Wednesday, December 21, 2005

UGH. English.

A lady in one of my writing groups used the word "unthaw" in her story the other day. The context in which it was used meant to "unfreeze" or "thaw", and I thought "unthaw" couldn't possibly mean the same thing as "thaw" could it?

It could.

From Dictionary.com:

unthaw

v : become or cause to become soft or liquid

thaw

v. intr.
1. To change from a frozen solid to a liquid by gradual warming.


Huh.

I started to think back to when my daughter watched Between the Lions. There was a regular segment about the "evil 'un' people" and the heroic "'re' people". The evil un people would swoop in and mess things up:

The evil "un" people came to Katie's birthday party and untied her balloons, unfrosted her cake and uninvited her friends.

Everything was sad and lonely until the heroic "re" people arrived!

The 're-people' retied her balloons, refrosted her cake and reinvited her friends. And they all lived happily ever after.

So I thought... what if the evil "un" people arrived to the North Pole and wanted to destroy Christmas?

The evil "un" people flew up to the North Pole and unthawed the snow. It all melted and Santa's reindeer were useless, Santa's gingerbread house was in danger of spoiling and the Christmas spirit was gone. Then the heroic "re" people arrive!! (dum-dum-dum!) And they rethawed the snow. And nothing happened. They all sat around in the unfrozen north and scratched their heads wondering what had happened to their super-re-power.

I homeschool my daughter, and it's things like this that make teaching English oh-so much fun.

I know there are other words out there like this. Anyone want to share?

Addendum:

I thought of another one.

loose

To let loose; release. To make loose; undo.

un·loose

To unfasten; untie. To set free from or as if from restraints.

2 comments:

Judy said...

When I lived in Brazil, I found this a lot teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). Some common difficulties for the students were: put it up/put it down; fill in/fill out (as in paperwork); slow up/slow down. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them just this minute.

Jeanne said...

irregardless (yech!)
debrief
debone
unravel