English 10: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
|"Lugubrious" is a phonetically
pleasing adjective has a definition that means far from
pleased. The definition of this adjective is dismal, gloomy, or sad. Its etymology is Latin,
originating from the Latin root "lugubri(s)", meaning mournful, and the Greek root
"lyres," also meaning sad or mournful. Although usage of the word in daily vocabulary may
draw puzzled looks from those you converse with, many find the extremely detailed definition, and
the simple sound of the word to be quite intriguing.
Lugubrious is a word that is used so rarely that many people, when asked to define or use it in a
sentence, simply could not. Many young school children could identify the word as an adjective and
use it in that context, but did not fully understand the definition of the word. For example, one
sixth grader, when asked to use the word in a sentence, replied; "He is lugubrious...What does
lugubrious mean?" His initial sentence is technically correct, though does not display an
actual understanding of the word. Obviously his inquiry into what the words meaning shows he does
not understand it, though it was obvious with many people that they were unfamiliar with the word,
whether they asked about it or not. However, when I asked some educated adults, some were able to
correctly use the word in context to show an understanding, and even state it's definition.
When Phyllis Ferrara, a mother of two who attended medical school, was aked to use the word in a
sentence, she cautiously said, "The death of their child caused them to be permanently
lugubrious." Seemingly, some educated individuals could express a basic understanding of the
While some people were able to demonstrate a grasp on the word "lugubrious'"
definition, some of those with less experience had difficulty defining or using the word. When
asking a few Brazilian-Americans if they could use the word in a sentence, none could correctly use
the word to explain its definition. Still, they were also able to identify the word as an adjective
as could some of the younger native English speaking children could. This is explainable due to the
fact that since children are younger, they have had less experience with the English language than
adults. Since many of those who speak English as a a second language had not had as many years of
experience with the language, they have not come across this rather rare word in their study of
English as a second language. Due to lugubrious' relative "youth" and its uncommon
usage, many English speakers, whether they were brought up speaking English or learned it as a
second language, could not correctly display comprehension of the word "lugubrious."
Lugubrious is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as; "characterized by, expressing or
causing mourning, doleful, mournful, sorrowful." This is the common definition from dictionary
to dictionary. However, this word has taken on to connotation of meaning exaggerated sadness or
mourning. It is commonly used in an almost comical sense, poking fun at someone's behavior as
unnecessarily, forced, or even falsely sad. It is interesting that lugubrious has taken on this
different, unspoken, comical meaning, possibly because the sound of the word lugubrious is simply
amusing in it's own right. Although the definition of the "lugubrious" has stayed
constant over the years, its connotation and understanding of the word has been altered and changed
through the usage of the word.
When searching the Oxford English Dictionary for uses and spellings of the word lugubrious, a few
instances occurred where the word aws used or spelled differently. From 1632 to 1708, the now dead
spelling of the word was "lugubrous." Possibly this was simply a misspelling which
stemmed into a different dictionary entry, or possibly it was changed with the intention of making
pronunciation easier. An even more interesting spelling is "lugubre." This is also a
dead definition, used from 1727 to 1835. This word was first used by Lady M.W. Montagu, who was
French, which may explain the alternate spelling, which was probably influenced by the French
language. This word's spelling shows the major French influence that has had a massive effect
on the super language that is English today.
Although most authors have used lugubrious as an adjective meaning "sad or mournful," it
has been used to describe numerous other things than emotion. For example, the London Times used the
word to descrive a manner of walking; "...ambling towards the penalty area with that lugubrious
gait of his." Another interesting usage occured recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, using
the word to descrive the atmosphere at a 2007 World Series game; " The television ratings for
the National League Championship Series were not hot to being with. After a lugubrious start to Game
2, Friday night channel surfers had to be getting itchy trigger fingers." It seems newspaper
publishers and professional writers are picking up on the connotations of exaggeration, and are
using it rarely to describe simply human emotion but for a manner of walking, the start of a
baseball game, among other things
What we can understand about the English language and its evolution over the years is the dominance
of connotations and perceptions over a word's actual meaning. Many people, whether they are
untrained uneducated English speakers, or professional seasoned writers, have picked up the idea of
exaggeration implied in the definition of "Lugubrious." As we look ahead to the future of
English as a super language, we can begin to realize that definitions are begining to stray from
simply definitions to how the word is used over the years.
|While the sport of Ice Hockey may
not be an extensively popular sport in Britain, it certainly has
had an effect on the development of this nation’s people, culture, and specifically literature.
While ice hockey is usually classified under, “other sports,” on British newspaper websites, it is
steadily continuing to appear in major newspapers more and more. According to John Davidson, It is
believed that the word hockey came from the French word “hoquet,” which means “bent stick.” While
ice hockey very well may have started in Britain and surrounding areas of Europe, it has certainly
become less popular since it’s time of invention, especially in comparison to countries like Canada,
the United States, and Russia. However, in the past twenty or so years, ice hockey has experienced a
spike in popularity at all levels.
According to John Davidson, ice hockey is believed to have origins in Britain and France. Field
Hockey had been a popular summer sport in these two world powers since ancient times, and it wasn’t
uncommon to find the game played on frozen ponds in the winter when a adequate field was difficult
to find. In the 17th Century, an ice game called Kolven became popular in England, originally
developing in Holland. Yet another popular ice game in England was called bandy. Bandy was played on
frozen meadowlands, where players swatted a wood or cork ball with wooden sticks from willow trees.
Surely these games eventually evolved into modern hockey, which became popular through Canada.
While ice hockey may not be a prominent and influential sport in England at first glance, it is
clear that this sport is deeply influential in England’s history when one looks beneath the
One of the most illustrious professional ice hockey players to ever come out of ther British Isles
is named Byron Dafoe. According to the National Hockey League Statistics database, Dafoe was born
in Sussex, England, in February of 1971. Dafoe was drafted 35th overall in the 1989 NHL draft by the
Washington Capitals. He began his career with the Capitals in 1992, and by the 1993-94 season he was
an award winning goalie. Dafoe was one of the best goalies in the game of ice hockey until he
retired in 2005. Between 1992 and 2004, Dafoe had “stood between the pipes” for the Boston Bruins,
the Washington Capitals, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Atlanta Thrashers. With an overall
goals-against-average of 2.31, Byron Dafoe is certainly one of the greatest ice hockey goalies to
ever play the game.
While some of the greatest hockey players to play ice hockey have come from the British Isles, the
amateurs are what make ice hockey in the U.K. the sport that is. Byron Dafoe is not the only British
ice hockey player to have success “between the pipes.” Kenichi Beverage, former goalie of the
Northumbria Flames, was one of the greatest amateurs to play in the United Kingdom. Nicknamed “Super
Ken,” Beverage was known for his unorthodox and seemingly akward style, as well as his ability to
perform in clutch situations, according to the British University Ice Hockey Association website.
After playing for 5 consecutive years with the Northumbria Flames, Beverage retired after the
2006-2007 season. “Super Ken,” as well as many other amateur British ice hockey players, are the
foundation from which ice hockey in Britain is developing.
You won’t find ice hockey on the front page of the “sport” section in the London times. As a matter
of fact, no matter how many pages you turn, you won’t find an article on ice hockey in any British
newspaper on most days. However, beneath the surface, ice hockey’s popularity in England is booming.
According to Mike Peake of the London times, there are three proffesional and semi-proffesional ice
hockey leagues in Britain. England’s national association of ice hockey players boasts more than
8,000 members. Britain’s most popular ice hockey league is the Elite Ice Hockey league, a foreign
under-league of the National Hockey league. Last year’s champions, the GMB Nottingham Panthers
defeated the Echo Cardiff Devils to claim their stake as the best professional hockey team in
Britain. Ice hockey is actually one of the most influential sports in the British Isles.
In spite of ice hockey’s relative unpopularity in the United Kingdom, it still has made some
appearances in Britain’s pop culture. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, eminent actor Joss
Ackland played the part of a key character in one of the most successful ice hockey films in
history; The Mighty Ducks. Ackland played the part of a wise hockey shop manager named Hans. Born in
London, England, Ackland is one of the most prominent actors featured in a hockey film to come out
of the British Isles. The Mighty Ducks was even released in the U.K., under the title of Champions.
While ice hockey may not be one of the most important and perceptible subjects in Britain’s pop
culture, it undoubtedly has influenced the pop culture in the U.K. below the surface.
When one thinks about the United Kingdom, ice hockey is one of the last things that come to mind.
With a comparatively infrequent and backward presence in broadcast and print media, it is apparent
that ice hockey is not one of the most popular sports in Britain. However, with a growing interest
in ice hockey at the amateur levels, and an increasingly competitive and popular professional hockey
league, it is a safe assumption that ice hockey has enormous potential to become a more popular
sport in Britain. While sports like football, (otherwise known as soccer), rugby, and tennis may
hold the attention of the British people, media, and pop culture, ice hockey clearly has the
potential to become on of the more popular sports in the United Kingdom. While the inhabitants of
the British Isle look for a new and refreshing form of entertainment and exercise, ice hockey is
sure to be an easy choice for many Brits. Undoubtedly, there will be more successful professional
ice hockey players to follow in the footsteps of players like Byron Dafoe.