Weird Al Yankovic is back! Who is Weird Al? Do a quick Google search, and you may recognize his iconic look, or perhaps his song parodies. My memory of his music dates back to the ’90s, and his comical (funny) versions of trendy (popular) songs make it hard not to dance and sing along. One of his current hits off the album, “Mandatory Fun,” is a song that’s perfect for this blog, and for language learning! It’s called “Word Crimes.” I was stoked (so excited) when a dear friend shared it with me, and it has inspired me to use it for multiple learning opportunities. The first being… VOCABULARY.
What is a word crime?
Oh, we’ve all seen them. It’s the incorrect use of articles, using “it’s” as a possessive instead of a contraction, saying eXpresso rather than espresso, and using letters and numbers to spell words. These, of course, are just a few, and Weird Al points out a lot more in his song. I will definitely be highlighting some of the grammar mistakes he pokes fun at (makes fun of), but will start off defining some of the vocabulary so you fully understand the song and meaning. You can watch the video here, which includes some of the lyrics.
However, to read all of the lyrics, go here. (if these links don’t work, just Google the video and lyrics: Weird Al Yankovic – Word Crimes)
- conjugate: grammar: to list the different forms of a verb that show number, person, tense, etc..
- flunk: to get a failing grade in a course/subject / [+ object] to give a failing grade
- mock (someone): to laugh at or make fun of (someone or something) especially by copying an action or a way of behaving or speaking
- familiarize: to make someone familiar with, give them knowledge about something
- nomenclature: a system of names for things especially in science
- literacy: the ability to read and write
- stammer: to speak with many pauses and repetitions because you have a speech problem or because you are very nervous, frightened, etc.
- raised: chiefly US : to take care of and teach (a child) : to bring up or rear (a child) [*EX: “..like people who were, Never raised in a sewer..” -Word Crimes]
- sewer: a pipe that is usually underground and that is used to carry off water and sewage
- moron: an idiot, someone stupid
- apostrophe: the punctuation mark ʼ -used for contractions, possessives, or plural form of letters/numbers
- mangling: to do (something) badly : to ruin (something) because of carelessness or a lack of skill
- danglin’: shortened from- dangling: grammar: when a word isn’t accurately attached to another part of a sentence
- drama: a situation or series of events that is exciting and that affects people’s emotions
- cunning: cleverness or skill especially at tricking people in order to get something
- homophones: a word that is pronounced like another word but is different in meaning, origin, or spelling
- emphasis: special importance or attention given to something
- coincidence: a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected
- smack: to hit something/someone hard
- crowbar: a metal bar that has a thin flat edge at one end and is used to open or lift things
- apparent: easy to see or understand/ obvious
- incoherent: not able to talk or express yourself in a clear way that can be easily understood; not logical or well-organized : not easy to understand
- prose: writing that is not poetry : ordinary writing
- lost cause: a person or thing that is certain to fail
- give up: [phrasal verb]- to quit; to stop trying to do something
Vocabulary: Courtesy of Merriam Webster Learner’s Dictionary
Hopefully this list of vocabulary will enhance your repertoire (collection) of English vocabulary, and help you understand the song. Check back soon for some grammar explanations related to this song, and…