My quick Saturday jaunt to Schotts Vocab contest on the New York Times online led to my chuckling over the reader contest submissions…one of which linked to this brilliant piece of vocabularic wit. Located in the July 1994 issue of the New Yorker, this short piece by Jack Winter is entitled “How I Met My Wife” . Winter masterfully switched our common usages of negatives and positive statements to match the neologisms (Oxford English Dictionary- Neologism: The coining or use of new words or phrases). In this case, the author changes the prefixes and suffixes of words we commonly use to imply the opposite of accepted meanings. It is fun in itself to figure out the original word that he has re-formed.
Had author Jack Winter written this is in a normal fashion, it would be a yawner, however, neologisms cause us, the readers to twist our brains around the reconfigured words and their definitions and inherently make us question why some words are the way they are and why their true linguistic opposites don’t exist in the English language. If you enjoy laughing, and think wordplay is one of the entertaining forms of “nerdplay”, just click and ENJOY!