Monday, December 24, 2012

The Language of Happiness

Today is Christmas Eve, the day that seems 72 hours long to children awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and 90 minutes long to parents struggling with gifts for which "some assembly (is) required." It's the culmination of the Christmas Season, the week in which most people* are filled with good cheer and love of their fellow man, whom they despise the other 51 weeks of the year.

This year's Christmas Eve is a melancholy one. We're still mourning the children murdered in Connecticut and shaking our heads at the moral and political cowardice of our elected officials and die-hard single-interest groups. "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men" has been replaced by "Buy more guns because your fellow man may be a monster."

But it is, nevertheless, Christmas Eve, and so here at Bilbo's place we will endeavor to be happy in whichever ways large and small we are able. Like using happy language.

This article appeared in Mental Floss magazine on December 18th: 25 of the Happiest Words in English.  It discusses the results of a 2011 scholarly paper titled Positivity of the English Language. The Mental Floss article is better, because it saves you from wading through 21 pages of incomprehensible statistical analysis and confusing graphs, and because it reduces the list of 10,000 most frequently used words to a list of the top 19 "happy" words**. They are:















Won (the past tense of win, not the Korean currency***);



Rainbows; and,


You may note that the list is somewhat shorter if we combine various forms of some of the words (smile and smiled; win, won, and winning; laughter, laughed, laugh, laughing, and laughs; rainbow and rainbows; and happy and happiness). 

I should also note that one of the comments on the Mental Floss article suggested that the word poop be included on the list, because 

"... the word's got it all...palindrome, onomatopoeia, and its mirror image upside down spells boob, another happy word."

So ...

For one day ... just one day ... let's smile and laugh with pleasure as we have an excellent day full of joy and happy rainbows.

Okay, forget it. Even on Christmas Eve I can't get that sappy. How about good old peace on earth, goodwill toward men****? I don't think we can get happier and more hopeful***** than that.

 Have a good day. More seasonal thoughts tomorrow.


* Not, unfortunately, Congress.

** The article calls the list the top "20," but there are really only 19. The editor must have been on holiday.

*** Unless you are a member of the Korean top 1%.

**** Yes, it says "men," but it includes women, too. Gimme a linguistic break here.

***** "Hopeful" does not apply to Congress, which has proven itself to be beyond all hope.


Duckbutt said...

These words signify that we have a lot to be happy for, and share our happiness with others.

allenwoodhaven said...

Bilbo, you have often made me laugh and frequently made me smile with your blogs. You make the world a better place and should be happy about that. I know that I am.

Regarding ass clown of the year, I vote again for the head of the NRA for his standing by his asinine solution to the problem of gun violence.

Perhaps he thinks he can swing "the gun control nuts" by starting a new government program to give everyone over the age of 5 their very own firearm. They'd start with a derringer and trade it in as they got older culminating with an assault weapon as an adult and an RPG for seniors. Hey, the 2nd amendment means everyone can have anything, right?! (I hope no one takes this idea seriously; some ass clowns just might...)

That all said, Merry Christmas to all!!

Amanda said...

I'm still feeling serious - The words Win and Won imply that we can't be happy if we that wouldn't be any fun.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Bilbo, I wish you and Agnes much happiness and joy. You've blessed us with humor and friendship.

Marry Christmas.


Mike said...

Add joyful to the list and you're back to 20.