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Vocabulary Constabulary: Part One Newspeak is Annoying. November 7, 2017

Posted by voolavex in New Speak, Social Issues.
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Each generation and culture adds words to our languages.  And that’s to the good mostly.  English, though, is really taking a beating.  I blame, to some degree, social media, but other villains are at work.  Who are they? Poseurs, snobs, wannabes, politically correct  or just pretentious.   Maybe you know someone like that?  Off the top of my head these are a start – as this will be posted in installments.

When you select or choose a group of things – you do not become a curator automatically.  I think the term robs real curators of their skills and education.  If I want to display a group of “stuff” and I publish a photo – I did not curate it.  I lumped it all together and snapped.

When you wrap up a token of esteem or affection or obligation and hand it to the recipient – this is not gifting.  And if they rewrap it and palm it off on someone else – that is neither repurposing nor regifting.  It’s getting rid  of it in a nicer way than the trash .  You may be cheap, or hate the gift or already have one – but that’s another gripe.

I have two cats who are pets.  I adore them both and they are my constant company.  I do not regard them as animal companions – the actual difference is in the definition of the word .  It suggests cherishing.  Mothers call babies pet; spouses and aunts and uncles  do too.  Grammies use it a lot.  When I hear the word pet, I think of special and important and cuddling.  An animal companion has all the warmth of the crossing sign lady at grade school.  It would not be wise for me to elucidate on my feelings about service animal companions.  Everyone is miserable somewhere along the line – it has been pretty much established that pets can alleviate or banish those feelings.  Seeing eye dogs are service animals and those animals that perform therapeutic acts for the truly disabled.  So far I don’t think ferrets have made the grade, but they are cute little scamps and probably make their owners very happy.  That is more a gift than a service.

Do you separate your trash?  Recycle that which can be recycled.  Compost? Good for you.  So do I.  Do you find other uses for things with specific names (funnel, sieve, jars, pretty box that held candy or cards)?  So do I.  Do you regard it as repurposing.  I tend to think – “I wonder what I can do with that; it’s too good to trash”.  For example – a friend sticks you with her parakeet and you are too nice to say no.  You don’t really want it but now it’s yours.  Can you repurpose it to be an alarm clock? (Birds are smart and easy to train I hear) Would you?  It would become either a pet or a pass along to a friend who liked birds.  Saying this could useful for something else is okay.  Figuring out what can be, may be a problem.

Posh words from posh Britain are floating like jetsam across the pond.  I admit to using some but I have also lived there (among the posh and titled – doncha’ know) and have many wonderful UK friends (though not mates – that’s sort of a guy word and also makes me think of soccer hooligans).  I do use a lot of nasty Britslang.  Strange bedfellows make for acquired habits quite often. Cockney rhyming slang is used by the posh because it is fun.  It also allows you to call out people in code.  But I am talking about everyday use.  Suddenly (after eons of use in the Empire) we now have co-opted the word shortlist.  When I see it -much more frequently – I am always looking for the Man Booker.  I am always cheesed off when it isn’t . Elevators are widely called lifts (something I am quite sure Mr. Otis Regrets) and we tuck in for eating. I have whole books of this slang but it’s work to find the whole book.  Bollocks!  Feel free to add to this one. It shows no sign of ending  and consider this:  the Brits use bad language with a marvelous accent and can  say almost anything still sound Belgravian.

I invite suggestions, comments and I shall make this post Installment 1.  It will be  occasional unless there are many suggestions.  Players are welcome to participate.  Free admission.

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