Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#154578 01/28/06 01:44 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,788
Carpal Tunnel
OP Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,788
I heard a traffic report on the radio, while I was driving to work this morning, in which it was announced that a stoplight in nearby Marysville was malcycling, causing a backup on city streets. To my prescriptivist shame, I knew what the reporter meant.

#154579 01/28/06 01:50 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,230
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,230
Is a brilliant coinage, imo. I'd never heard it before and instantly understood it, and recognised that no other single word exists for describing the process so precisely. Bravissimo/a to its originator.

#154580 01/28/06 02:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
Good of you to own up, Padre. I like it too -- analagous to malfunctioning.

#154581 01/28/06 06:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Quote:

To my prescriptivist shame, I knew what the reporter meant.




So, as a prescriptivist you object to the coining of useful and immediately understandable words?

#154582 01/28/06 11:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,788
Carpal Tunnel
OP Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,788
The use of novel words in speech
Does not merit criticism
Because one man's apparent breach
Is another's witicism.

All words were coinages at first:
The apt ones and the terrible.
The good are good; the worse are worst.
The latter are unbearable.

#154583 01/30/06 04:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 557
M
addict
Offline
addict
M
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 557
When the light unexpectedly changes in your favor, it must be benecycling.

#154584 01/30/06 05:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 3,467
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 3,467
OK. I'm gonna be a nitpicker here. Is there a difference between malfunctioning and nonfunctioning? Similarly, is there a difference between malcycling and noncycling?

To me, malfunctioning means it's working but it's not working correctly. Noncycling means it's totally dead. And a noncycling traffic light is IN THEORY better than a malfunctioning one, since the former is supposed to be treated as a four way stop sign.

But a malcycling traffic light could well be one that is randomly flashing red, amber, and green so it would be possible to have green in all directions at one time, which would, of course be much worse than a light that was not working at all. And while I, like Father Steve, had an immediate grasp of what was going on, now I'm not so certain that this particular coinage is at all helpful.

If a light is not working at all the broadcast traffic report could and should say, "The traffic signal at Walk and Dontwalk is completely out so all of you know that you need to treat that intersection as a four-way stop. Come to a complete stop and proceed carefully when it's certain you can do so without having an accident."

But if the light is malcycling in some other way, the warning should be entirely different: "Goodness folks, listen to this one closely. The traffic signal at Walk and Dontwalk has gone bananas. Sometimes it's red in all directions, sometimes it's green in all directions. Avoid that intersection if you can but if you can't be extremely careful."


TEd
#154585 01/30/06 06:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Up to now, I thought malcycling was the privilege of cyclists : they tend to view traffic ligths as an optional affair.

#154586 01/30/06 06:05 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
B
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
B
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 2,891
I would interpret malcycling as the timing being off on the lights.

As and example, I've been stopped at a light where the green light on one branch of the intersection is green for just a second or so, not enough time for a car to get through intersection, before it turns red again.

And just recently, near my home, the lights were cycling through green, yellow and red so quickly, a huge jam was created because people didn't know whose turn it was.

#154587 01/31/06 06:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 203
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 203
Quote:

So, as a prescriptivist you object to the coining of useful and immediately understandable words?




Ha! That's sooo Faldage! Love it!

As much as I love Father Steve's wry take on the world, and his endearing persistence with this whole prescriptivist thang (hey look... that's a word I picked that up here. Don't you love that? Thang. Thang, thang, thang! Feels good to say it! Thang! Like a twang of a guitar string!)


Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,907
Posts228,381
Members9,161
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Silverfox, Red_Canoe, Merchant7, crusoe66, TheFilthyOre
9,161 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 91 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
LukeJavan8 9,854
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2022 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5