Spanking the Pomegranate – The Triumph of #Communication


I cannot speak for other languages as I do not know any others fluently, (unless you are including Dlalth, but since that is one I made up myself for my story Dark Fey, it really doesn’t count) but the English language is a curious thing. Have you ever noticed how often we say things that mean something entirely different from what we are actually trying to say? Our slang is chock full of examples. (such as the one I just used.) Chock? How does a word that means to block or stop something from moving; a ships fitting or cable, or an anchor or brace, end up in an expression that means completely full? Even Wiktionary cannot say for sure.

I loved the Linguistics class I had in high school; learning all about words, phrases, slang and etymology; what’s not to like, really? For someone (like me) who spent their free time constructing grammatically correct, compound, complex sentences worthy of praise from Charles Dickens and then diagramming them (correctly, I might add!) just for fun; explaining that I enjoyed the systematic study of (the English) language is like saying Mr. Spock is Logical or Hobbits have hairy feet. It’s a given.

The variety of vernacular that exists, depending on the region (or country) you live in is truly amazing or, one might say, is enough to make your head spin or leave you gobsmacked. As I have lived in several distinctly different areas of the country (that country being the US) I’ve picked up more than a few catch phrases (although how I picked up an inanimate object and what exactly said object was catching I am by no means sure).

In South Central Pennsylvania, where I presently reside, there are a plethora of colloquialisms derived from the Pennsylvania Dutch community that are peculiar enough to make anyone who is not from the area stare at you like you just started speaking Klingon should you happen to use one. For example, if you are embarrassed about something you Feel Your Nerve. If you cannot sit still you are Ruchy. If you want me to move down lower in my chair or make room for you on the park bench you would ask me to Ruch Down or Ruch Over. Similarly, the milk bottle is not empty, It’s All, and you don’t turn off the light, you Make Out The Light.

When I lived in the South (Alabama to be exact, which was an experience worthy of its own bizarre post) I swore left and right (although I never actually turned my head) that I would not be Fixin’ or Reckon’ anything. Nevertheless, I often found myself saying things like It’s Fixin’ to Rain, which means It’s Getting Ready to Rain, or It’s Fixin’ to Get It, which means Things are About to Get a Little Crazy. Fixin’ simply means Getting Ready, unless, of course, you say I’m Fixin’ to Get Ready, which, literally translated, would mean you are Getting Ready to Get Ready, but in reality it means you are already Ready to Do whatever it is you are going to do. Confused yet? I Reckon’!

(Disclaimer to my friends across the pond: As I am not British, {a tragedy I will forever lament}, I believe I understand the proper use of the following examples of British slang, but should I be mistaken, please do feel free to correct me)

In America we say Ta! when we mean Goodbye and Cheers! when we mean Thank you; however in England they say Cheers! when they mean Goodbye and Ta! when they mean Thank You. In America we ask if someone is All Right? when we are concerned over their health or state of being; however in England saying All Right? to someone is like saying Hi, How are you? And if someone in England said to me Give Us a Bell, being American, I would raise a delicately arched brow and hand them a bell, when what they really mean is they want me to call them (or ring them) on the telephone. Perplexed? Me too!

The differences in our own language are endless and with all these intricacies, dialects, regional connotations, and interpretations about (or around, depending) not to mention slang usage and hyper-text abbreviations, it is a miracle that we understand each other at all. So the next time you (or I) labor for hours masterfully interweaving descriptors, plot, characters, research, and good old fashioned fancy into something post-worthy; yet it ends up sparking only minimal interest (or the editor/publisher requests an absurd number of rewrites), take heart! Even if only a handful of readers ultimately respond, you can still consider it a triumph of communication in a sea of chaff.

OH….any for those of you who were lured in by the double-entendre of this post’s title, Spanking the Pomegranate is simply a culinary term used for liberating those delectable little jewels of sweetness from the otherwise inconsequential husk of the fruit.

Beautiful Photograph found on pinterest


  1. Language, both formal and colloquial, is so interesting–especially that cornucopia we call English–that I have a hard time understanding why my students are so smugly uninterested in it, and so blind to its pictorial richness.
    “My hair needs washed” is my favorite Pennsylvania-ism (college in Carlisle).
    My family all says “rutch,” or, as I imagined the spelling, “wrutsch,” to mean scrunchily shift over on the fanny, pretty much what you have defined for “ruch.” (MY spelling, “wrutsch,” LOOKS most like the action…) We used to rutch down the stairs when we were little. Straight from Germany to New Jersey for all of our grandparents, and the family stayed in New Jersey, so I’d think it was from German, although a browse through my Cassell’s doesn’t give me much except Rüche meaning “ruffle,” which I can sort of imagine being related. Works with the Pennsylvania Dutch connection. How interesting! I thought, actually, it was a “family word,” kind of like the “mossakins” worn in our family and the “pisketti” eaten with tomato sauce and meatballs, both terms based on children’s mispronunciations and used joyfully ever after.


    1. I actually could have devoted the entire post just to the things the PA Dutch say, there are so many colourful examples.
      Interesting that you are a teacher (Of English, perchance?) Something I always wanted to do, but never did 😦


  2. Must read..since it is only 5 months “til Christmas eve…the Pa.Dutch version of The Night Before book stores..can’t remember who wrote it???


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