Look. If Lewis Carroll (the author of the famous Alice in Wonderland books) could invent words such as chortle, galumphing and jabberwocky–words that have now become part of standard everyday usage–then I want my chance at immortality as well.
In that spirit, I offer the following term that evolved naturally out of a conversation with a female friend who is encountering some difficulty in making herself understood. Her opponent in this instance is a particularly implacable and arrogant male authority figure, but in truth this word has many useful applications and could work in any number of contexts.
Here, then, is the new coinage.
Ma-tron-ize |ˈmātrəˌnīz, ˈma-|
verb [requires an obj.]; feminine form of patronize, only better
- to treat with an exaggerated kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority
- to speak slowly, carefully and in very simple language when conversing with a complete and utter moron
- to accomplish the above with queenly dignity, grace and majesty
There’s my contribution to the English language. Long may it live.
Just remember you read it here first.
Here’s a little lesson in humility for the following:
* Every North American who sees no value in learning our own language well, let alone anyone else’s
* Every North American who makes fun of people who come from other countries and struggle to live in our country, learn our culture, and speak our language
Over the years, I have led numerous grammar “review” sessions at various colleges and universities where I’ve been a professor. These sessions cover the three major problem areas for most people:
3. Irregular verbs, especially transitive and intransitive (the biggies are lie vs. lay)
Did you notice how I put the word review in quotation marks? That’s because, for many of my students, it’s the first time they’ve ever heard it.
Of course there are other trouble spots. These are the main ones that lots of people get wrong, including many “professional” writers. Again, note my use of quotation marks.
In all my years of review sessions with hundreds of students, most of whom have come through our public K-12 schools, I have met only one student who already knew this material thoroughly — knew it so well, in fact, that he was able to stay one step ahead for most of the review session.
Want to know where he’s from?
*PS: If you caught all eight errors in my headline, then you are probably either: a) as frustrated as I am at the appalling state of language instruction in the United States; or b) foreign.