Rosie Right 

New Pleasures

One of the pleasures in working with words is watching the introduction of new terms to describe new thoughts. Each group, it seems, has its own way of expressing itself. We have all noticed the high-tech vocabulary, and teenagers have a way of introducing terms or of borrowing ours and giving them new meaning. Some of these neologisms will stay with us long enough to be included in future dictionaries.

An illustration: Melissa Scott Sinclair, Style's reporter who wrote a recent cover story about Richmond's homeless people (Jan. 8 ), sent the following to Rosie:

"We tend to think of the homeless as those who are entirely without — no house, no job, no prospects. However, finding oneself with no home often leads to great resourcefulness in making do with what's available. The vocabulary of the city's homeless reflects that.

"Abandominium: semipermanent living quarters, like an apartment, set up in an abandoned building;

"Slave pool or slabor pool: any of the companies in town that offer low-paying day jobs, such as construction-site cleanup or warehouse work;

"Smitty: a temporary shelter/lean-to constructed of found materials;

"Smitty city: a cluster of the above, like the camp that formerly existed behind 302 Canal St. when it was the headquarters of the Daily Planet."

On the other hand, there are sometimes new terms that, while expressive, are so grating (to Rosie's ear, at least) that she can hope they don't find a place in our language. One such example was in the Jan. 19 New York Times story "Troubled WTA Could Use a Savvy Boss, and Fast" by Christopher Clarey. In delineating the troubles of the WTA (the women's tennis tour), Clarey quoted the WTA's chief executive officer, Kevin Wulff, as saying, "… we're down the list in terms of monetizing the sport."

Please no more!

Let Rosie hear from you by mail, Style Weekly, 1707 Summit Ave, Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230; by telephonel, (804) 358-0825; or by e-mail, repps@styleweekly.com.

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