I love it when language is forced into unusual boxes, as anyone who's read my posts would guess. I enjoy 'verbing' nouns, and creating adverbial phrases that deliberately push against established structures. Don't get me wrong, I make no claims to be at the cutting edge of a language revolution - rather I have a sense of mischief and a wilful enjoyment of breaking the rules of grammar and spelling (both of which I can probably trace back to the liberal use of red pen on my work at school). I would also say that I am a bit of a sucker for the 'cool' and rebellious, and a shameless appropriator of new words and phrases - to the extent of being the sort of person who uses the latest yoof speak when clearly my 'yoof' is long gone. I also like puns. The worse the better. Sorry.
Anyway, the way in which language develops - through accident, design, evolution and disobedience is what gives it its energy. I love the rhythm of spoken language - with the variation of intonations and codes that spring from country, class, age and culture; the tapestry of delights that are woven into the patterns of what we speak. I even enjoy the way that punctuation can impart a sense of the timing and force of our breath into a sentence... or paragraph(s). Even that last little joke has options, if I'd chosen a hyphen instead of ellipsis, then the ending would've needed an exclamation mark to follow the imparted speed, whereas as written we have the very 'office-y' sense of embarrassment along with a hint of self awareness. All this multiplicity beats in the language we use, giving so many options for expression and delight.
All this is by way of attempting to find a way to celebrate my wife's brilliance with words - especially when tired, as last night. During a prolonged and over-tired conversation, while berating me for lying on top of the duvet and thus preventing her from snuggling into sleep, she brilliantly declared that the origin of the word 'cover' was a blending between the words of 'Caroline' and 'over'; and therefore asked what I was doing lying 'cunder' the bed.
Now, apart from the joy and absurdity of the coining of the new word, several things occurred. Firstly I love the paradox of using opposites - so 'over' is used when you are under something, and thus 'under' needs to be used to indicate you are on top. I also love the way that words can be justified in your own particular way. This definition of 'cunder' shows the way in which language can glitter, and also the laughter it can generate. I also love that etymology can be both a rigorous academic discipline and a valuable path for imagination and whimsy - which both brilliantly add to the history of language itself!
So, if you'll allow me some indulgence in my summing up? Paradoxical and perverse language tinkers with tautology to provide fractal pathways of delicate and delightful meanings.