Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tacet Buger

Hanging out with a good friend tonight, I heard an excellent story. She is a musician and was telling me of the antics of the group she was playing with. They had an inside joke involving the phrase "tacet burger". Whenever people would miss an entrance or otherwise not be playing, that was a tacet burger.

One singer was holding their notes for way too long, so my friend said, "Tacet burger - Hold everything."

I died laughing. It was the best line I have ever heard. It was so good I pulled out my pen and paper and wrote it down, fully intending it to be the fodder for tonight's post (which it totally is).

Later on in the night, she saw my note and told me I spelled it wrong. I had it spelled as "tacit burger". I disagreed with her. I know for a fact that I use 'tacit' regularly and without issue. I have looked it up in the dictionary. Most importantly, I know it comes from Latin, the imperative command being tacite.

But I also know that 'tacet' is a term in music, which is mostly from Italian, so I wasn't sure what actually was correct. I pull out the dictionary and look it up. They are both in there, and both seem pretty much the same.

Upon further inspection, though, I noticed that 'tacit' is an adjective and 'tacet' is a verb. So, the latter is a command and the former is a description.

I told my friend that we were both right; both variations are acceptable English. However, she was more right because calling "tacet burger" is done when you are wanting or telling somebody to be quiet.

There are two main points I want to draw from this whole experience:
1. "Tacet" and "tacit" are two very similar, but different words. They are truly wonderful and ought to be used, but go the extra mile and use the right one for the situation.
2.  If you have no idea why my friend's line is absolutely hilarious, expand your vocabulary.

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