Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I am denormal

For many the term "denormalisation" is puzzling to say the least. Ask most ordinary people what it means and they won't know.

Those of us who have thought about it and do know what it means no doubt ponder to themselves why a perfectly good existing term "abnormal" could not have been used instead by being extended to form the word "abnormalise?" This we could all have worked out and known that it signified some process whereby things were taken out of the category of "normal."

An immediate problem springs up from the word denormalise when we consider the terms of self reference that someone who may have undergone the process of denormalisation would have to use.

"Are you denormal" we should have to ask him and to which he might reply: "No, I am not denormal" or alternatively, he would proclaim: "Yes, I am denormal, but I know that I am and I am ashamed/proud."

Or imagine if you discovered your girlfriend was a cannibal and so you gave her the boot. When asked: "Why did you give your girlfriend the boot?," you would reply: "Because she's denormal".

Now this is fascinating so let's conjugate it:

I am denormal
you are denormal
he, she or it is denormal
we are denormal
they are denormal

or negatively,

I am not denormal
you are not denormal
he, she or it is not denormal
we are not denormal
they are not denormal.

Linguistically and from an intuitive perspective then, this word truly sucks. It just doesn't run in the mind and is rather like a prototype skipping elephant.

The picture becomes clear, however, when we consider why all the problems couldn't have been avoided by the use of the word "abnormal" as the root of activity. If the anti smokers had spoken about "abnormalising" people the public would have become suspicious or not have liked the sound of the language. Hence the word would have been a non-starter. So, the word had to made nicer and so people were to be...denormalised. Yes, yet another example of warped and twisted minds at work and if you think this one is going to catch on for posterity well, have you ever heard of the square wheel?

Blad Tolstoy.