Sitting at the Seattle airport talking to Ennie we encountered an odd problem: words.

Not just the typical pronouns that come up like “him” and “her,” then there are words you don’t think about too much. Words like “here” and “there,” and even “home.” A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun phrase; an adverb provides description.

If you look up “home” in the dictionary, it’s a noun. And so it seems it is. Or is it? Normally you don’t think of the word “home” being an adverb or a pronoun, but I think it is in some cases. It’s a pronoun that, oddly, varies by person but is static enough that the concept is treated as fixed. In the end, after all, a pronoun is a simple representation of a concept or person. It normally should have an antecedent, and in this case it is firmly implied by the speaker.

When talking about moving, these words start to have ambiguous meanings.

Ennie used “leaving here,” it was hard to tell if she was talking about leaving Seattle, or leaving home.

Home, right now as I write this refers to the phrase “where I live in Solon, Ohio.” But it’s fluid in that in two weeks it won’t mean that any more.

Interestingly, this came up when I was growing up as well. When my mom talked about home, it was as likely to mean where I lived as it was to mean where she grew up in Transylvania.

This is a case where the language works, for the most part, well enough. But sometimes the implied antecedents start to change and shift under the words themselves. When it does it causes me to pause.

In that pause the reality starts to set in even more.

– = –

Ok, so the grammarians among you might object to me recasting a noun as an pronoun… so what. :-P The way I look at it is that some nouns are placeholders for a concept that is more fluid and less concrete.