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Language Bastardisation..

Alan Wanwierd
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Joined: Jun 30, 2004
Posts: 624
Someone in another post suggested:

"Colour? Why do you British have to be so pompous as to insert extra letters into the words of our language? "

I figured this worth worthy of a post of its own!

Ignoring "Colour" since its already discussed elsehwere I'd like to have a bit of a whinge about other Americanisations.

1) Aluminium - has 5 sylables in it - learn to read!! it is not Al-ooo-min-uhm. There is a perfectly good letter 'I' which deserves pronounciation!

2) "Burglarize" !? - What? Why the sudden need to add '..rize' on the end of verbs that were perfectly OK before? - For a start the letter 'z' doesnt belong there ('s' works quite nicely thankyou) - and secondly theres nothing wrong with the word "Burgle".

3) "Leverage" (a personal favourite of mine) - This NOT a verb!!! Please dont use it as one! - I once burts into a totaly innappropriate public fit of giggles when an American corporate speaker talking about an up-coming merger announced that we had a perfect opportunity to ".. leverage our synergies.. " - All the English audience cracked up laughing and the poor guy had no idea what was so funny!

4) Less/Fewer - Is there anyone out there besides me who correctly uses these? I'm sick of hearing how "Less people attended than last year..." (which implies that people had lost weight!!!). I may be a be mean attributing this to the Americans - but since slackening of linguistic accuracy seems to be a strong American trait I will lay the blame over there! (helps enflame a debate if nothing else!)

5) - Anyone want to suggest any other annoying linguistic habits?

(...and like, dont get me started on how totaly like over the whole illiterate teeanager thing I am. It is soooo not good...)

DAMN American TV!! Its poluting my whole world!!!
Jim Yingst
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1) Aluminium - has 5 sylables in it - learn to read!! it is not Al-ooo-min-uhm. There is a perfectly good letter 'I' which deserves pronounciation!

The correct spelling in American English is aluminum. Also Canadian English, I believe. Henceforth I will use "American" to mean "American and Canadian" because you know how much they love it when we do that. The metal in question was originally named "Alumium" in 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy, an English chemist. No one liked that name, so he changed it to "Aluminum". Americans adopted this spelling, but the Brits continued to whinge about it until Sir Davy changed it once again, this time to "Aluminium". The Americans largely ignored this later change, since the aluminum siding companies had already printed up their business stationery. Some groups such as the American Chemical Society attempted to follow the British revision for some reason, but they were ignored by real Americans until eventually the ACS admitted defeat in 1926.

2) "Burglarize" !? - What? Why the sudden need to add '..rize' on the end of verbs that were perfectly OK before?

You're saying that "burgla" is a valid verb?

I'm aware of the word burgle, and it's a cool word. We all understand it here; we just say "burglarize" to annoy you guys.

3) "Leverage" (a personal favourite of mine) - This NOT a verb!!! Please dont use it as one! - I once burts into a totaly innappropriate public fit of giggles when an American corporate speaker talking about an up-coming merger announced that we had a perfect opportunity to ".. leverage our synergies.. " - All the English audience cracked up laughing and the poor guy had no idea what was so funny!

Personally I am amused at the overuse of trendy buzzwords in marketspeak - regardless of their grammatical correctness (or lack thereof). Having said that, I generally have no objection to verbing nouns when it seems appropriate. C.f. "to annoy you guys" above.

4) Less/Fewer - Is there anyone out there besides me who correctly uses these?

Yes, but we're rare. And not all of us whinge publicly about it.

5) - Anyone want to suggest any other annoying linguistic habits?

How about people who whinge about the spelling and grammar of others, whilst demonstrating their own prowess with such gems as:

its
dont
theres
totaly
poluting
enterprize

I figured this worth worthy
I once burts
I may be a be mean

I should note that I myself frequently commit typographic errors in my own posts. But I do try to avoid them when correcting others.

Cheers...


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Alan Wanwierd
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re:typos

oops - Sorry.

Alan Wanwierd
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Posts: 624
..and I suppose you have a fantastically feasible explanation for why Americans flip their dates into the most illogical format imaginable?

As IT professionals SURELY you understand my pain at that little ideosyncracy? (What did happen on the 9th November 2001? and why did it trigger so much debate?)
Dan Chisholm
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Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Adrian,

I agree that we haven't improved the English language anytime recently. Does anyone remember when Madonna attempted to redefine the word "stupid" so that it could be used as a compliment? I think that her effort to contribute something new to the language is best described by the more traditional use of that particular word.
Jim Yingst
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
I agree that US dates and times are screwed up. But only a little more so than the dates and times used by the rest of the world. As an IT professional, I feel the only sensible way to order a date is yyyy/MM/dd. (Choose whatever separator you want; doesn't matter to me.) Because (a) it's uniformly ordered from most to least significnat (just like time fields HH:mm:ss as well as individual digits within the date fields), and (b) the moment you write the year first, it's obvious to everyone (American or not) that the next field is months - because no one in their right mind would use yyyy/dd/MM as a format.
[ July 26, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Adrian, I really hate to say this, but your drivel is driven largely by arrogance. If you could quit it, you would make me happy. Thanks.

Less/Fewer - Is there anyone out there besides me who correctly uses these?

There is no such distinction in my native language - so what? Does it make me less intelligent?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Jeroen Wenting
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Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I agree that US dates and times are screwed up. But only a little more so than the dates and times used by the rest of the world. As an IT professional, I feel the only sensible way to order a date is yyyy/MM/dd. (Choose whatever separator you want; doesn't matter to me.) Because (a) it's uniformly ordered from most to least significnat (just like time fields HH:mm:ss as well as individual digits within the date fields), and (b) the moment you write the year first, it's obvious to everyone (American or not) that the next field is months - because no one in their right mind would use yyyy/dd/MM as a format.

[ July 26, 2004: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]


I doubt it would be obvious to Americans...
After all, the correct dateformat of dd/MM/yyyy they don't understand either and completely illogically interpret it as MM/dd/yyyy.

Them thinking the Brits changed English around when the Brits had been speaking it for a thousand years before the USA was established shows enough I think


42
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I am almost 100% visual person, and I have always been good at spelling. Consequently, I looked down at our PhDs who made stupid orthographic mistakes. Somehow it made me think less of them. I mean, if you cannot spell a word correctly, how really intelligent are you? Mmm?

A couple of years abroad, and I started to make the same stupid mistakes. They aren't just typos, these letters are far away on the keyboard. It's that I started to type words how I hear them, not how they look. First I felt stupid, then I started to think: why is my "hearing" way of spelling worse than "seeing"? There is no good reason for it, besides arrogance.

Try to listen to what people have to say, not how they say it. "How" really, really doesn't matter.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Americanisms should be treated as foreign words.

I guess often thought to be American was used by Chaucer though in a deeper sense than the Yank.

Fall has much more merit than autumn and it is a Saxon word but the English have lost the rights to it through lapsed use.
The real danger is of English literature being americanized ; both should be allowed to develop separately. A very firm stand should be taken against American verbs like placate, transpire and antagonize all of which have English roots.Fix up (organize), back of (behind), anyway (at any rate), standpoint (point of view), back-number (antiquated), right along (continuously), some (to some extent), just (quite, or very�'just lovely').
Over half of British Universities run courses in remedial Maths and English
and so do Universities in the U.S.

Rudyard Kipling wrote patriotically about English subjects but his style was American.

Between the snow-white cutter and the flat-topped, honey-coloured rocks on the beach the green water was troubled with shrimp-pink prisoners-of-war bathing.�Kipling.

Far out, a three-funnelled Atlantic transport with turtle bow and stern waddled in from the deep sea.�Kipling.



Canadian literature is on the rise

The Life of Pi and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.

There be more battlelines to be drawn.
[ July 27, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

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"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
Jim Yingst
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If the Brits had managed to stabilize the language in those thousand years, this wouldn't be an issue. Well, except for newfangled stuff like torches, the underground, and rubbers. And aluminum.

I don't know who said "Why do you British have to be so pompous as to insert extra letters into the words of our language?", but I think it was probably said in jest. Assuming the poster wasn't simply an idiot, I imagine it was intended to be ironic humor - which may not be exactly the same as humour, but shouldn't be that difficult to recognize.

Jeroen may possibly be attempting either humor or humour, but he doesn't seem to be having much success. For what it's worth, I use yyyy/MM/dd fairly often, and I've never observed anyone to be confused by it. Not even cranky Dutchmen.
Helen Thomas
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Posts: 1759
Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:
Someone in another post suggested:

"Colour? Why do you British have to be so pompous as to insert extra letters into the words of our language? "



It was John Smith in response to something posted by me. The tone was in jest.
Richard Hawkes
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Posts: 1340
I like the idea English is different all around the world. I have no love of language/grammar/spelling facists. The more screwed up and "fluid" English becomes the more I enjoy it
Jim Yingst
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I have no love of language/grammar/spelling facists.

<irony>
    That's "fascists", you ignoramus.
</irony>

Richard Hawkes
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Not on planet Hawkes
Nanhesru Ningyake
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> you ignoramus
Tsk tsk Please refer to Fallacy #1 here
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

My big pet peeve:

something being the "most unique". i've seen it in advertising, job postings, and plenty of other places.

How can something be more or less unique than something else? Either it's one of a kind or it's not.

I will be the first to admit I make PLENTY of mistakes. But everytime i hear that one, i just cringe...


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Gail Mikels
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Joined: May 07, 2001
Posts: 634
Since the topic of advertisements was mentioned, what about, "Save up to XX%, and more!" I always figured "up to" was the upper limit, so how could there be more?


Gail Mikels
Alan Wanwierd
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Posts: 624
Advertising is whole different world...

1) "... makes your teeth up to 5 shades whiter.." ??!!!
2) "... gives your hair up to 20% more shine..." ??!!
3) "... three times more beautiful..."

How are exactly these things measured?

(..and by the way the this whole thread was started in jest.. I'm not REALLY that much of a language Nazi.. and as an Englishman living in Australia I frequently catch myself unconsciously switching between different vernaculars and confusing everyone around!..)
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I have no love of language/grammar/spelling facists.

<irony>
    That's "fascists", you ignoramus.
</irony>



facist: someone who uses his face???
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Elaine Micheals:
Since the topic of advertisements was mentioned, what about, "Save up to XX%, and more!" I always figured "up to" was the upper limit, so how could there be more?


Not just that, but XX% from what?

"Now even better" but better than what?

plus of course the constant claims which (when used in combination with the exact same claims about previous versions of the same product) could possibly be used to leverage massive liability claims.
Especially manufacturers of detergents are good at this. They constantly claim that they NOW have a product that will not harm the colours and fibers (or was that fibres ) of your clothing.
Yet they claimed the same about their previous product...
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
facist: someone who uses his face???

I was gonna use that joke to cover my embarrassment but thought it was too silly
Bacon
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Joined: Jul 14, 2004
Posts: 305
Language is always changing unless it is dead, like ancient Latin or Greek. The only stable language is one that isn't used. The fact that languages change isn't in and of itself a bad thing. The way it changes can be.

Having said that, I too decry the state of my native tongue. The misuse of words, even in media, movies, television, especially in advertising is really obscene. My own tenuous grip of good grammer and word usage is a bother.

The solution: read good stuff (like the irony? ) Old classics, new works that are well done. And... here's a novel idea... write! Write anything and write it well. Short stories, articles, code documentation, BB posts, even books.
Warren Dew
blacksmith
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    2
Mapraputa Is:

I started to think: why is my "hearing" way of spelling worse than "seeing"? There is no good reason for it, besides arrogance.

Try to listen to
what people have to say, not how they say it. "How" really, really doesn't matter.

When writing, I consider "how" to be important. How can I expect the reader to take the trouble to extract the "what", if I don't myself take the trouble to use a "how" that makes it easier for him? Misspellings in a visual medium are like mispronunciations in an aural medium: they get in the way of clear communication. If I care about my message, I think it's worth the time to transmit it as clearly as I can.

Then again, I'm definitely arrogant.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Them thinking the Brits changed English around when the Brits had been speaking it for a thousand years before the USA was established shows enough I think


1,000 years before the US was established was 776 and the Brits certainly weren't speaking anything even remotely like English in 776 AD. In fact, a lot of them were speaking French as late as the 12th century!

Here's some English from the 11th century:

F�der ure �u �e eart on heofonum; Si �in nama gehalgod to becume �in rice gewur�e �in willa on eor�an swa swa on heofonum. urne ged�ghwamlican hlaf syle us tod�g and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfa� urum gyltendum and ne gel�d �u us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele so�lice.


Here is some English from the late 14th century for you:


Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages


Clearly the English can't be trusted with the English language.
[ July 28, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]

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R K Singh
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
When writing, I consider "how" to be important.


Very true, because books are one way communication, you wont be there to repeat "what" you wanted to convey.

But in a two way communication, I feel that "What" is more important than "How". Because both are there to make sure to "What" is conveyed well.


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Jeff Langr
author
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Posts: 762
Language abuse comes from the top in the US. One president tries to create new meanings for words, the next president makes 'em up on the spot.

President A: "That depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."
President B: "They misunderestimated me."

Dictionary.com lists "leverage" as a valid verb. I'm going to doubt that the OED agrees. It's interesting how abuses creep into acceptance.


Books: Agile Java, Modern C++ Programming with TDD, Essential Java Style, Agile in a Flash. Contributor, Clean Code.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Posts: 10065
What's wrong with using "leverage" as a verb?
Jeff Langr
author
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The word "leverage" was only a noun for most of its existence.

This is an entertaining article:

url=http://rowanmagazine.com/features/feature12/
Bacon
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That's a good article. It is a good way to leverage the point.
Frank Silbermann
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F�der ure �u �e eart on heofonum; Si �in nama gehalgod to becume �in rice gewur�e �in willa on eor�an swa swa on heofonum. urne ged�ghwamlican hlaf syle us tod�g and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfa� urum gyltendum and ne gel�d �u us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele so�lice.


English hasn't changed all _that_ much:

F�der ure �u �e eart on heofonum
Father our, who thee art in heaven

Si �in nama gehalgod
Is thine name hallowed (hallowed be Thine Name)

to becume �in rice
So come thine Reich (Thine kingdom come)

gewur�e �in willa on eor�an
Be done Thine will on earth

swa swa on heofonum.
so as in heaven.

urne ged�ghwamlican hlaf syle us tod�g
Our daily half give us today (Give us this day our daily portion)

and forgyf us ure gyltas
and forgive us our guilts

swa swa we forgyfa� urum gyltendum
just as we forgive others' guilts

and ne gel�d �u us on costnunge
and no lead thou us into temptation (and lead us not into temptation)

ac alys us of yfele so�lice.
but deliver us of evil (???).

(The quote sounds vaguely familiar, but I think you ended it prematurely.)
[ July 29, 2004: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Jeroen Wenting
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of course Americans would object to even the spelling of the topic...
Jim Yingst
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Except, of course, we haven't.
Helen Thomas
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civilization or civilisation ?

History books used civilisation if I remember right.

But it seems more usual to see civilization these days.

Converzation next
Alan Wanwierd
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Posts: 624
followed by: "Converzationalize" instead of "converse"
Nick George
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Posts: 815
Jeroen Wenting: XX% from what?

From the original price

Jeroen Wenting: "Now even better" but better than what?

Better than it previously was.

Next!


I've heard it takes forever to grow a woman from the ground
Alan Wanwierd
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Posts: 624
We have a rug retailer here in Brisbane who regularly advertises goods at 60-90% off. His advertising campaigns are so ubiquitous and frequent that nobody in their right mind would purchase goods from him that werent marked as "80% off".

I'm not sure, but I believe that in order to satisfy the advertising standards people, it is illegal to claim that goods are reduced in price if they were not on sale for a significant length of time at the suggested original price.

The only way our local rug merchant can possibly operate within the law, is to have a huge warehouse somewhere full of rugs, officialy for sale and on display, but just waiting to be "marked down" and shipped to the suburban stores. The sole purpose of this warehouse is to facilitate the moronic advertising campaign that sucks in potential rug owners with the lure of "huge discounts".

Obviously this business model works, since "Rugs-a-million" seems continually to be expanding its empire. Are we as consumers really that stupid that we fall for these cheap stunts?

(Wouldn't it be nice if things could cost $50 instead of the annoying $49.95? - I have pockets worn thin by the almost worthless 5c coins!)
Jeroen Wenting
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Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:

Obviously this business model works, since "Rugs-a-million" seems continually to be expanding its empire. Are we as consumers really that stupid that we fall for these cheap stunts?


It certainly works. Many consumers ARE that dumb that they fall for it.
I've stood in amazement outside a store that was (not joking) advertising an item as "discounted from 29.95 to 39.95!!!".
They were selling like there was no tomorrow.
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:

(Wouldn't it be nice if things could cost $50 instead of the annoying $49.95?


This is something that always amazes me. Are there really people out there who would not have bought something at �5 but would at �4.99? Even in the UK where 1p is more than 1UScent, this is crazy. A few years back it was possible to buy "penny sweets", so the 1ps came in useful, but now its fairly pointless. I only ever use them for paying tips in restaurants.

A few years back Woolworths in the UK made a big deal out of the fact that they were going to stop doing this, and sell things for more sensible prices, but nothing much seemed to come of it.

- I have pockets worn thin by the almost worthless 5c coins!)


Maybe something good could be done about this. More shops should have charity box thingies that you can put your loose change in. Most people will probably not spend the shrapnel that they get given in change, but if everyone gave them to charity then it could make a decent amount for the charity.
Mohanlal Karamchand
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Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Converzation next


It'z a conzpirazy
 
wood burning stoves
 
subject: Language Bastardisation..