Monday, April 14, 2014

What's in a word?

Frankie, Zorro and I are already lounging on the bed watching television.  We are anxiously awaiting the start of the new season of Mad Men.  In the meantime we are watching another of our favorite shows, in which the word 'pocketbook' was used.  The word slid right by me, but it sent Frankie into such a tizzy of giggles she almost fell off the bed.

Frankie:  "Pocketbook!  Pocketbook?"

By now she is laughing so hard she had missed the rest of the conversation, so that when she got herself under control I had to explain what a 'pocketbook' was.

Frankie:  (Gasping for breath.)  Seriously, what the heck is a 'pocketbook'?
Me:  "It's a woman's purse, a hand bag."
Frankie: "That's ridiculous!" 
Me:  "Maybe, but that's what a purse is called, especially around the New England states, although we used it a lot in Pennsylvania, too." 

Frankie at the time looked puzzled, and I was imagining her imagining a hardback novel sewed to a pocket from an article of clothing.  Come to think of it I began imagining the same thing myself.  That was ridiculous!  Then again, the word purse is kind of ridiculous as well. We purse our lips.  There's a racing purse, prize purse and boxing purse.  Purse can also be a surname.  "Hello, I'm Ms. Purse, who are you?"

I think we tend to forget that different sections of the country have different terms for things, and different pronunciations as well.  Since I'm originally from 'back east', I knew instantly what 'pocketbook' meant, and the word was simply part of the
sentence.  There are lots of other word peculiarities as well that we use every day.  For instance, Supper compared to Dinner.  Wellies to Rain Boots, Submarine Sandwiches, Poor Boys and Hoagies, Basement or Cellar, Slicker and Raincoat.  Bandana or a Babushka. Here we go to spend the day at the Coast, back east we would spend the day at the Beach. Oh, I could probably go on and on. 

Gee, now that I think about it, this is the kind of thing that make America great, and with Americans constantly on the move, more and more of these different/same words are going to move around as well.  I kind of like that idea.  If it had not been for a television show taped and broadcast from back east, Frankie never would have known was a 'pocketbook' is.

For now I will bid you all a Fond Farewell, Bye-bye, Adios, Adieu, Ciao, Ta-ta and Toodle-loo.

No comments:

Post a Comment