Mrs. B and I watched the fine movie, Animal House, last Friday evening. The show is chock full of humorous innuendos, and hilarious skits and scenes.
[Otter and Mrs. Wormer are in the supermarket vegetable section]
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: Mine's bigger.
[Marion looks questioningly at him]
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: My cucumber. It's bigger. I think vegetables can be very sensuous, don't you?
Marion Wormer: No, vegetables are sensual. People are sensuous.
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: Right. Sensual. That's what I meant. My name's Eric Stratton. People call me Otter.
Marion Wormer: My name's Marion. People call me Mrs. Wormer.
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: Oh, we have a Dean Wormer at Faber.
Marion Wormer: How interesting. I have a husband named Dean Wormer at Faber. Still want to show me your cucumber?
Has that line, "No, vegetables are sensual. People are sensuous" ever struck you ? Now Bunkerman's mind was not in the gutter watching the show (some of the time), he was wondering about that line and why those two words have different usages and meanings. Why ?
Bunkerman turned to the dictionary, in this case the Oxford English Dictionary, and online academic book passages to research adjective formation by the suffixes -ous and -al. How does their meaning and usage differ?
-OUS creates an adjective with the meaning, "full of, characterized by, of the nature of". The adjectives have a sense of 'abounding in'. More: -OUS is used to form gradable adjectives, having a sense of a continuous variation [mountainous, poisonous].
-AL creates an adjective with the meaning, "of a kind or pertaining to". -AL imposes restriction on its nominal or verbal input. [annual, primal]. -AL forms adjectives with a subcategorization feature [parental, musical, traditional] from nouns. -AL adjectives seem to have a binary nature; one is either in the category or not; they are not normally gradable.
"Sensuous" - adjective [$2]
Sensuous means 1. of, relating to or arising from the senses; 2. appealing to the senses; 3. greatly appreciative of the pleasures of sensation.
"Sensual" - adjective [$2]
Sensual means 1. relating to or affecting a sense or a sense organ; 2. a. relating to or preoccupied with a gratification of physical appetites esp. the sexual appetite; b. suggesting sexuality, voluptuous; c. not spiritual or intellectual: physical; d, having no moral or spiritual interests: worldly.
Sentence: Vegetables are sensual. People are sensuous. The first usage carries meaning #2b of sensual - in shape, a cucumber resembles a male sex organ; the second usage carries meaning #2 of sensuous - a handsome young man could be appealing to the senses of a woman.
Question: What figure in Animal House best fits your personality ?
For Bunkerman, the answer is D-Day. The scene where he lights up his torch to cut the car into disposable bits always strikes a chord with me. And in the final scene, he's listed as "whereabouts unknown". Rammming Speed !!! Mrs. B agrees.
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