Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting To Knol All About You

In response to my first draft of the piece on the knol verb as a comment on knol.google.com, there has been a very immediate response by Mark Vanderpool, who it turns out helps "to co-ordinate advanced online creative writing and journalism classes in conjunction with the official website for Portland author Chuck Palahniuk", which makes me feel all warm and gooey inside for my hometown. Herewith is Mark's very funny, if somewhat "in-house" cryptic, response to aforementioned comment:



I googled our once-secret project today by its once-secret name and discovered that we've not only been blogged about but bloody-well knolled; knolled by no less than a well-knoln uber-blogger and mole--godchild of Perez Hilton. The snot posed as an IT guy from the parent company and joined our online collaborators incognito. Hollywood paparazzi gone high-tech snoop. It gives me the hives. We should have spotted this cyberstalking stealth knoller sooner... shares are suffering. Now we have to play the early leak to our advantage.


It was in response to an early draft of this, which I had meant to entitle "The Once and Future Knol" (Oh, well . . . .). And here is that daft draft:


This Once and Future Knol

Well, this is pretty cool. A new Google thingee with a new term to describe it. But how soon before "knol" gets verbified? Well, why not right now. But wait a minute! Will this be a regular or an irregular verb? Transitive, intransitive or both? Well, if "knol" is to be a regular verb, then that's easy enough to conjugate: a) infinitive form, of course, "to knol"; b) past tense, obviously, as well as the past participle, "knoled" --- but hold on right there! Should that be one "l" of two? Maybe there can be both the so-called American English version as well as the British-English. Or is that English-English? Commonwealth-English? I've never really been able to figure that out. (But I digress; bear with me.)

So, anyway, then we can have "knolled" and "knoled", giving us also "knolling" and "knoling" for both the “ing” forms, the participle in its active voice and the good old gerund action. I think everyone can be happy with that, except perhaps for the extremely intolerant amongst us. But what if "knol" becomes an irregular verb? And who will be "in charge", so to speak, of determining the proper spelling.

These are some heavy issues to contend with for lexicographers, who already have enough difficulties keeping track of all the new words entering the English language almost exponentially moment by moment on a monthly if not a weekly or even, God forbid, a daily basis. Okay, I'll try to help out here.

If "knol" is to be considered an irregular verb, "knolling" and/or "knoling" still work just fine for the present participial spelling. But how about this for the irregular verb past tense form and the past participle? I propose simply using "knel" as the past tense and (the soon to become popular) "knoln" as the past perfect, rendering up this hyphenated adjective ,”well-knoln", for any knol that ranks high in the search engines, and not just the Google search engine, nosireebob, but for any search engine of any ilk, type or persuasion, be it Yahoo! or MSN or Ask, Quintura or Dogpile or ChaCha.

As for the intransitive versus transitive question? Well, for one, who besides yours truly is even asking a stupid question like this? And as for the answer, or at least a response to said stupid question, I suggest: Both, as in, “He knolls twice a day.” and “She knel it before I did, so I moderately collaborated to fix her knelling.”

And regarding the passive voice form of this new verb, I’m going to have to think about that later. My brain hurts.

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