Thursday, May 28, 2009

Semantically Speaking

Ed and I always argue over exactly what particular words mean. Why would they say this, when they actually meant that? Did I just hear what I think I heard?? Is that woman aware of the double meaning of that word when used in that context? That kind of thing.

It's kind of like a joke I recently heard:

"What was the dirtiest thing ever said on television?"

"Ward, you were very hard on the Beaver last night."

Ba-dum-bum. One word, two meanings. But sometimes, there are two different words with essentially the same meaning.

Today while in Houston, we passed a sign for Bush Intercontinental Airport and Ed said, "What's the difference between Intercontinental and International?" Not because he didn't know the difference in what the words meant, but just wondering out loud why someone would choose one over the other. For example, what's the difference between Bush Intercontinental Airport and JFK International Airport, beside their location?

I said, "I don't know. I guess because one means 'between nations' and the other means 'between continents'."

"So if you're flying to a nation, can't it mean you're also flying to a continent?" he said.

"Well, assuming they're talking about places, not people, sure. I mean, a nation could be a group of people or a tribe, like the Cherokee Nation, and you can't fly into a group of people. As for a place, most nations are on continents, so yeah, I guess it could mean both. But for instance, if you're flying from Canada to Mexico, they are different nations but on the same continent, so you'd only be flying internationally, not intercontinentally. Is that even a word, intercontinentally?" I said.

"Maybe they want to give the illusion that they are more worldly," he said, "hence the "intercontinental" thing. But I think you'd have to connect through another airport anyway before flying to another continent, so technically they aren't "intercontinental" at all on their own, but they are when you consider you can get to another continent by starting out at their airport." he said.

"Oh my God, I don't even think I know what the hell you just said, and I don't think anyone has ever talked as long as we have on this subject. I just wish they would have given more consideration to the name they gave it. "George Bush" just screams incompetence. Why would anyone want to fly out of there? Something is bound to get screwed up."


"I'll wait for the Obamaport to open, thank-you-very-much."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He Fought The Ed And The Ed Won
Electric Fence
You’re Such A Pansy!!
4 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post from 5/28/05


Don Olney said...

I agree --- Cheryl and I are always commenting on signs. Her most common response to me is "You know what they meant" to which I respond - "Then why didn't they say that?" A little over a year ago, I had an entry about a sign we saw in Washington, DC --- "George Bush Center for Intelligence" In all fariness, both the "George Bush Center for Intelligence" and the "Bush Intercontinental Airport" were probably named for George Bush senior who was in retrospect a lot smarter than his kid!

I'd drive quite a distance to fly out of "Obamaport"!

Evil Pixie said...

Good point about word choice. I find it very scary when a thesaurus falls into the wrong hands.