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December 5, 2022 Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook
Word of the Week--"Alternative"
Definition--Alternative- adj. offering a choice; functioning outside the normal standards of society. n. an additional, secondary choice or option.

Discussion--The music craze that took the nineties by storm was the development of so-called "alternative" music. With the likes of Green Day, Nirvana, and others, bitter and jaded music that adopted a nonconformist view towards society was all the rage. Adolescents, in their various stages of rebellion, took to the music and the lifestyle that went with it. The "grunge" look was in- flannel shirts, shabby jeans, long hair- whoever looked the worst was the coolest. This was all in stark contrast to the glamorous eighties rock, with excessive makeup and overdone harmonies. Maybe we can find a happy medium.

The word alternative implies a choice. You can choose one, alternative thing over another. An alternative to drinking a Coke is to drink a Pepsi (at least that's what Pepsi wants you to think!). In this age of dieting and weight obsession, a catch phrase that we hear quite often is "healthy alternative." Don't eat that fattening piece of cake; choose the health alternative- a rice cake that tastes like styrofoam!

It is important to realize that alternative can be a noun or an adjective. In the first example I used, alternative is used as an adjective to describe a type of music. In the second example, alternative is used as a noun, referring to a secondary choice or option.

Etymology--Alternative- derivative of English alternate, from Late Latin alterare, from Latin alter, meaning the other.

Notice in the foreign translations that French, German, and Spanish differentiate between the use of alternative as an adjective or as a noun.

   Foreign Translations
Dutch:  alternatief
French:  différent(e), alternatif(ive)(adj.)
alternative (f) (noun)
German:  alternativ (adj.)
Alternative (f) (noun)
Italian: alternativo
Spanish: alternativo (adj.)
alternativa (noun)

Jane Ellis      Tweet Word of the Week Like Word of the Week on Facebook

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