Sunday, June 5, 2011

Talk like a Mormon: The Smell of Intensifying

I've decided to supplement my bimonthly stories with short vocabulary lessons that will appear between the stories. This is the inaugural post of these vocab lessons, which I'm calling "Talk Like a Mormon."

There is an idiosyncratic (and fun) way Mormons in the Intermountain West (Utah, Southern Idaho, Western Wyomong, Northern Arizona, etc.) intensify an adjective in a statement: the word "stinking." Although an adjective itself, "stinking" doesn't behave like an adjective (and definitely doesn't describe the smell of anything!) when used this way. Instead, it behaves like an adverb, intensifying the (usually positive) adjective it is placed before. Think of it as synonymous with the word "very." When pronounced, it loses the "g" at the end.

As in, "That Laura Ashley dress she wore to church was stinkin' cute." Or, "He is so stinkin' smart, those Jehovah's Witnesses don't stand a chance in a debate with him."