Social scientists must be very frustrated people.

One more because-it’s-still-vacation-and-I-can link:

The Word Banishment Committee of Lake Superior State University has a message for the technically savvy this year — put down your app and chillax on the tweets, people.

This is not, strictly speaking, news. As can be seen from the comments. People have been irked with the current vocabulary since Jehovah first asked Cain where his brother was. ("God! Like, am I my brother’s keeper, or what, you know?") Frankly — speaking especially as a technophile who resents being demonised just for being up-to-date — most of these people should just chillax.

But it can’t be denied that it’s satisfying to imagine, every now and then, just what would happen if you had sole charge of the English language. For one thing, you would never have to look at another ‘grocer’s apostrope’ as long as you lived, which would significantly reduce chances of at least one mass murder. Just think: a world in which everybody understands that ‘loose’ and ‘lose’ are two different words. Bliss.

I can’t say I disagree with everything on the list, though. ‘Bromance’ is stupid. So is the Obama-mania — we get it already. ‘Chillax’ is, in fact, completely un-necessary.
And (per the comments) I never have quite got the hang of ‘sick’ meaning ‘excellent!’. To paraphrase that great philosopher (and, interestingly enough, contemporary of Max Headroom) Huey Lewis on the general subject of trendy superlatives: while I stay cool as a rule, sometimes, ‘bad’ is bad.

One the other hand… what’s with the hostility for ‘twitter’ and ‘tweet’? I’ve always liked how they perfectly describe their function and its value — a little burst of inconsequential words, exactly like a sparrow’s song. Ditto ‘app’ — an ‘application’ is what you run on full-sized computers. What else are you going to call the handheld version, ‘Fun and/or useful programs sized so you can carry them in your pocket’? And while ‘friend’, in the telecom sense, may be an awkward misuse of the concept… let us all just be grateful ‘buddy’ never caught on big-time, OK?

Personally, as noted, I’m more of a grammar nazi. My list of really annoying buzzwords is small — but mighty; anyone using the phrase ‘Kanye West’ in my hearing is guaranteed an earful.

Seriously, also, people, can we get over the cutesy terms for female anatomy? ‘Vay-jay-jay’ etc? What Britney was showing the world was her — well, I didn’t study the photos closely, but I can guarantee you that was not it. Incidentally, while I find TMZ-speak generally really annoying, I can also guarantee that once you respond with something like ‘laeve britny alone shes workd sooooo hard your all just haterz!!!’ you have — to put it delicately — forfeited the intellectual high ground.

Yours truly the Grand High Authority on All Things Spoken would also like to have a word with you management-consultant types. Can you please stop lecturing me on how I can ‘leverage’ my ‘synergy’ to ‘impact results’ long enough for me to actually do my job?! Thank you.

In return, I resolve to quit starting every sentence with ‘Basically…’, and explaining to you how ‘text’ isn’t a verb, and we’ll all be a lot happier.


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