|“Paper Clip, is it kitty-corner or catty-corner?”|
This regional identification clarifies the confusion between my friend and I. I’m from Chicago – deeply embedded in the Midwest, and she grew up along the East coast and has spent most of her adult life in Florida.
I also discovered that “cater” (not to be confused with present day meaning of supplying food or service for an event or banquet), led to the use of yet another word not common in our language today – catawampus — meaning crooked. If you think about it the evolution of “kitty-corner” or “catty-corner” all makes sense.
So what does all this mean? Several things:
- That our language and “slanguage” is complex. Can you imagine how terribly difficult it must be for learners of English as a Second Language to grasp all of this.
- That those four years of Latin I took at Queen of Peace high school in Burbank, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, continue to inspire me to uncover the origins of language. (See Sister Frances, I was paying attention to you!)
- And finally, that it doesn’t really matter how we say it, as long as our listener grasps our meaning.
Anyway, for me, I am staying true to the cultural norm of language behaviors that I learned from family, friends and the place I grew up. Just think about the kids of today and their use of language. See my post of a few weeks ago that talks about present-day lingo of young people.
To my friend, if you’re listening, I have to say, “That favorite spot in St. Augustine is ‘kitty-corner’ from The Columbia Restaurant!!”
For the rest of you, if I can help you sort out your manuscripts or other writing projects, let me know, I would be happy to help! Visit my website, find me on Facebook or just leave me a comment here. That’s all!!