Fall­ing foul of ‘mo­ron’

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION -

Fadzi­lah Amin ad­dresses read­ers’ queries on gram­mar and lan­guage use.

COULD you please tell me if “mo­ron” is is a foul word? I have heard it be­ing used on teenage shows on TV and if it is a foul word, why isn’t it censored? My child used the word once in school and her friends kept in­sist­ing it was a foul word and re­ported it to the school teacher. –Acon­cerned­par­ent The word “mo­ron” is of­ten used as an in­sult­ing word, like the word “stupid” or “id­iot”. But these words are nei­ther swear words nor ob­scen­i­ties, and so I wouldn’t call “mo­ron” a foul word. Al­though I wouldn’t en­cour­age chil­dren to use it, cen­sor­ing it would be too dras­tic in my opin­ion.

The word “mo­ron” was orig­i­nally adopted from the Greek in 1910 by the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion for the Study of the Fee­ble-minded, and given the mean­ing of “an adult per­son hav­ing a mental age of be­tween eight and twelve.” (Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary) So, it was a purely de­scrip­tive term that has acquired an in­sult­ing mean­ing over the years. I’VE al­ways won­der how to write my name when sub­mit­ting a the­sis. Some peo­ple got it wrong and so their names are listed wrongly now. For peo­ple with western names, it is easy as their fam­ily names are at the end. For ex­am­ple, John Michael Richards would be writ­ten as Richards, J. M. My full name is Natalia Grace Pang May Hong. How do I cite my name? – Natal­i­aPang

If your name were to ap­pear in a bib­liog- ra­phy con­tain­ing your book, it would usu­ally ap­pear with your fam­ily name first, fol­lowed by ini­tials of your given (i.e. per­sonal names). I have been told that a Chi­nese given name, al­though con­sist­ing of two words, usu­ally means one thing, e.g. “beau­ti­ful jade”. If that is cor­rect, you might want to hy­phen­ate the ini­tials of “May Hong” to M-Y. So your name would ap­pear as:

Pang, N.G. M-H or Pang, M-H. N.G. depend­ing on whether you want to use your Western names or your Chi­nese name first.

If you want to write your name in full and not want Western read­ers to think that your fam­ily name is “Hong”, you might want to write it as:

Natalia Grace May-Hong Pang or May-Hong Natalia Grace Pang

A Westerner would then cor­rectly con­clude that “Pang” is your fam­ily name (or sur­name). HOW do we pro­nounce “New Delhi” cor­rectly? I be­lieve it should be pro­nounced as “Delly” or “Dilly” but def­i­nitely not “Del-Hee,” as most of the lo­cal news­cast­ers pro­nounce it. – Nasir I asked some In­dian friends, and they all agree with you that the “h” in “Delhi” should not be pro­nounced. WHAT’S the mean­ing of “I’ll get you good.”?

I’ve also heard “I’ll get you hot” in song lyrics. What do they mean? – Ah­mad In Amer­i­can speech, “good” is of­ten used as an ad­verb to mean “well”. In the song “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” (=I’m Go­ing to Get You Good) as sung by Sha­nia Twain, how­ever, the word “good” is given a stronger mean­ing. “I’ll getcha (get you) good” means “I’ll get you to be well and truly mine.” Some of the lines in the song sup­port this in­ter­pre­ta­tion:

“Don’t wantcha for the week­end, don’t wantcha for a night

I’m only in­ter­ested if I can have you for life, yeah ...

You can bet your bot­tom dol­lar, in time you’re gonna be mine Just like I should – I’ll getcha good” In con­trast, “I’ll get you hot” seems to have a more limited mean­ing, e.g. in the song “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. Here it means “I’ll get you to want me phys­i­cally.” I won’t be more ex­plicit than this, since we prob­a­bly have some very young read­ers. I’ve also looked at lyrics of other songs with this ex­pres­sion, and it means the same thing in all of them. IN the fol­low­ing sen­tences, what is the cor­rect word or­der? a. Do you know where is the toi­let? b. Do you know where the toi­let is? c. Do you know what is phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion?

d. Do you know what phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion is? – Ni­cholas The cor­rect way to ask a ques­tion be­gin­ning with “Do you know ...” (or “Can you tell me...”) can be found in Sen­tences b) “Do you know where the toi­let is?” and d) “Do you know what phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion is?”

In such ques­tions, the verb in the sec­ond clause (“is” in both cases) comes af­ter the sub­ject of this clause (“the toi­let” in b. and “phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion” in d.), as it would in a state­ment. If “do you know” is re­moved and the ques­tions be­come “Wh”ques­tions, the verb comes be­fore the sub­ject: Where is the toi­let? What is phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion?

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