Miscellany - Movies and Wordplay · 9 February 2007
So I’m a bit behind, but the exciting news from last week was of course the official announcement of the publication date for the next Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, coming out July 21, 2007!!!!
This makes the upcoming summer officially full of goodies: the new Harry Potter book, the next Harry Potter movie, and the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie (official site not released yet). I might have died and gone to the swashbuckling fantasy lover’s magical drawbridge flying-galleon in the sky.
Speaking of ambiguity, (We were? Of course we were, look at that last sentence and tell me what you think it means.) I unfortunately missed linguistics class last night due an annoying bout of sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, and other unpleasant side effects of sickness that made me think staying at home was probably the nicest thing I could do for my classmates. I was really looking forward to this lecture, because we’re knee deep in the section about grammar and ambiguity in language.
Ambiguity is one of my favorite devices to muck around with. By writing things in ways that can have more than one meaning, you offer the reader an opportunity to personalize their interpretation of your writing. You also leave room for the writing itself to metamorphize into something more than your original intention. I think it’s one of the great tricks of language that we can convey things that are full of meanings we didn’t even intend.
The main character of the book I just read, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, does not appreciate this facet of language at all. Christopher Boone is autistic and he appreciates things that are exactly the way they appear.
Luckily for me, there are others who appreciate a good bout of ambiguity and are willing to indulge in wordplay. If you’re feeling the urge yourself and need plans for the weekend, try out a few of these literary activities.
- Listen to A Way With Words via National Public Radio or podcast. A fun filled program that champions banter as the key to solving language’s mysteries.
- Play Huggermugger a classic language trivia/puzzle/word game. Unfortunately out of print, but worth poking around the web for a good used copy, this game is a favorite of my family.
- Investigate (as I hope to be doing) Accursed Lands, billed as a literary MUD (multi-user domain) where you can literally (pun intended) write you own destiny