That’s my prerogative

I came across the Princes in the Tower on my way to a rendezvous with prerogative. While proofing a story, I came across the word “prerogative, “which had been spelled “perogative”

I came across the Princes in the Tower on my way to a rendezvous with prerogative. While proofing a story, I came across the word “prerogative, “which had been spelled “perogative”.

Based on previous encounters with this oddly spelled word, I knew I had to check to ensure it did indeed have that funny silent “R” at the beginning. So, I turned to my trusty, thick, hardcover Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which sits like a language sentry on a side table in my office, a quick step-and-a-half from my desk. The option to remain seated and use my fingers to visit any number of dictionary websites was there. It’s always there.

However, rising from my chair, taking that step-and-a-half and picking up the hefty Oxford is very comforting.

Turning the firm cover and running my finger down the side until finding the letter I need, and feeling the weight of the pages bypassed crash down with a thud is reassuring, a habit that remains even as books continue to be endangered in this Internet/iPod/iPad/bit torrent/ebook world.

On this day, I was on my way to “prerogative” when I flipped those familiar pages and they flopped with that familiar thud — and I came eye-to-text with the Princes in the Tower.

I had flipped just past my destination and the five words — Princes in the Tower — jumped out at me.

I read the definition and was intrigued enough to find out more about this fascinating case that may or may not have been a Royal Family-inspired double child murder in 1483. In a nutshell: Princes Edward and Richard may have been slain in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard III, who wanted them dead to ensure he held onto the throne.

The point here is I would never have come across this intriguing story had I remained seated and simply clicked on a dictionary website.

As the world changes at a dizzying pace, all staid old Oxford can do is take note — and it has with the addition of words that, a decade ago, were gibberish. Oxford has added “retweet,” “sexting,” “jeggings” and “woot,” among others, as the English language continues to evolve (or regress, as some would lament).

Whether words can be considered words is left to the folks at Oxford and Merriam-Webster. A decade or so ago, I began compiling a notebook with words for which I wanted to know the origin. I also began a collection of words that are not words, yet should be, in my humble opinion. If the 26 letters of our alphabet can be rearranged by someone to make a word deemed acceptable by someone else, why can’t I declare a word official, regardless of whether Oxford or Webster agree?

So was born “dilemmascent,” a word I felt perfectly described a person prone to misfortune. I liked it so much I used it once, in an editorial, with nary a grammarian raising an objection.

As my dear old dad would say, with conviction: “Irregardless, it’s your perogative and I know what the hell you’re trying to say.”

-Chris Foulds is the editor of Kamloops This Week.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm firefighters sound sirens in support of hospital staff

Fire chief hopes to have more emergency responders involved in upcoming parade

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Ebus suspends services in Alberta and B.C. in response to COVID-19

Bus company asking residents to stay safe at home

Gleaners give surplus produce, North Okanagan gratefully fed

Trailer full of goods scooped by community amid COVID-19

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Friends of Dorothy’s drag queens deliver food in support of Kelowna’s first responders

The lounge is donating $5 from every order to first responders

Update: Coquihalla re-opens, after incident requiring a medevac

DriveBC warns of continued congestion and delays

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

LETTER: Flights from infected countries should be banned

There is no excuse to allow those from infected countries to keep coming to B.C.

Most Read