(To skip the words and get to the pictures, scroll down.)
The French language irritates many Americans almost as much as does philosophy, and it’s undeniably true that while French and English share a huge chunk of vocabulary, they are two different languages. Not to mention les faux amis—the words that look so similar from one language to another that one expects their meaning to be as close as their orthography. Often not the case! So it’s irrelevant to English usage that the French word actuellement means “right now, as we speak, this very moment.” If you are told that your father is actuellement speaking to the principal of the school, it means the two are in conference right then and there. Not so in English. My question: what does ‘actually’ mean in English?
American speakers of English these days often use the word to correct a false impression, substituting a fact, as in “You might think he’s an easy touch, but actually he’s very canny” or “She calls herself shy, but she is actually the most outrageous flirt you’d ever want to meet.” Here ‘actually’ functions as a substitute for ‘in fact,’ and we all understand it as intended. Lately, however, this outwardly innocuous adverb has made insidious inroads into everyday conversation, shedding meaning as its usage spreads. Ask some young person where he or she was born, and the answer is likely to be, “I was actually born in Grand Rapids. I actually graduated from high school there, and now I’m actually a student at MSU.” Did anyone say you weren’t? What has been added by this ubiquitous and now nearly meaningless word? Grump, grump, grump!
Have I mentioned that there’s a sale going on at Dog Ears Books in Northport? That both used and new books in stock (only three exceptions) are currently discounted a full 20%? That we have beautiful gift possibilities for every budget? This is actually true—until the end of December--and anyone already out here in Leelanau Township doesn’t have to drive to Traverse City for these bargains, either. Mercy, think of that!
But now, away with words for as long as it takes to post three pictures from yesterday afternoon, when the sun came out (about 2:30), and the sky stayed clear until after sunset! What a treat for northern eyes and hearts!