In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Making Good Conversation

A word, or two – about words: Words move us in many different ways, thanks to the Latin vertere, versi, "to turn." Prose once filled the page in an unbroken fashion. Poetry, however, caused things to take a turn for the verse.

It was written in straight lines;
when you came to the end
of a line, you simply "turned"
on to the next.

Versi spun off several versions, different ways of turning a phrase into good conversation. When you master poetry or good conversation you "turn it over" in your mind many times. This is how you become well versed or conversant on the subject. What we hope to do in this book is engage in a conversation on the deeper meaning of words.

A conversation was originally "the act of living" or a "way of life," people turning about — (con) "with" each other. During the 16th C, they even turned together physically, engaging in sexual relations, turning an act of adultery into a criminal conversation. Not until a century later did the act became just so much talk.

Not everyone is interested in good conversation. Often they're also not very good at it. Rather than conversing, people are better versed in advertising.

When people first advertised, they were warning someone, calling their attention (ad) "to" potentially adverse situations. Be warned. Today, its position is the reverse. The advertisers' goal is to divert attention (de) "from" the real meaning of words and towards their products. Given its perverse nature – things having been turned (per) "though and through" — it's now clearly us vs. (versus) them.