Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG
March 25th, 2009
Watch Your Accent



Written communication can be a real bugger.  Especially during a conflict.  While the written word is helpful by giving the writer time to sort out ideas and put them down in a well thought-out manner is beneficial, still, you can lose a lot when the words are delivered without the tone and pitch of your voice.


Here’s a good example, and you’ll see that the perspective and implication of the sentence changes when the accent is put on different individual words.


I didn’t kill my dog.


Ok, that should be straight forward enough, right?  When it’s written you really only have one perspective.  But if we were sitting across from one another at a table it could mean a few different things. You’ll get the best effect if you read the following sentences out loud:


*I* didn’t kill my dog.  …Ok.. you didn’t, but apparently somebody did because the implication is that the dog is definitely dead)


I *didn’t* kill my dog…. Ok, this is pretty straight forward.  You didn’t kill the dog.  Maybe the dog is missing, but one thing is sure, whatever happened to it you certainly didn’t kill it


I didn’t *kill* my dog …  Yikes. Well what did you do to it?  Just harassed it? Maimed it?  Tortured it?  Sick-o.


I didn’t kill *my* dog.  … Whose dog DID you kill?


I didn’t kill my *dog* …. Oh really? Who or what did you kill then? Psycho.


Yep. Language is tricky.  And it’s really easy to mistake what somebody meant, or to even take somebody’s words and make them mean what you want them to mean.  That also happens with God’s Word. A lot.  It’s important to be careful and take words in the whole context of the circumstance before making an absolute judgment.  What somebody said might not be what they meant.  So ask them face-to-face with an open mind and give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.  Words – and implied meanings– are easy to twist.  I know I’ve been guilty of judging others wrongly.  That’s gross.


In other news, HERE’S something real neat-o and interesting.


Lastly, I’m excited.  You know how we had been making a three hour round trip on Sundays to get to our most excellent church in Maryville?  Well one of the elders from our church is in the process of moving to Morristown and planting a church right here.  Our whole family is so excited to be a part of this.  So if you are in East TN and looking for a Body of Believers where the whole counsel of the word is being taught, you should come and visit.  By the way, the term ‘whole counsel of the Word’ is code for ‘Reformed’ and ‘Calvinistic’.  Just a little bible lingo trivia for you. HERE’S the website for our new church.


Lastly, I found a new nifty Japanese blog that I really like.  I wonder if Mel knows her.


Lastly last, I found a cool site that any lover of words and phrases will flip over.  It’s a list of idioms, their meanings, an example of how they’re used and an explanation of how they originated. The one they didn’t have, which I REALLY want to know the origin of, is the idiom “pushing the envelope” — how did that become a phrase meaning something that is risky or borderline unacceptable? 



March 25th, 2009 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 26 Comments

26 Responses to ' Watch Your Accent '

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  1. Deedee said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 3:58 am

    This is sooooo true! I have gotten misunderstood too many times to count when writing to someone! I simply prefer to talk it out. Less misunderstanding that way.

  2. Melonie K. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Ummmm…. I didn’t kill my dog. And I didn’t kill anybody else’s that I’m aware of. *slinking off to the corner trying to figure out who or what brought this post on*

    *slinking back to say:

    ConGRATS on the new church. WOOHOO!

    And now I shall slink off and visit this Japanese blog you have found. No, I hadn’t seen it yet. So I will assume I don’t know her yet. LOL

    *back to my corner, sans EVERYBODY’S dog*

  3. Melonie K. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 5:54 am

    PS – at the risk of saying this wrong haha I think I forgot to tell you Family Prep is going bye-bye. The new link is – but I’ll still be up yer alley cuz I’ll be talking all that usual WG stuff. (And I still have plans for the WG button as well. wink wink nudge nudge)

  4. Melonie K. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 6:18 am

    This is my last one. I promise.

    But that blog is AWESOME. 🙂

  5. Latte said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Oh hunny, I have been kicked off of e-groups because I sounded harsh, didn’t use enough lol to get my point across, had people write me and say, you don’t have to be mean about it? If they new me they would never say such things. But via type…I get myself into trouble time and time again! I feel your pain. But you are such a better types men than me! So I find it so crazy anyone would take what you said out of context. But I really should not be surprised…people see whatz they want I guess.


  6. SueInJapan said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Thanks for the link! I am honored. Not only that, I get to go meet another blogging-from-Japan friend. WooHoo! Oh, and I don’t even have a dog, so I’m in the clear. I totally get what you mean, though. That’s why I love itallics!

  7. jenig said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    yes, i love ilatllics and these little things ** to put around words so you can stress certain things.

    And for the record… the whole thing that brought this on was nothing sinister or an actual real issue… it was from a Facebook status that Kristina had set which I twisted to sound like something she wasn’t trying to say. It made me laugh (and gave me something to tease her about) and then it made me think of all of this. So thanks Kristina. Aren’t you glad I pulled you over here to tease you twice? ha ha

  8. Kristina said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    well, I didn’t kill *MY* dog, but we are planning a trip to TN …

  9. Barbara said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Okay so is she *really* “planning a trip to TN”… she didn’t say for whom. It could be that she is a travel agent. Or she could be organizing a virtual trip as an assignment for her kids…..regardless, she didn’t invite me, which is just mean. no lol here. I’m just ticked that I don’t get to come. But it’s okay. I’ll be strong about it (sniff).

  10. jenig said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    don’t worry barbara, she is only coming to see Sarah Small. If i’m lucky I’ll be able to catch a glimpse of her from afar.

    And for the record, *I’M* officially inviting you to come, so drop in any time.

  11. Megan R. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 9:17 am


    Neato, who’s movin’ to Morristown from the church?

  12. jenig said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Mr. Taggart is — at leat that’s the plan

  13. Julie Park said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    SO happy for you about your church!!!!!!! I know how it feels to have a church body / family that you love and who hold the ‘whole counsel of God’ highly. 🙂

  14. Megan R. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Wow, are they actually picking up and moving out there for good or just moving their church out there?

  15. Jodi said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Jen, Jen, Jen…you *know* I am the go-to-gal on idioms. Idiom Savant, remember?

    So here is what I found:
    There seems to be general agreement that the expression originally referred to the “performance envelope” of (especially fighter) aircraft. This “envelope” is “limitations on air speed, rate of climb and descent, and rate of direction change within which a particular aircraft can be safely and efficiently operated.” Various values such as velocity, altitude, cargo weight limits, etc. can all be represented graphically; and that such a graph typically resembles a “misshapen trapezoid” referred to as an “envelope”. This usage represents a borrowing or extension of the mathematical sense of “envelope”, i.e. “a curve or surface that is tangent to all curves or surfaces of a family of curves or surfaces”.

    In its original aviation context, then, “pushing the envelope” presumably meant pushing a plane in test flight up to and even beyond its known
    endurance limits in order to find out its exact capabilities. The idiom is apparently American in origin, dating back (at least) to the late
    1940’s. It may have first referred to the breaking of the sound barrier by test pilot Chuck Yeager (Brian Gessell informs me that the aircraft
    involved was the X-1).

    “Pushing the envelope”, along with a lot of other “pilot-jargon”, has been greatly popularized by Tom Wolfe’s _The Right Stuff_ and more recently, it seems, by the film “Top Gun” Thus the expression has been appearing more frequently both in and out of the field of aviation.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  16. jenig said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Megan — he’s looking to buy land to build a house up here. we’re excited!

    Jodi– you’re my english language hero.

  17. jess said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Wow… flashback to 6th grade homeschooling with schoolmaster Jen (and Coie snickering in the background cause I “just don’t get it”).

    But good points. I love language arts. I think it’s still my favorite subject. That or lunch.

  18. Evah Odoi said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    First of all, this accent thing is downright funny! The moral lesson is fantastic. Livia, our 2.5 yr little girl has already figured out that her parents don’t speak English. Last night, she asked her dad what language he speaks. Funny, given that English is the sore language of conversation in our home!

    You are going to fellowship with the Taggarts? I am jealous. But I am soooo happy for you. I love those people. I think we should move to Morristown!

  19. jenig said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Evah, I wish you WOULD move to Morristown. You would think it was weird if you knew how much we all miss you. After church my little kids would ask “if Mrs. Odoi was an African princess”. And I miss hearing your husband pray out loud with the beautiful accent you guys have.

  20. Jennifer said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I found this on and it was only slightly less technical than Jodi’s answer. And since I had already copied it to post before I saw Jodi’s comment, I’m posting it anyhoo. And that is not to sound nasty in any way shape or form. 🙂 🙂 🙂 There. See. Happy faces.


    When an aircraft is designed, the engineers measure its performance and the power of the engine. The performance would be plotted on a curve that formed a 2-dimensional shape on paper. For example, at higher altitudes, the power dropped off. The engine performed best within the values of the plot that fit inside that shape. This plot defined the envelope of performance of that engine.

    If the Test Pilot wanted to see what his airplane could do, he would try to make his airplane perform outside of that envelope—-thereby ‘pushing the envelope’

    I learned something new.

    I am so happy you are going to have a place to worship that is close to home! We only have a two hour round trip to church. They have a sister church where we live, but it’s not very…it’s not the same. We don’t feel led anywhere else right now.

    Oh, and sorry about your dog. I know you said “for example”, but we can all tell you were trying to get that off your chest. 🙂

    Jennifer 🙂

  21. Coie said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Yeah, cuz when you apply experimental accents to the Bible you get something like,

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel…
    For I am not ashamed of the gospel…
    For I am not ashamed of the gospel

    Which can just confuse a person.

    Romans 1:16

  22. Megan R. said,

    on March 25th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    🙁 for us
    🙂 for you all!

  23. jess said,

    on March 26th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    um, it’s not called a frappuccino any more… it’s called a FRAAA. Say it with me. FRAAA.

  24. Angie:) said,

    on March 26th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    good language lesson:) woo-hoo about the church:)

  25. Melonie K. said,

    on March 28th, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Okay – I just have to say that everybody has to go visit Sue’s blog. I was trying to say HER blog is awesome. Not my own.

    Mine’s decent. Especially in comparison to Sue’s. lol

  26. Crystal said,

    on April 1st, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Excited to hear about your church! Ours is slowly growing, and we’re up to 4 families that attend regularly now! Keep us updated on the progress. I’ll keep ETBC in our prayers.

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