…AND OTHER ROADBLOCKS IN WRITING!

Monthly Archives: January 2013

When people meet in person, by video conference, or by phone to discuss an issue and work toward a solution, this is dialogue. The same is true of a musical composition in which two or more parts seem like a conversation between instruments. However, as with the U.S. Congress, it seems the phrase dialogue of the deaf would be more apropos as it refers to a discussion in which each party is unresponsive to what the other says.

Setting aside my astute political observations, if you’re a writer or a curious reader (and why else would you be here?) you’ve seen this word for ‘character-speak’ both ways; dialogue and dialog. The dictionaries I’ve used have shown dialogue first, which means the preferred spelling, and dialog, the second choice. I thought the primary usage sounded French, because of the custom of les Francais of eschewing half the sounds of letters used to spell their words.

I was one-fourth correct in deciphering the word’s origins. Dialogue came to us in Middle English by way of Old French through Latin (dialogus) and before that, the Greek (dialogos).  Okay, you say, who cares about this stuff? I do. Etymology fascinates me as much as dialogue. During recovery from surgery, I once sat reading one of a two-volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary! Really. Considering that some versions of the OED are twenty volumes long, it  was slow going. I needed my glasses and the magnifying glass provided with the set. Needless to say, I recovered long before getting more than an inch through volume one!

My theory on dialog? It comes as a fast draw, shot straight form the American hip. Cut to the chase. Git ‘er done! Yankee conversation pattern: Yup. Nope. Why spend time on dialogue when dialog is all it takes? Mais oui! Yup. See what I mean? Consider FDR and his WPA, SSA, FDIC, FHA, etcetera (I mean etc.). Were Americans the first to come up with acronyms and abbreviations?

IMHO, you should delve into this and see what you come up with. While you’re at it, try your hand at acronyms, backronyms, and macronyms. Just try them out before you publish them. If one comes out like the German TV program Alles nur aus Liebe (All for Love) ANAL, you might want to rethink a bit.

Now that we have the blog title out of the way, we go on to WOWS y’next time! (Work On Writing Skills)

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