Word Play – Beware of Context -a tongue in cheek commentary

Teachers know that reading is a complex skill. It requires everything from knowing letters and sounds, having a well-developed sight word vocabulary and being able to use the other words in a sentence (context) to determine the meaning of a new word. Reading comprehension also depends on what knowledge and experiences the reader already has.

For example, a person with a lot (maybe too much) experience with all things nautical might use the following nautical term in a way that the  average land-lubber might not understand.

“Your other port! Your other port!” yelled the coach.


“Tie a bow on the present.”

The next example shows the influence of experience in the jewelry business on the author:

“The video will loupe from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on channel 23.”

In American English, loupe is the eyepiece used by a jeweler to inspect a gem.  (These directions actually appeared on a ship-board video system.)

Sometimes local dialect and vocabulary can cause confusion to outsiders as in this example:

The upper (OOper) rubbed his hands together in glee as another fudgie entered the shop.

Translation: an upper (OOper) is an inhabitant of the upper peninsula of Michigan. (I have no idea what they call those who live on the lower peninsula of Michigan.)

A fudgie refers to a tourist on Mackinac Island, MI. Since there are seventeen fudge shops on Mackinac, many tourists purchase fudge.

Often a picture provides context, such as the one  below showing a fudgie leaving one of the seventeen fudge shops with five pounds of fudge in a bag.