Facetiation
Posted: 11 July 2018 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I started reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire and as anticipated I immediately encountered a rather esoteric word.  I understand that Nabokov has a fondness for rather obscure words. 

I was not yet used to the rather fatiguing jesting and teasing that goes on among American intellectuals of the inbreeding academic type and so abstained from telling John Shade in front of all those grinning old males how much I admired his work lest a serious discussion of literature degenerate into mere facetiation.  *Bold emphasis added

I could not find facetiation in any of the online dictionaries, but I did find it on wordnik:  “n. The making of fun; the subjection of a matter to facetious treatment.”

I also found it on my print edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary second edition.

Facetiation: “A making of facetious comment or of pleasantries.”
It is not in the third edition.

OED does not have an entry, but does have a similar noun, facetiae with a similar definition, but also used rarely.

I can think of many reasons why these words are becoming obsolete: the disappearance of Latin instruction in schools, the emphasis on contemporary literature. There are many great contemporary novels, but the classics are where most of the challenging words lie.

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Posted: 12 July 2018 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It seems to me that the more pedestrian and less pretentious “facetiousness” would do. Has the advantage of being easier to pronounce and 4 rather than 5 syllables.

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Posted: 12 July 2018 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Oecolampadius - 12 July 2018 08:39 AM

It seems to me that the more pedestrian and less pretentious “facetiousness” would do. Has the advantage of being easier to pronounce and 4 rather than 5 syllables.

I agree, but the words have slightly different meanings. Also, facetiousness, as with many multi-syllabic words, is becoming obsolete in today’s text-obsessed society.

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Posted: 12 July 2018 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Also, facetiousness, as with many multi-syllabic words, is becoming obsolete in today’s text-obsessed society.

Corpora searches show a slight decrease in the use of facetiousness since 2000, although the base is very low and the law of small numbers kicks in. One or two less uses is a big swing, so it may not indicate any real decrease at all, just random fluctuation.

And study after study has shown that texting does not negatively impact verbal abilities. The opposite seems to be true. Those who text a lot tend to have the greatest verbal facility. But that’s not causation, only correlation. It may be people who text a lot do it because they’re good with words.

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Posted: 15 July 2018 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And study after study has shown that texting does not negatively impact verbal abilities.

That’s debatable, multi-syllabic words are rarely, if ever, used in texting. When people abbreviate all the time they lose the ability to formulate coherent, meaningful thought or conversations. Also, excessive texting negatively affects a teens ability to effectively communicate face to face.  Those studies go either way, but there is a predominant consensus that texting has a negative influence on language skills.

Those who text a lot tend to have the greatest verbal facility.

Again, that’s very debatable, as studies have shown and it seems the negatives of texting outweigh the positives.  I’ve provided a link below on a study that counters your claim.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216165751.htm

It may be people who text a lot do it because they’re good with words.

Or they’re too lazy, or incapable or writing a complete sentence.

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Posted: 15 July 2018 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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That’s debatable,

No it’s not. You link to a news article that describes a master’s thesis (not a peer-reviewed study) that surveyed university students about their texting habits and then presented them with “new words.” (What is meant by “new words” is not clear.) It then found that students who said they texted a lot were less likely to accept the new words as legitimate than students who read a lot of print media. I’m not sure what’s being compared here because texting frequency and reading print media are two independent variables. (One can text a lot and read print media or vice versa.) Also, studies that rely on self-reported surveys are always suspect. One thing is clear, though: the study does not measure verbal ability.

As a rule, cite the study rather than the reporting of the study because most science journalism is crap. This article is a case in point. It does not adequately explain what the study actually did.

On the other hand there is this:

Chantal N. van Dijk, Merel van Witteloostuijn, Nada Vasić, Sergey Avrutin, and Elma Blom. ”The Influence of Texting Language on Grammar and Executive Functions in Primary School Children.” PlosOne, 31 March 2016, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0152409.

Abstract:

When sending text messages on their mobile phone to friends, children often use a special type of register, which is called textese. This register allows the omission of words and the use of textisms: instances of non-standard written language such as 4ever (forever). Previous studies have shown that textese has a positive effect on children’s literacy abilities. In addition, it is possible that children’s grammar system is affected by textese as well, as grammar rules are often transgressed in this register. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to investigate whether the use of textese influences children’s grammar performance, and whether this effect is specific to grammar or language in general. Additionally, studies have not yet investigated the influence of textese on children’s cognitive abilities. Consequently, the secondary aim of this study was to find out whether textese affects children’s executive functions. To investigate this, 55 children between 10 and 13 years old were
tested on a receptive vocabulary and grammar performance (sentence repetition) task and various tasks measuring executive functioning. In addition, text messages were elicited and the number of omissions and textisms in children’s messages were calculated. Regression analyses showed that omissions were a significant predictor of children’s grammar performance after various other variables were controlled for: the more words children omitted in their text messages, the better their performance on the grammar task. Although textisms correlated (marginally) significantly with vocabulary, grammar and selective attention scores and omissions marginally significantly with vocabulary scores, no other significant effects were obtained for measures of textese in the regression analyses: neither for the language outcomes, nor for the executive function tasks. Hence, our results show that textese is positively related to children’s grammar performance. On the other hand, use of textese does not affect—positively nor negatively—children’s executive functions.

There are dozens of other peer-reviewed studies that show the same thing. Texting is positively correlated with verbal ability. That is beyond dispute.

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Posted: 15 July 2018 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There’s also David Crystal’s Txtng: the Gr8 Db8, Oxford UP, 2009. It’s a bit old, but very readable. It clearly lays out the evidence for how texting is positively correlated with verbal ability.

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Posted: 16 July 2018 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Only marginally relevant, but this thread, and all the hoo-ha about textese affecting children’s reading ability, reminds me irresistibly of a short story printed in Puffin Post in the late 1960s.  (Was anyone else here a Puffineer then? For the uninitiated, Puffin Books, the children’s imprint of Penguin, started a ‘Puffin Book Club’ in 1967.)

It concerned an orphan boy in the horse-racing community working as a bookie’s runner, who is finally corralled by the authorities and sent to school. He has never previously had any kind of education and as he is assumed to be (and believes himself to be) totally illiterate, the school starts him on ‘T-H-E C-A-T S-A-T O-N T-H-E M-A-T, etc., and he simply can’t make head or tail of it.  But actually he has known for years how to decipher a race-card - text such as ‘Ch. f, Nov Hcap Hur, going hvy‘: he just doesn’t associate this skill in any way with the ‘reading’ that the school are trying to teach him. Then one day he hears someone read aloud the beginning of a story that really grips him - I think it’s Treasure Island - but for whatever reason doesn’t go on with the reading. Frustrated, he picks up the book - and the penny drops that if he can only manage to tune out the stupid unnecessary symbols that some fool has stuck into all the words and concentrate on the ‘real’ letters, he can read them just fine. Cue the amazement of all his teachers when they find him deep in the doings of Blind Pew and Long John Silver.

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