Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Knol By Any Other Name

I confess to knowing next to nothing about Google Knol. Well, actually, I know more than that. It's more like I know next to something. But still, I haven't ventured all that far into the Knol cyber venue. It is true that I have read up some on this Google phenomenon, and I know that, according to Harriet Hardman, who joined Google as a technical writer in 2006, that a knol is a unit of knowledge stored and/or hosted on Knol.

But when first made aware that there is now this new vocabulary item harbored within and already burrowing deeply into popular cyber culture, I soon thereafter began to entertain the notion:

How soon will it be before "knol" takes on a verb function in everyday spoken and written English?

Following immediately upon the heels of that question was:

Well, why not right now?

But wait a minute! Should it be a regular or an irregular verb, transitive, intransitive or both? If "knol" is to be used as a regular verb, then that's easy enough: 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? Perhaps both the so-called American-English version as well as the British-English will be accepted. (Or is that English-English? Commonwealth-English? I've never really been able to figure that one out. But I digress; please bear with me.)

So, anyway, then we can have "knolled" and "knoled", giving us also "knolling" and "knoling" for both the “ing” forms, the active participle and the gerund action.

However, if "knol" were to become an irregular verb, who would determine its proper spelling, let alone its pronunciation. This is a rather complex issue 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. I'll try to help out here.

If "knol" is to be considered an irregular verb, "knolling" and/or "knoling" will 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 "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, but for any search engine whatsoever on the World Wide Web, be it Yahoo! or MSN or Ask, Quintura or Dogpile or ChaCha. The Knol Website might belong to Google, but how could Google lay claim to "knol" as a word and still do no evil? Case in point, does the word "google" belong to Google?

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 knolling.”

This brings us to the passive voice form of this new verb, that is, “be” + “knoln” (+ by someone).

For example, “It is often knoln by Iago.” The word "it” here most likely would be the subject matter at hand, as in the case of this piece of writing right here, wherein one might point out the obvious: “This knolling is being knoln by yours truly.”

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