Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Off on a tandem

We were chatting about an out-of-town colleague that is due to visit the office shortly, where she will meet some of our branch coworkers for the first time. Donna and I have worked together before. It would be fair to say that she has a very distinct personality that sometimes disguises a heart of gold. We get on well, but I'm aware that some others don't.

Patricia filled in our new staff members: "The thing about Donna is she always comes up with these outrageous malapropisms. I used to point them out but now I wouldn't dare. She doesn't think they're funny at all!"

We laughed politely at Patricia's anecdote but our confused faces quickly gave way to a collective confession that none of us actually knew what a malapropism was, let alone what Donna was doing wrong.

Patricia elaborated: "Donna will say something like, 'the meeting was going really well and we talked about lots of good ideas, until Sophie brought up alternative funding. Next thing, they were off on a tandem!'"

Imagine the impeccable timing Sophie and her colleague must have to just hop on a nearby tandem mid-meeting and cycle away together! Does this happen often? Is the tandem kept on standby somewhere close, ready at a moment's notice if it is needed, we wondered? Or does one just appear out of thin air whenever Sophie and her coworkers sound like they might be about to ride off together?

Another malapropism that I have heard for years in the education world is Pacific, as in, "we need this project's objectives to be really Pacific." How delightful would that be? Imagine objectives that were entirely Pasifika-focused! It might be appropriate sometimes, but I don't think it's the word they're looking for. I find it really hard to keep a straight face when I hear professionals educators reminding people to make things Pacific.

What malapropisms make you laugh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine describing a really hard day: "We went heart out" (hard out) and another has just created a lovely outdoor area at her house, complete with a 'bomb-fire' :)