Monday, June 24, 2013

Slence*, Slience*, Slent, Slient (for Silence or Silent)

I have actually heard two different iterations of the following theme or "joke" recently: What do men want most from a woman? Sex, food, and silence. This is one of those funny cuz it's true, sorta, kinda things, I think. People tend to make light or sport of stuff that they really do feel, and perhaps even feel guilty about. But what those long-suffering listeners often fail to understand is that it's just as uncomfortable on the other side of the divide: the laconic are as hard to bear for the loquacious as the loquacious are for the laconic. I guess silence can slice both ways here, and it often speaks louder than words. For example, it's chilling when the Wizard of Oz cries "Silence!" while Dorothy and company are quaking in their boots, but on a chilly Christmas Eve I've always loved warbling "Silent Night" into the stille nacht air. As Simon and Garfunkle once put it: "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls. And echo in the sounds of silence..." Slence* and Slent show up one time apiece in the OhioLINK database, and eight or nine times each in WorldCat (a few being proper Russian names), whereas Slience* and Slient were each found a few times in OhioLINK, and 42/44 times in WorldCat.

(The Silence Between, oil on canvas, by Peter McArdle, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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