Thursday, February 12, 2009

alienus in terra aliena

Stranger in a Strange Land.

Not long ago, Brett and I finished reading Robert Heinlein's 1961 sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land. Amidst the general fantastic silliness, the untranslated Martian word grok stood out as particularly ridiculous--and yet somehow, it was catchy (perhaps in the worst kind of way). Thus while the predictable plot and laughably stereotypical characters have quickly faded into hazy recollection, grok lives on in my lexicon...and apparently, in that of others as well.

It is casually used by Felix Salmon and Alex Tabarrok.

Also, while recently perusing the blogosphere, I stumbled upon this:
Warlocks and Morlocks
Don't grok door locks.
And finally, today, in my quest to determine the the identity of Martial's malignus interpres, I was seeking out a translation for German verstehen:

to grok [sl.] (Amer.) verstehen | verstand, verstanden |

I believe I speak rightly when I say--IT'S EVERYWHERE!

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