While everyone remembers the humor and the shock of the “seven dirty words” in the 70’s, most people missed the great definition of the process of nominalizing George gave in the introduction to his most well known comedy routine. Here in his own words (who else’s would you use) George gives us a wonderfully simple explanation of the process of nominalization:
“I love words. I thank you for hearing my words. I want to tell you something about words that I uh, I think is important. I love..as I say, they’re my work, they’re my play, they’re my passion. Words are all we have really.
“We have thoughts, but thoughts are fluid. You know, [humming]. And, then we assign a word to a thought, [clicks tongue]. And we’re stuck with that word for that thought. So be careful with words. I like to think, yeah, the same words that hurt can heal. It’s a matter of how you pick them.”
You can read the entire transcript here (Warning: the content does live up to its name): “George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words”
George Carlin, one of the great wordsmiths of our time, died of a heart attack today.