ‘embellishing an anecdote in
order to make oneself sound more interesting’, but we need a word for
that and ‘misspeak’ will do as well as any. (‘Embell-self-glamming’
would be more fun, but its construction sounds a little German. And the
Germans probably don’t do it. They’re more likely to need a word which
means ‘down-playing an anecdote in order to make oneself sound slightly
less efficient’ and I expect they’ve got one. Coined years ago, neatly
prepared in case of future-use-requirement’.)”

Posted by Dej on 12 Apr around 6pm

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