Prephany

You know that feeling when you’re trying to explain something to someone, but you just can’t remember the word you’re thinking of? That “tip-of-the-tongue” feeling? As a constantly evolving language, English should really include a word to describe this phenomenon as it seems to occur quite often (at least to me…). Of course, there do exist words such as dysnomia and aphasia that scientifically describe this phenomenon, but these words attribute this commonplace issue as some rare physical or linguistic disorder. Instead, we need a word that everyone can feel comfortable saying when they experience that “tip of the tongue” feeling.

The word I propose to describe this feeling is prephany. It does sounds a little weird to say out loud at first, but I think this word wholly captures this feeling as the prefix “pre” means before and the ending part of the word prephany is derived from the real word “epiphany.” Basically this word translates into “before epiphany.”

In order to determine whether a word should enter a language, one should ask two questions: would it have significant usage, and will it be understandable to the majority of English speakers? Prephany fits both of those criteria. First, it is a concise and more sensible label for a feeling which people already have adopted a common expression for. The phrase “on the tip of my tongue” is one that is widely adopted as part of the English language, so prephany would undoubtedly get lots of usage as well. Finally, the word should be understandable to the majority of English speakers. Fortunately, the construction of prephany as a condensed version of pre-epiphany makes the word extremely sensible to any English speaker. The word itself already indicates its own meaning, ensuring that it would be quickly understandable and adopted into the English language.

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