A to Z Blogging Challenge · Blather · collage

Finish My Limerick – G

There once was a guy named Greg
Who had a thing on his leg
(A thing??! Please explain!)
Well, it was kind of arcane –

According to Merriam-Webster, arcane means “known or knowable to only a few people: SECRET”

Kind of makes you wonder about Greg’s leg, right?

Today is Saturday — Blather-day — the day of the week when I give myself permission to blather away about whatever nonsense pops into my head using Linda Hill’s Stream-of-Consciousness writing prompt. This week it’s: “starts with gen.” Find a word that starts with “gen” and use it in your post. 

The first word that came to mind when I read the prompt was generative because one of my sons had recently used it in a conversation multiple times. I didn’t want to sound foolish and say, “I’m not sure I know what that means.” I could guess what it means, based on context and possible root words, but I could still be totally wrong.

Like arcane. Until I looked up the definition, I would have defined it more along the lines of archaic, which means old, old-fashioned, or not in common use anymore. And I would have been wrong.

I’m glad I looked it up.

Which I did after I stuck in a limerick because it rhymed.

Well, that, plus I genuinely wanted to know what it meant.

Honestly, I could guess at generative. Something to do with growth or new growth or inspiring new growth?

[now leaving stream-of-consciousness writing to look up generative.]

Merriam-Webster says: having the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing. I wasn’t too far off.

Do you ever do that? Think you know what a word means, look it up and you’re wrong? Or, think you know what a word means, look it up and you’re right? Or, think you know what a word means and don’t look it up? Or, hear a word you don’t know and don’t ask or look it up because …. I don’t know!

Gosh, it’s so easy to look up meanings of words these days. I looked up generative on Google to get my above definition, but I just asked Siri what generative means — which took me all of 2 seconds — and she gave me a pretty thorough definition. Right on my phone! I don’t know why I didn’t do it immediately after I first heard the word.

I will need someone to explain to me that second definition. Or give me examples. That one means nothing to me.

I think it’s an arcane definition.

Like the thing on Greg’s leg — which is what I’m most curious about today. What do you think it is?

23 thoughts on “Finish My Limerick – G

    1. The linguistic definition of generative but I think your Fugimura explanation contrasting generativity and stagnation gives me a much better understanding

  1. I first learned of that word in the context of creative people talking about artist Makoto Fujimura. Here’s a draft of “On Becoming Generative,” the first chapter of his book “Culture Care.” It’s longish but it has examples. http://www.jenniferwallacepoetry.com/uploads/7/6/9/5/76951739/fi-culturecareabrev.pdf

    From a quick rabbit hole trip: Marriage is generative in producing children. Parenthood is generative in raising and guiding children. Teaching and coaching are generative in passing on skills and helping people to develop them. Cultural generativity is making something and passing it down to others. There’s a difference between generativity and creativity, and a flip side of generativity is stagnation. I think it’s a hard word to grasp and probably some of us use it wrong. For Fujimura it has something to do with beauty.

    1. Apparently here is its source: “The term generativity was coined by the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1950 to denote ‘a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation.’ He first used the term while defining the Care stage in his theory of the stages of psychosocial development.” — Wikipedia

      1. OH! Now I see the phonology definition. Hmm. Forgive me for assuming you meant the first dictionary def.

        Apparently generative phonology assumes there are rules and order in the ways people naturally speak, tries to define them, and decides how to render them in phonetic notation. I read about an example in American English: the flapping rule, when a T sound is pronounced like a D — for example, before an unstressed vowel (better, latter) or after a certain kind of L (little, kettle). Apparently it’s called the flapping rule because of the tongue’s different action in producing a D sound and a T sound.

        I have told you more than I know.

  2. I had to look up the definition of arcane, which I think is a mysterious word, understood by few. 😉

    I often look up words when writing because although I may think I know the definition, it’s good to check and make sure of its proper use. So I don’t end up sounding silly. 🙂

  3. I think I can help for second definition. In simple terms, we usually writes rules so that a machine can recognize certain set of languages and its constructs. That’s what it means.

    Well put post.

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