Wednesday, September 01, 2004


I have been neglecting my plaphora and it deserves to be etherised. This is how plaphora came to be.

I was talking to an American friend who speaks Portuguese but needs to practice. It was one of those bilingual conversations involving 3 people. I think it was smack in the middle of an insomnia bout - the problem with insomnia is that your synapses are the first to go and you end up with a fair amount of amnesia surrounding different periods of your life even if you were sleeping during some of them. So have a care.

Another problem is that whenever I start speaking several languages at once something always goes awry (yet another funny thing is that there are words I use but have never heard spoken. Say, “albeit”. Because of German, I convinced myself it’s pronounced “I’ll bite” - instead of “al-be-it”. Imagine my dismay and the listener’s glee. But that’s a whole different post). I will sometimes use a word from one language with the accent of another and be very surprised when I’m blankly stared at. I find myself thinking in English often even when I’m alone (i.e. no visitors) but the mental verbal transition sometimes create problems. Wires get crossed and I find myself saying the most astonishing things. Even in Portuguese, which is beyond humiliating since I can’t stand native speakers badly speaking their languages (When foreigners do it it’s cute - except for when I’m the foreigner, then we’re back to the pride issue again).

So we were in the car and - we’ve just entered another fuzzy area, please bear with me - and I was trying to translate a word for her, I think. It came out as a cross between “plétora” (plethora) and “metáfora” (metaphor). PLAPHORA. (Accent on “pla”. Obviously.)

It immediately came of age on its own and we watched it soar. I wiped a discreet tear. And now I can say the whole thing is plaphora [nonsense, distasteful, unpleasant]. I can curse the blasted plaphorisms one hears on occasion. I’m plaphored at times [disgusted, outraged, hurt, devastated]. Funnily enough, Thesaurus is not convinced - and that is a bit plaphorous, wouldn't you say?

It works in English + French + German/Dutch + Scandinavian languages, I should think (Plaphora; to plaphor + plaforer + plaphoren/ + need help); Portuguese (Pláfora; plaforar) + Spanish (Plafora; idem) + Italian (idem; plaforare); and even Hebrew (plaforah; Le'hitplafer)!

Isn’t it the most excellent little word???

NOTE: plaphora has been copyrighted along with whole blog. You're very welcome to use it, but if you appropriate it, I'll hurt you badly in every sense of the word - and you'll be plaphored before you know it. Ha.

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At 3/9/04 11:32, Blogger notgeert said...

You know,

i'm plaphored with your discovery. The world would be a much more plaphorial place if only your word caught on. I think it's the beginning of the universal language that will no doubt one day replace all the plaphoring languages.

As for the tortoise, I think he's ok. You're right, they're not exactly catastrophe-proof (in fact, I'm surprised that 2 even made it to Noah's ark) but you have to meet The Dude... he's the Steve McQueen of tortoises.

Thanks for the many comments :)
fika bem,

At 3/9/04 12:51, Blogger The Lioness said...

See??? "Plaphorial" hadn't crossed my mind and I like it! Thanks. And goed-gedaan! (I see it as my responsability to help you prepare for your future.)


PS - Glad Dude is alright. I thought you attended a British school. Shoudln't he be called "chap"?

At 7/9/04 03:09, Blogger brooksba said...

Hello Lioness!

I enjoyed your post about "plaphora". This is great! I wish I knew Portuguese (I hope I'm correct in which language some of your posts are in. If I'm wrong, please correct me). I understand the mixing up languages. I took German and Spanish in high school (unfortunately too long for me to be good at either anymore) and I got a few answers wrong on tests for translating into the wrong language.

Combining words can be a ton of fun and good for a laugh. My favorite right now is Dana's "vant" which is a cross between a rant and a vent. I will start using plaphora in speech to help the word catch on!

Do you mind if I post a link to your site on my blog? I'd love to add this site there for others to read.


At 7/9/04 05:31, Blogger The Lioness said...

Would I mind a link to sites where I've spent so many hours today... Give me a few days to think it over - of course i wouldn't! All things considered, you really are the generous kind. (vant and plaphora get on like a house on fire, maybe we should should consider carpooling)(yes, it's Portuguese.)

At 7/9/04 15:41, Blogger CarpeDM said...

Hi. I want to link to you as well, if that would be alright. Word fun is always exciting. This is a cool word and I will start using it as well. My viewpoint is if bling-bling (stupid, stupid word that makes absolutely no sense) can make it into the dictionary, vant and plaphora should be next.

At 7/9/04 16:25, Blogger The Lioness said...

Go right ahead! And how about them "bootylicious"?

At 14/10/04 01:12, Blogger Viscondessa said...

Aid for the memory-impaired insomniac: the birth of a new word is an extraordinary thing. So I will do my best to flesh out the tale.

Pláfora (which I spell using correct Portuguese orthography, please note) was born on a hot night in July, when said American friend [insert hand wave here] pronounced "metáfora" with the accent on the wrong syllable. And then you and _______ instantly corrected me, and all three of us began thinking of other words that end with "ora" in Portuguese. And then... after plétora... somehow... in a fit of brilliance whose source remains shrouded in deep late-night haze, though it certainly bears your stamp -- and yes, it was an insomnia phase for both of us, well after 2 AM in the car on the way back to that place on the R. Roshashanah Gusmãoim -- PLÁFORA was born. It has not yet been unveiled on this continent, except via your blog's extraordinary reach. I will rectify this as soon as possible.

My personal favorite is the adjectival form: "O Miguel é tão plaforoso!"

At 14/10/04 01:57, Blogger The Lioness said...

"whose source remains shrouded in deep late-night haze"

HAVE YOU GONE MAD???? I DID invent it, of that I AM sure! Let there be no mistake, I'm terribly proud of my plaphora and will not have its origins shrouded in bloody hazes! Roshashanah Gusmãoim, oy, how I miss thee.


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