Author Archives: Kat Myrman

Perlocutionary -Friday’s Word of the Day

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Today’s word of the day on dictionary.com is a whopper, and therefore quite the challenge when constrained by the limited syllable budget of a Haiku. I shall nevertheless give it its due. Perlocutionary is an adjective that describes a type of speech that persuades, enlightens, inspires, frightens, or amuses the listener, causing them to act. Philosopher, J.L. Austin explains it perfectly in this excerpt from “How to Do Things with Words”, written in 1962: “We can similarly distinguish the locutionary act ‘he said that’ …from the illocutionary act ‘he argued that’…and the perlocutionary act ‘he convinced me that’…”

The word perlocution has been around since the 16th century originally meaning the act of speaking. It basis was formed from the Latin locutio, “speech, speaking, discourse”, a derivative of the verb loqui, “to speak”. Its present iteration as a noun and adjective did not enter the English language until the 20th century with the addition of the prefix ‘per’ meaning “through, complete or perfect” (as in brought to completion).

I learned that there are stages in the application of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary acts. While it would seem that the latter is the more refined direct act of the three I was surprised to discover that, in fact, infants between the age of 0-8 months are masters in the art of perlocutionary discourse through the use of sounds and gestures. Every whimper, coo and cry has an affect on the hearer, causing them to act. Eventually the child begins to repeat actual words (locutionary acts) and to apply them with meaning as in the words “no” or “why” (illocutionary acts).

It’s all very interesting of course. And way over my head. I have rarely bothered myself to determine whether a speech or statement is locutionary, illocutionary or perlocutionary, but I do admit to being moved and swayed by words. A simple cry for help raises my adrenaline and propels me into help mode. And a temper tantrum can shut me down in no time flat.

We are so easily convinced by words. I doubt that I’ll take time to analyze the words that move me, next time it happens. Even though I now have a word for it. Perlocutionary acts…my biggest challenge at the moment is figuring out how to fit a six syllable word into a Haiku. But at least now you have a new word to file in your vocabulary drawer under “words that are nice to know”.😊

words of gloom and doom,
perlocutionary acts,
drive fools to folly

~kat

http://www.dictionary.com/wordoftheday/2017/10/20/perlocutionary


Mixed Message – A Cleave Poem

Mixed Message

you can be anything you dream / watch how you dress
you are beautiful / you don’t want to give the wrong impression
you are intelligent / but don’t worry that pretty head of yours
you are strong / men will protect you
so take your rightful place / as long as you know your place
use your voice / and know who’s in charge
to change the world / always remember
step up and be counted / behind every successful man
your limitless potential / is a woman
waiting to be realized / a beautiful trophy
is your birthright / to impress the guys
for you are a woman / the weaker sex
magnificent in every way / emotional, compassionate
don’t let them tell you / it’s why women can’t be leaders
who you are / because it threatens manliness
what you can or cannot be / to be considered equal?
it is up to you / it’s just not going to happen
so fly my darling girl / don’t make waves
the sky’s the limit / smile and look pretty

~kat

A Cleave Poem is three poems in one. Read the left column, top to bottom, then the right column, top to bottom. And finally read each line across.


Black & White – Day 3

‘SEVEN DAYS. SEVEN BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS OF YOUR LIFE.

NO PEOPLE. NO EXPLANATION. CHALLENGE SOMEONE NEW EACH DAY’

Today, I challenge Willow. Copy and paste the above description with your photo and tag me so I see your entry. 😊


Calm Lake – A Haiku

pearlescent skin
translucent, placid surface
misty lake at dawn

~kat

A Haiku for Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge, prompt Words, Lake & Calm (placid).


The Guardian

Late at night, when people are in a hurry, heading home from work or toting colorful shopping bags is my favorite time to haunt the lower level of the subway.

I come here to peoplewatch, but mostly to mess with him as he lurches in the shadows, waiting for his next victim.

Occasionally I’m caught in a photograph, like tonight, as I walk through him on the stairway (a little trick I learned), freezing him in his tracks, as a sweet young thing, like I used to be, slips away unaware onto the train.

~kat

A Three Line Tale for Sonya’s weekly challenge inspired by this photo by Andre Benz via Unsplash. The ghostly specter on the stairway caught my eye. Can you see her? ‘‘Tis the season of thin places and ghosts. 🤔👻😳


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